Understanding the Role of Neuroscience in Brain Based Products: A Guide for Educators and Consumers


Joanna A. Christodoulou, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Longfellow Hall, Appian Way, Cambridge, MA 02138; e-mail: jac765@mail.harvard.edu.


The term brain based is often used to describe learning theories, principles, and products. Although there have been calls urging educators to be cautious in interpreting and using such material, consumers may find it challenging to understand the role of the brain and to discriminate among brain based products to determine which would be suitable for specific educational goals. We offer a framework for differentiating the multiple meanings of the brain based label and guidelines for educators and consumers to use when evaluating educational products labeled as brain based. The guidelines include: identifying educational goals and target student populations, aligning goals and product purposes, reviewing product merits, identifying benefits and limitations of the product, and characterizing the product's impact on behavioral performance.