If you’re a newbie learning professional, you may not be familiar with learning science. It’s based on certain theories about how the brain and mind work and how people learn. Here are my top ten relevant facts about the brain to keep in mind when designing any learning experience.
- Our perceptions are influenced by what we know, what we expect, and what we want to achieve.
- Our brains like to organize perceptions into meaningful units and patterns.
- Events in our brain happen rapidly and are measured in milliseconds (one thousandth of a second).
- We can quickly shift our attention to whatever is most important in the environment.
- We pay attention to information that is meaningful and disregard what is not meaningful.
- Working memory is our online space for figuring things out in the moment.
- Because working memory can maniuplate 3 to 5 items at one time and because it has a short duration, it is considered a bottleneck in the learning process.
- The advantage of a limited working memory is that it gives us the flexibility to quickly shift the focus of our attention and information processing.
- Long-term memory is essentially infinite. No one knows its limits.
- The knowledge, skills and experiences stored in long-term memory can be retrieved with the appropriate cues. Without the right retrieval cues, the information is difficult or impossible to access.