"Humans have an immense capacity for learning and modifying their behavior in response to what they learn. However, most types of learning and performance do not come naturally, but need high-quality instruction. Within the Educational and Developmental Psychology group we investigate under which conditions people optimally learn and perform, which cognitive mechanisms and neural structures are involved, and how the resulting knowledge can be applied to create effective and efficient learning environments. The theoretical frameworks of cognitive load theory, deliberate practice, and embodied cognition constitute the key theoretical pillars for our research program.
A recent research line combining these pillars is focused on how enriching instruction with subtle and gross bodily movements, such as gestures and physical exercise, respectively, can facilitate learning performance and academic achievement. Some of the other research lines within the program focus on how the working memory capacity can be instructionally managed in the training of complex cognitive tasks, how people can effectively learn from multimedia learning environments, and understanding the cognitive mechanisms underlying true and false memory and forgetting.
In the global field of educational research, the group takes a unique interdisciplinary approach that builds on learning science, cognitive science, neuroscience, motor control, and evolutionary biology to establish a comprehensive theory of instructional design to support learning and expertise development. The research has a clear orientation towards use-spired basic research. Main contributors to the high impact of the group's experimental work are its contributions to our fundamental understanding of learning and performance, and its high societal relevance for the educational and health professions."