How we learn
Let’s take a look how our brain processes information and how we learn:
- Our brains do not have the capacity to multitask. For years, multitasking has been considered an all-important skill.
However, research has found that our brains don’t actually have the power to multitask.
According to a 2009 study that was conducted in Paris, the participants’ brains actually worked at half capacity when they were asked to multitask.
In essence, one hemisphere concentrated on one task, while the other focused on completing the secondary task.
As such, it typically takes the brain twice as long to complete an assignment or task, and your error rate goes up by about 50%. This is because we aren’t “multitasking” at all, but “context switching”.
- Multimedia tools improve our brain’s memory power.
It’s been proven through multiple research studies and surveys that multimedia in eLearning, such as images and video, not only engage the learners but also help them to actually remember what they’ve learned.
Research cited in a report by Michelle Chau cites a number of examples of how interactive learning tools, such as ebooks, lead to improved knowledge retention. According to research, students who used ebooks that contained sound effects, music, audio narration, and images were able to retain and recite more information than those who were simply given traditional textbooks.
Utilizing these ebooks also led to group collaboration and peer interaction, as the students did not have to sit quietly on their own and privately read the text.
- Our brains work best at certain times of the day.
Giving learners the ability to learn anytime, anywhere with eLearning courses has its own unique set of advantages. One of the most significant advantages is the opportunity to tap into the power of our brains at times of peak efficiency, such as just after taking a nap or when first waking up in the morning.
A study conducted by German researchers found that quick naps could allow a learner’s brain to acquire and retain information more effectively.
During the study two groups of participants memorized cards that contained illustrations. Then, they asked the first group to take a nap, and the second to remain awake during a 40 minute break.After the 40 minutes had passed, they had the participants memorize another set of illustrated cards. Those who took a nap during the break remembered roughly 85% of the images and patterns, while those who stayed awake only recalled 60%. It is believed that napping allows information to be moved to the brain’s long-term memory storage centers, leading to improved data retention.
- Game play helps to exercise (and motivate) our mental muscles.
Believe it or not, playing games is actually good for your brain. Not only does it help to engage learners in the eLearning process itself, but it also serves to remedy the boredom that so often leads to unsuccessful learning experiences. A report that was released by Leicha Bragg of Deakin University details a study that was conducted in three different schools, which involved 240 students.
According to the research, students were more motivated to learn mathematics when the information was presented in a gaming format. Even their attitude toward the subject changed, as did their confidence regarding the various concepts involved. The students were also more motivated to learn the information, which improved their overall success and alleviated the boredom that is often associated with repetition (especially relating to problem solving).
- Our brain prefers images over text.
Adding visual elements to eLearning courses enhances knowledge retention. According to neuroscience research that is referenced in John Medina’s book “Brain Rules”, participants in studies only remember about 10% of information presented orally when they are tested 72 hours after instruction. However, that number jumps by about 65% when an image is added to the learning process. The basis of this idea lies in the “Pictorial Superiority Effect”, which suggests that visual input is more likely to be recognized and remembered.