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Our Science of Learning report summarises how children learn (in general, when learning maths and how to read, in adolescence and remotely using technology).

While access to education has significantly increased worldwide, hundreds of millions of children are still not achieving the level of learning that they should.  A major contributor to the lack of progress in learning is an implementation gap between what the theory tells us about how children learn most effectively and the practices deployed by teachers in classrooms; this gap is particularly acute in low-income contexts. 

In recent years, advances in the sciences of the brain have built a compelling body of knowledge about how children learn. This report presents a summary of key evidence about how children learn, drawing on research from neuroscience, behavioural sciences, and cognitive sciences. It provides an overview of useful frameworks which translate the science of learning into implications for teaching.  It also highlights some leading organisations who are shaping this field and provides references for further learning.  

In compiling this report we have drawn upon the work of leading researchers from all over the world, whose publications cover both high and low-income contexts. Our assumption is that while the core principles of how children learn apply universally, more research is needed to examine how the application of these principles differs across contexts. We hope that this report provides a useful reference point for learning and practice.


This report is based on research funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The findings and conclusions contained within are those of Better Purpose and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

If you'd like to discuss any aspect of this work, please email

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