Understand how the neuroscience of learning can help educators and learners alike tap into hidden potential.
- Welcome, I'm so excited that you're here to learn about the Neuroscience of Learning. I'm Dr. Britt Andreatta. I'm the Director of Learning and Development here at Lynda.com, and I'm going to be sharing with you some of the latest research that is coming out of Neuroscience, at places like Harvard, Stanford, the University of Wisconsin, and New York University. I'm also going to be sharing with you some of the new advances that people are seeing. We now have medical technology that allows them to see inside the brain, in ways we've never been able to do before, so we're really on this frontier, this new place, of a renaissance occurring, where new things are coming out about how we're wired, how we learn, and how we turn that learning into behavior change.
This is intended for anyone who's learning something, so if you yourself are learning, you'll get some tips and strategies. Also, if you help others learn. If you teach any level from preschool all the way through graduate school, if you do training, or learning and development, in any setting, corporate, government, education, nonprofit, it doesn't matter. If you help people learn, or you learn yourself, you're going to get some really interesting information. What we're talking about is potential. Really when we want people to learn, we're trying to tap into some potential.
Potential is defined as the capacity to become or develop into something in the future, become better than you are now. Do something new, that you can't do now. It's unrealized ability. What's exciting about potential is that's how we get there is learning. We take someone, they learn something new, and they can change, they can become better. A key set of this is our mindset, and this is based on the work by Dr. Carol Dweck, and people tend to have one of two mindsets.
There's one that's really helpful for learning, and one that's not so helpful for learning. The first type of mindset is a fixed mindset. It's this belief that you're innately set in how you are. Your intelligence is a certain level. You're good at math, or you're not. You've got great people skills, or you don't. It's like you got what you got, and you can make the most of what you got, but you can't change what you got, so that's a fixed mindset. A growth mindset is the idea that I can get better, I can learn, I can change, I can improve.
In fact, research on the brain has shown that we can. The brain is incredibly elastic, so even if you've been bad at math your entire life, if you put enough energy into it, and you get the right kind of instruction, you can become great at math, you can become great at science. Some of those things you learned about yourself in school, are not true. You actually can change, and we've see the brain be able to change and shift all the way up until death, so we don't even time out on our ability to do that, so you can learn and grow. What's great is it's this idea of a fixed mindset would say, I got what I got, I just have to be good, and the growth mindset is I can get better.
I can get better. Organizations that are embracing a growth mindset are creating a culture of continuous improvement. Wherever you are now, we can do something to get you better. Here's some research on this. This one's from an academic setting, and they took students in a school setting, and the teacher broke the students into two groups. One group was told, you're going to be compared to others. How you do on the exam, your answers will be compared to the other students, and you'll be compared on questions 1 through 5, the same as questions 6 through 10.
The other group was told, you're going to be compared to your improvement, so how you did on questions 1 through 5, will be compared to how you do on questions 6 through 10, and I'm looking for improvement. How both groups did on the first set of questions is pretty similar. They performed about the same. The fixed mindset, which is I can't really change my score. I got what I got, they got just a smidge better on questions 6 through 10, but the group that was told improvement matters, improved, by a lot, not a little bit.
This zone right here, this difference, is what we're talking about, with the growth mindset. We know that when people are told, change matters, growth matters, they step up, they improve. To me that orange box is potential. Those students were this smart, but they had the opportunity to really improve their abilities by just knowing that they had the chance to. That's an academic study, but we know it's true in performance evaluations, too. Companies that embrace, we score you, you're average, or you're better than average, and you're just compared to your peers, that's a fixed mindset.
There's other companies doing performance evaluations saying, if you move the needle, if you improve, that's what we value. That's what we're going to evaluate you on. Then Sal Khan, who created the Khan Academy, he does all kinds of amazing online learning in math and science, and other academic topics. He has all kinds of data that they can see on the backside, and they can see a student struggling, and how many times they go back and do those problems, and then they can see when the improvement happens, when the moment happens, and the kid just skyrockets. Their scores just go through the roof, so his whole service is based on this idea that you can get better.
- [Voiceover] The aha matters. - The aha matters, absolutely. There's going to be a lot more data that's going to support that. The mantra of the growth mindset is the word yet. I don't know how to do it yet. I'm not good at it yet, but I can be, so let's embrace the yet, and figure out where it is that you want to go. For this presentation to be really valuable to you, I want you to have something that you're noodling on that's really meaningful to you, so I want you to pick something that you'd like to learn. Either you're currently learning, or you'd really love to learn it, and you just haven't gotten around to it yet.
I'm going to give you two minutes in pairs. You can pick something professional, like leadership, or money management. You could pick something personal, like bake bread, or learn how to surf. I don't care what it is, just make it real for you, and I'm going to give you two minutes on the clock, so you're going to share this two minutes, you each get a minute to tell the other person what it is that you'd like to learn, and then you're going to actually use that thing through the rest of the presentation to fiddle with some of he concepts, okay. Two minutes.