Learn about neuroscience and what scientists are discovering about the brain that can help you design more engaging and effective elearning programs.
- Let's get started. Let's begin by thinking about neuroscience and how it can be applied to eLearning design. Neuroscience is the study of the human brain and nervous system. Neurons are the basic building blocks of the brain. And according to most neuroscientists, we have some 100 billion of them. That's a pretty impressive number. But what's even more important are the connections each one makes to each other. Each neuron can connect with tens of thousands of other neurons on a moment to moment basis. Which means thousands of trillions of possible connections are happening every second.
Now, the brain is an amazing structure, and it has evolved to achieve one very important objective. To keep us alive. Simply put, that's the brain's primary function. To ensure that we survive as individuals, and that we pass our DNA onto the next generation. Your brain is like the boss of your entire physical body. A single organ that controls every aspect of your being alive. From heart rate and digestion, to movement and emotion, and everything in between.
The brain controls the immune system's response to disease, it shapes our thoughts, beliefs, motivations, fears, dreams, and imagination. The brain's ability to perform all these functions is central to what makes us human. What's really important to remember for eLearning design is that the brain itself is what allows us to learn new knowledge and skills. To remember what we learn. And to recall what we've learned when we need to apply it. And yet, scientists still haven't uncovered everything the brain can do.
They continue to strive for a deeper understanding of how the brain's billions of neurons are born, grow, and connect, and how these cells organize themselves into effective and functional circuits that ensure our survival. And that's where neuroscience comes in. Neuroscience is a biological science that focuses on the brain and nervous system. In recent years, neuroscientists have been aided by advanced technology such as fMRI scanning that has allowed them to peer deep into the brain and see exactly what those billions of neurons are up to at any given moment.
They are discovering what parts of the brain are activated when we are feeling an emotion, when we act in a certain way. They can see what's happening in the brain, when we are learning and remembering. And most importantly for us, what we can do to learn and remember in a more organic, brain-friendly way. That brings us back to the topic at hand, the natural and organic process of how we learn and how we can use that process to design eLearning programs that work with the brain and not against it.
So, now that we've learned a little bit about neuroscience, let's discover together how to use this fascinating science to improve our eLearning design. To improve learners' attention and engagement. To help them generate new connections and insights. To arouse their emotions and motivation. And to space learning out over time, and enhance their long-term memory of lessons learned.
- How your brain learns
- Keeping learners' attention
- Generating connections and meaning
- Instilling a growth mindset
- Spacing learning for improved memory