15 Surprising Discoveries About Learning

15 Surprising Discoveries About Learning

Below I have placed two of the fifteen discoveries about how to improve your learning. Have fun!

3. You can improve your memory with one simple technique.

A learning technique that maximises the brain’s ability to make and store memories may help future students, say UC Irvine neurobiologists.

Christine Gall, Gary Lynch, and colleagues found that mice trained in three short, repetitious episodes spaced one hour apart performed best on memory tests. The mice performed poorly on memory tests when trained in a single, prolonged session–which is a standard K-12 educational practice in the U.S.

It’s been known since classic 19th century educational psychology studies that people learn better when using multiple, short training episodes rather than one extended session. Two years ago, the Lynch and Gall labs found out why. They discovered a biological mechanism that contributes to the enhancing effect of spaced training: brain synapses encode memories in the hippocampus much better when activated briefly at one-hour intervals.

“This explains why prolonged ‘cramming’ is inefficient — only one set of synapses is being engaged,” said Lynch, professor of psychiatry, human behaviour and anatomy, and neurobiology. “Repeated short training sessions, spaced in time, engage multiple sets of synapses. It’s as if your brain is working at full power.”

6. Bilingual brains process information better.

Speaking more than one language is good for the brain, according to new research that indicates bilingual speakers process information more efficiently and more easily than those who know a single language. The benefits occur because the bilingual brain is constantly activating both languages and choosing which language to use and which to ignore, said Northwestern University’s Viorica Marian, the lead author of the research and a professor in the department of communication sciences and disorders in the School of Communication. When the brain is constantly exercised in this way, it doesn’t have to work as hard to perform cognitive tasks, the researchers found.

“It’s like a stop light,” Marian said. “Bilinguals are always giving the green light to one language and red to another. When you have to do that all the time, you get really good at inhibiting the words you don’t need,” she said.

fMRI scans showed that “monolinguals had more activation in the inhibitory control regions than bilinguals; they had to work much harder to perform the task,” Marian said.

Other research suggests efficient brains can have benefits in everyday life. For example, bilingual children tend to be better at ignoring noise and other distractions than children who speak one language.

“Inhibitory control is a hallmark of cognition,” said Marian. “Whether we’re driving or performing surgery, it’s important to focus on what really matters and ignore what doesn’t.”

The fact that bilinguals are constantly practicing inhibitory control could also help explain why bilingualism appears to offer a protective advantage against Alzheimer’s and dementia, said Marian.

 

If you want to read the other 13 principles, then you can read the original article here: http://www.innovationexcellence.com/blog/2015/03/04/15-surprising-discoveries-about-learning/

 

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