Applying the Principles of Brain-Based Learning in Social Work Education




brain-based learning, higher education, social work education, academic performance, adverse childhood experiences, pedagogy, scholarship of teaching and learning, experiential learning


This paper contributes to social work education by presenting brain-based learning as a theoretical framework to understand the impact of brain development and brain processes on learning and teaching. Historically, brain-based learning was adopted in elementary and secondary educational settings to assist educators in determining the pedagogical strategies most salient to supporting cognitive processes. However, in recent years, emphasis on brain-based learning has also emerged in higher education. It is more imperative than ever that faculty rely on evidence-based methods and models of teaching in the learning environment given the life stressors and trauma experienced by college students, including the coronavirus pandemic. Brain-based learning is a well-developed approach informed by theoretical constructs in neurology, psychology, biology, education, and medical science. Implementation of the key principles of brain-based learning are associated with improved academic performance, positively influenced motivation, and supported retention of knowledge. Brain-based learning is a model well-suited for implementation in social work education and supports the experiential practices embedded in social work pedagogy.

Author Biography

V. Nikki Jones, Spalding University

Dr. Jones is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Spalding University. 


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