The brain is constantly on the lookout for ways to improve by obtaining new knowledge and skills, even before birth. Unfortunately, retaining information can be challenging, simply because instructors and course designers do not always use methods that facilitate remembering. The following seven points look at key principles from neuroscience research paired with tips that will allow course creators to achieve effective eLearning courses.
We remember the scenes and dialogs from some movies long after we have seen them. Some songs continue to haunt us even though we have not listened to them for ages. We can still recite rhymes and poems we learned when we were toddlers. Do you wonder why? Or if you are an instructional designer, have you wondered how you can create such sticky courses? How can you create courses that learners will remember easily and recall effortlessly long after they are back at their workplaces? It is challenging because forgetting is natural. Scientists carried out a test on some subjects who had to study textbooks, retain, and recall the information. The results were startling: after a day, the subjects remembered 54 percent of what they had learned and after 21 days, they remembered a paltry 18 percent. But are you surprised? When we were in school, most of us didn't remember what we learned in the earlier grade. As instructional designers, you have to create courses that are easy to remember and difficult to forget.
The brain is a complicated machine, capable of creating extraordinary works of art, solving complex problems, and feeling the deepest of emotions. At the same time, our brains function on a daily basis taking on more mundane and routine tasks that are just as important as building bridges or writing books.
Paying attention is a task people take for granted; they rarely stop to think about the complex neurocognitive processes involved. However, it is an important topic for eLearning developers who are often so concerned about the superficial elements of their courses and neglect to learn how the brain works. After all, paying attention is the first step in the learning process, so ensuring learners pay attention is fundamental.
In his book, The Art of Changing the Brain, Dr. James Zull , notably suggested how David Kolb's famous four-phase model of the learning cycle can be mapped into four major brain processes. He believed that better understanding the learning processes that occurs in the brain encourages a more flexible approach to learning. It does, by extension, help us become better eLearning developers and learners. After all, it's what's going on in the learners' brains that matters the most.
The human brain is the seat of learning. We know about this already, right? But we actually know very little about the brain. Even the latest brain research discoveries comprise only the tip of an iceberg. Still, every new discovery is an important piece of the brain puzzle and an indispensable guide to creating effective eLearning material. Understanding how the brain works definitely influences your student's learning readiness. Educators, instructional designers, and eLearning professionals in general ought to be interested in the brain because after all, they teach brains!