“Brain-based teaching” is not just a fad in the education world; it is a scientifically based understanding of how people learn. Scientists and educators are now collaborating on studies of the human brain as it relates to learning with applications to disabilities and “Special Needs” students. There are specific practices emerging from brain research that teachers can use to enhance learning by all students.
In this article I want to share with you what research says about brain-based teaching as it pertains to online learning. With regards to the educational environment there are many suggestions for appropriate learning. The four suggestions are: memory/retrieval, learning styles, increasing attentiveness, and social emotional learning.
When it comes to online learning students will remember more content if it’s moved from short term to long term memory. For example, content can be learned through role plays, debates, video clips, and art or music. Another technique to help students’ master material online is a process known as “Chunking.” This is a strategy of grouping smaller chunks of seven, plus or minus two chucks of information. Thus, that’s why we can easily remember things such as our telephone number, social security card number, vehicle tags, and zip codes.
Another online tip would be to take into account the several different learning modalities. For instance, let’s take auditory learners. Group discussions, audio/video animation clips, or voice-over lessons work really well. Visual learners on the other hand, excel with the use of PowerPoint slides, video clips, the use of color, bold lettering, pictures, charts, symbols, and extra white space on a page. The kinesthetic/tactile learner learns best through exploration, assembling and disassembling objects—online study can be developed with lessons that include sketching, drawing, model building and the like.
The opening and closing of an online lesson is the last bits of information remembered. It’s suggested to begin a lesson with an interesting quote from a famous person, a humorous video or story. For the closing of a lesson create post-tests in the form of crossword puzzles, or develop word searches, etc. Learning will “Stick” much better if you Incorporate anticipation, surprise, fun, and excitement as you progress through the lesson.
Note: Interaction will enhance attentiveness distance learning theory research advocates that interaction is an essential element of successful online learning.
The Role of Emotion
Teachers need to establish early on that the learning environment will be a safe place and that students will be free to challenge ideas, facts, and voice opinions. Do away with the stress of failing the lesson or course. Keep in constant contact with students, provide positive feedback and give plenty of encouragement.