Learning And The Brain, Revisited

This is a follow-up on a previous post about the application of brain research (whether neuroscience or any other) to instructional design, courseware design, and learning in general. There are three things I'm sure about.

  1. Many of the conclusions from the research are already known to educators and others—from experience, from observation of people.
  2. But by validating what educators know, the research does push us to integrate diverse approaches to teaching/learning.
  3. Further, new ideas might just crop up. Or, old ideas that were once trashed might come back.

Here, I'm looking at some of the "fresh or much-ignored ideas" that have emerged from research on the brain:

Apparently, the brain learns better when it is working with other brains. So maybe it would be better for a self-paced CBT course to be administered at a place where multiple people are taking it at around the same time?

Also, it seems that if the immediate physical surroundings have some diversity, learning is more effective. Might we use this fact? How have some people used this idea?

There is evidence that "emotions help glue and bind attention and memory," from a report of the Emotions, Learning and Education Seminar at the Carlsberg Foundation. There seem to be too many ways to tap into this; can we? Can we do it in a concerted, constructive way?

Cognitive overload (the micro-equivalent of information overload) is one thing, and the learning boost that happens in complex environments is a different thing. They're both there. Perhaps, in designing learning, we stay away from complexity because we anticiapte overload?

Here's the most comprehensive (and it's replete with excellent citations) essay on the topic I've found: Eric Jensen's A Fresh Look at Brain-Based Education.