Learning Minds

Brain development and cognition are guided and organized by cultural, social, emotional, and biological factors that contribute to individual variability in learning abilities and outcomes. These factors influence how much and how well children learn and are able to transfer their learning to new situations. We want to understand and embrace this variability in learning.  

The concepts of individualized and personalized learning and adaptive teaching have a long tradition in educational sciences and pedagogical psychology. Despite this long tradition, there is very little empirical evidence on how individualized learning and adaptive teaching can be implemented in schools, and under what conditions they are effective. Many educational settings fail to take into account individual differences and to foster children’s learning potential. This raises a key question: How is it possible to organize learning for large numbers of students while also responding to their diverse individual needs?  

Our aim 

We want to gain a better understanding of how heterogeneity and individual differences affect learning. We want to explore how these findings can be applied in practice, including by making smart use of educational technologies that offer new perspectives for both implementation and empirical investigation.   

With our focus on Learning Minds, we will combine rigorous research, social innovation, and entrepreneurship on a global scale. We will identify and nurture an international network of leading experts in child development and learning. We will foster ground-breaking collaboration, idea generation, and solution co-creation among individuals, partner organizations, and the Jacobs Foundation.  

The international recognition we have earned as a globally leading research funder in the field of education and child development offers us an invaluable opportunity for visibility, alignment, and joint value creation. We are taking advantage of this opportunity most notably by establishing the Marbach Summit on Learning, further developing the Klaus J. Jacobs Awards, and creating the Jacobs Foundation Circle of Experts on Learning. In these efforts, we are drawing on many years of experience in convening and supporting the most brilliant minds in the context of our Marbach Conferences, Research Fellowship Program and Young Scholar Programs.   

Gelgia Fetz
Program Lead

Sabine Gysi
Program Lead

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