Understanding brain-based learning

There are two key components that a teacher needs, to ensure smooth learning in the classroom – technology and an understanding of the students’ psychology. Once the educator is given access to the right technology, he or she is in a better position to educate the students.


Such combination of technology and psychology, along with neurology results in ‘brain-based learning’.



What is brain-based learning?


Brain-based learning is a new perspective to learning and teaching that uses technology and knowledge of the brain to get the most out of the education process. This idea was coined in the recent years and stemmed from a scientific development.


This approach to learning requires the educators and neuroscientists working together to create meaningful programs that help the students to learn and develop.



How does brain-based learning assist a teacher?


Brain-based learning assists a teacher in numerous ways like:


1. Keeps the learners engaged

Learners can be visual, aural, verbal or kinaesthetic in nature. Brain-based learning not only helps to identify the different learners, but also engages them in the learning process.


2. Creates a richer learning environment

The learning environment can be called rich when the students are able to derive maximum benefit while enjoying the learning process. Brain-based learning helps the teachers to create a great learning experience for the students.


3. Offers feedback to develop understanding

Feedbacks are essential to improve and motivate oneself. Brain based learning helps teachers provide feedback to the students.


4. Helps the teacher address the needs of the students

Brain based learning helps teachers address the emotional needs, social needs and the mind-based needs of the students.


Aspects to remember while talking about brain-based learning

Some of the important aspects of brain-based learning are:


1. Emotions and learning

The brain feels the stress even before it thinks about it. Stress often overrules learning and hence, it is essential for teachers to connect with the students and reduce their stress before teaching them a concept.


2. Novelty in learning

The brain often craves for novelty. Teachers can make regular changes in the classroom, like changing the seating arrangements or changing the way a topic is taught, to ensure students learn with complete attention and enthusiasm.


3. Learning experience

The brain often looks to connect the known and the unknown. Helping the students connect what they have already learnt to what they will be learning will address the aspect of learning experience in a better way.


4. Teaching for retention

It is well-known that, in order to encourage retention, a memory must make its way from short term to long term. Components like projects and experiments can be included to encourage retention.


5. Adaptability

The brain is believed to be like plastic because it can adapt and change over a period of time. This aspect aims to help students master whatever they learn.


6. Assessment

Assessments help understand and motivate the students. Timely and effective feedback can go a long way in helping the students develop.


Advantages of brain-based learning

Some of the advantages of brain-based learning are:


1. Overall development of students

The brain-based method of learning helps in the overall development of the students. It not only looks at the neurological aspects, but also the psychological needs of the students. This helps the teachers develop a curriculum that results in an overall development.


2. Promotes creativity

Each learner is able to learn the way he or she is comfortable with and this results in maximum creativity as there is freedom to learn however the learner wants.


3. Incorporates cooperative learning

Brain based learning brings the students together. They not only learn to network, but also cooperate and understand each other.


4. Kindles curiosity

The students get to learn the way they want, and this kindles their curiosity and ignites their creativity.


5. Student-centric learning

Brain based learning lays emphasis on students, their psychology and the neurology to increase their understanding of a topic.

Disadvantages of brain-based learning

Despite having numerous benefits, brain-based learning has certain disadvantages like:


1. Lack of support from experts

This method of learning lacks the support of educational experts and not everyone has embraced this concept completely.


2. Yet to be explored completely

Brain based learning is a relatively new term in the field of education. The scope and impact of this method is yet to be explored completely.


3. Time consuming

The process to educate the children under brain-based learning may be time consuming in the initial days, as the teacher would first have to understand the learning styles of each learner and then develop neurological strategies to help the students learn better.


4. May not work effectively

The method may not be successful in all cases. The teachers would first have to understand the method and communicate the same to the students, who may not perceive it the right way.


5. Vague

Brain based learning deals with terminologies and techniques pertaining to the brain. This may appear complex and confusing to many who are yet to adapt to this method.

While there have been many developments in the field of education, brain-based learning seems to be quite significant with a clear objective of holistic education. In a nut shell, brain-based learning holds a lot of potential and can prove successful if harnessed effectively.