Brain-Based Learning Strategies

brain based learning strategies
Robert (Bob) W. Lucas, Author, Facilitator, and Performance consultant

Brain-Based Learning Strategies

In 2013 in June, Robert (Bob) W. Lucas hosted two events for the Metro DC ASTD Chapter in Washington, DC (Tapping the Brain for Learning and Brain-Based Learning Strategies).

The sessions focused on how the brain learns and some of the research that has been done related to applying color, sound, motion, novelty, learner engagement and other strategies to enhance learning environments and potentially increase opportunities for learners to gain, retain, recall and use what they learn.

On the 26th, he provided insights at the chapter’s dinner meeting in a session titled: Tapping the Brain for Learning.  This session explored many ideas, brain-based concepts, and techniques that can be used to enhance virtually any training program or presentation topic.

At the end of the session, and when applying concepts learned, participants were able to:

a.  Facilitate creative training programs and presentations that can help induce behavior change and are FUN.

b.  Identify, make, or obtain inexpensive materials that add spark to training programs and presentations.

c.  Increase interaction with participants.

d.  Review program concepts throughout your sessions in order to get an interim check of learning before the program ends.

e.  Create memorable techniques for adding excitement and sizzle to programs so that participants keep coming back.

Brain-Based Learning Strategies Training – Past Success by Robert W. Lucas

On June 27th, Bob facilitated a one-day workshop titled: Strategies to Make Your Learning Events Sizzle. In this event, participants experienced dozens of creative training techniques based on brain research related to how the brain best learns and retains information. These strategies presented that day were meant to be immediately applied in their own learning events. They covered many training workshop essentials for typing in research to learning.

Bob went on to expand upon some of the ideas addressed in the previous night’s program. Therefore, the additional information through a variety of experiential opportunities in which participants hear about a concept, see it demonstrated and then have an opportunity to try or discuss it. They did also discuss how they might use the strategies to strengthen their own learning events.

At the end of the program, participants were able to:

  • Create training environments that stimulate learning.
  • Incorporate the latest learning brain research into their training design and delivery.
  • Design learning events that result in higher levels of attention and retention.
  • Use techniques and strategies experienced in their own learning events.
  • Add pizzazz and novelty to their learning events.
  • Immediately apply what they learned.

Tying Adult Learning Theory to Brain Based Learning Research

Tying Adult Learning Theory to Brain-Based Learning Research

Since the first part of this year, I have been conducting a lot of workshops and presentations on creative training techniques and brain-based learning for adults. Frequently attendees ask questions related to adult learning and what strategies or techniques work best to help their participants better gain, retain, recall, and use what they experience. Invariably, the answer comes back to how the type of learning environment you set for your participants.

Tapping the Brain for LearningTying Adult Learning Theory to Brain-Based Learning Research by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning & Training Author

For decades, neuroscientists, psychologists, and cognitive scientists have explored the intricacies of the human brain in an attempt to learn what happens when various stimuli are introduced into a learner’s environment. Since many elements can impact brain functioning and stimulate brain neurons it is sometimes easier to look at some things that researchers have found related to adult learners.

Here are four things to know about adult learners that might assist you when you are designing and delivering content for your participants:

#1 Adults want to know how what they learn will help them personally and/or in the workplace.

Presenting theory will not work with today’s adult learners. Because information is so readily available in today’s world and training time is often limited, adult learners want to quickly understand what they will gain from attendance at your session and how they will be able to apply it. If you cannot explain or demonstrate how they will immediately be able to use information, strategies, and techniques, you are likely to lose their interest.

#2 Adults tend to self-sufficient.

Typically, you will encounter participants who come to the learning event with a wide array of experience, knowledge, and competencies. As a result, they do not want to be told what, when, and how they will learn. Instead, they want information shared and have an opportunity to be actively engaged in the process and experience the learning on individual levels.

#3 Adults want to feel ownership of the learning process.

To accomplish this, it is good to build in opportunities where they can mold the approach to learning in their own way. As you design your sessions, address the needs or learning modalities of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners by adding activities in which learners experience “ah-ha” moments about content as they jointly explore the who, what, when, how, and why of information they are receiving.

#4 Adults want to have an enjoyable learning experience.

Life is stressful enough without having to sit through some painful learning experience in which rote memory or tedious activities are involved. During the learning process, you have to build in interesting, interactive, and sensory-oriented strategies and techniques (e.g. music, magic, games, puzzles, and other FUN elements). These help your learners’ brains release dopamine, which stimulates the pre-frontal cortex to aid attention and long-term memory, and endorphins, which come from laughter and pleasurable experiences and help participants feel good about their learning.

Ultimately, your goal should be to treat adult learners as partners in the learning process and allow them ample opportunity to become fully engaged throughout the event.