We don’t teach people, we teach their brains
Here are some facts about adult brains:
- Adult brains permit change when that change is judged to be important, rewarding and good for it
- Adult brains are malleable (i.e. they have plasticity)
- Adults’ brains continue to be shaped by experience by building synapses and neural connections which enable learning
- Memory loss is a reduction in synaptic connection
- Adults learn slower in order to retain info already stored because adding new info may corrupt it
- As they age, adults brains run on autopilot and refer to embedded skills and knowledge
- Adults prefer not to have new challenges, surprises or problems
Here are some facts about the cognitive structure of our brains:
- Adult cognitive learning styles are distinct from intelligence, ability and personality, yet determine how well they process info
- Learning styles are ingrained habits, and favour one sense over others (i.e. visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and touch)
- A change in knowing or behaviour requires new rules and suppression of old ones
- People can see their mistakes if the learning tasks are not overwhelming; otherwise, they continue to error
The big challenge for anyone teaching or offering a course is that learning requires a change in schematic structure of long-term memory, which consists of prior understandings, expertise and auto-responses.
That basically separates courses where people learn and those that fail to do so.
Think about the courses you have taken in the past, where you struggled, failed to grasp the main point, or didn’t connect with the instructor. In those incidences, your brain was fighting you because of the way it was wired.