“Learning how to learn is life’s most important skill.” Tony Buzan
According to Amanda Moritz-Saladino, in an article most recently revised in 2017, there have been at least ten big breakthroughs in the science of learning.
- More information doesn’t mean more learning. The brain can get overloaded, so, to avoid that, we can chunk information, build on positive transfer and eliminate non-essential information.
- The brain is a highly dynamic organ. Neuroplasticity means that the brain can grow new neurons and adapt to new situations at any age.
- Emotion influences the ability to learn. Uncomfortable or stressful learning environments should be avoided because they generate negative emotions, causing the limbic system to shut off access to learning and memory.
- Mistakes are an essential part of learning. When learners are encouraged that failure is a normal part of learning, they perform better and feel more confident. Research shows that the best way to learn something new is to concentrate on how to do it correctly rather than focusing on mistakes.
- The brain needs novelty. Novelty activates the dopamine system in the brain, which encourages feelings of motivation and prompts the brain to learn about the new stimuli.
- There are no learning styles. Individuals may have learning preferences, but they can learn regardless of how the information is presented.
- Brains operate on the “use it or lose it” principle. The brain has to receive regular stimulation to a given pathway in the brain to sustain brain cells. This is why lifelong learning is so important.
- Learning is social. People learn better through social cues such as recalling and copying the actions or words of other people. Peer collaboration offers access to different experiences and requires the use of most of the body’s senses. This greatly activates the brain and enhances long-term memory.
- Learning is best when innate abilities are capitalized on. Everyone possesses innate abilities to see and hear patterns. Combining innate abilities with training, structured practice and repetition can help new ideas and concepts “stick” and make more sense.
- Learning can change brain structure. Brain function can only be changed through changing brain structure. Any new information, if used enough, can modify the structure of the brain.
Which breakthrough has meant the most to your training design and delivery?
May your learning be sweet.