At the March Lilly West Conference in Pomona, Terry Doyle of Ferris State University, gave an amazing keynote on How Brain Research Findings are Changing our Understanding of Learning.
From this keynote, we can begin to understand how students’ brains are learning and what we can do to help them learn.
The human brain and learning:
- We are born to learn!
- The brain is meant to explore and learn
- Five things needed for effective function: exercise, sleep, oxygen, hydration, and food
- Neurons become stronger/faster with practice
- Permanent connections are made by doing over and over
- What enhances cognitive performance: aerobic exercise, meditation, some video games, virtual textbooks
What helps our students learn:
- Caffeine + sugar
- Movement; the human brain is developed to solve problems while in motion
- Practice, practice, practice what they are learning
- Real-life, meaningful and authentic learning induces dopamine
- Multi-tasking slows learning
- Memories are made during sleep; need 6 hours to stabilize memory
- Short-term stress activates Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) which disrupts collection/storage of memories
- Brain is social; we evolved to collaborate with others
- Some groups fail because some students have not learned how to work in groups
- We use all our senses
- Cumulative exams promote long-term learning
Sources: Terry Doyle, Educational Consultant and Professor at Ferris State University, How Brain Research Findings are Changing Our Understanding of Learning