This week in my Learning Theories Instruction course we are looking at the topic of brain research and how it relates to learning. As I researched this topic I found a number of different resources that were helpful, including a number of blogs. I want to take a moment here and list a few of the professional resources, websites and journals, that I found most beneficial in my understanding of the topics this week in hope that they will benefit you as well!
Johns Hopkins University School of Education: New Horizons for Learning
This website is a resource for many educational topics. You can access the New Horizons for Learning Journal that the school publishes electronically at no cost from the site. Concerning the specific topic of the brain and learning they have an entire section of the New Horizons site that is about Neurosciences. On this page you can find articles, recommended readings and additional websites that focus on the topic. In my view, any site that will give not only the information they teach but also resources for you to do your own research is one that can be invaluable.
This site provides a variety of different resources concerning the brain and learning. In the Education Connection page you can find specific articles that focus on how brain research is affecting education. Or, you can search their library for articles concerning different topics such as learning and memory, thinking and problem solving, and learning and behavior in the classroom. They have a link to reviews on books and websites on the study of the brain. There is a blog on the study of brain plasticity that has blog posts relating to learning and problem solving. You can also access games and brain teasers which are meant to challenge the brain and keep it active. The numerous resources found here make this site one to visit!
New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education; Summer2006, Issue 110
This entire edition of this journal focuses on the neuroscience of adult learning. Starting with James Zull writing about how the brain learns, then Louis Cozolino and Susan Sprokay look at the connection between neuroscience and adult learning. Bruce Perry then covers the topic of fear and learning. And finally, Colin Ross at brain self-repair and how it has implications on education. I enjoyed this resource as a whole because it didn’t just focus on brain theory and learning as a general topic but focused in on how it affects the learning of adult learners. I accessed the journal through the Walden Library and would recommend it to anyone who works with adult learners.
Sprenger, M. (1999). Learning and memory: the brain in action. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
The final resource I would recommend on this topic of brain development and learning is a book that I also found through the Walden Library. This book takes this topic and makes it easy to understand through illustrations and examples that bring them to life. Literally, as I was reading this book, I found myself relating to the stories in a way that I understood the topic more clearly. Sprenger starts with a breakdown of the brain and how it works. She goes on to talk about how our memory works within our brain and then finally gives some specific examples of how understanding the brain can help to create effective instructional strategies. Of all of the resources I found through my research this week, this was one of the most beneficial to my learning.
“The only evidence we have of learning is memory” (Sprenger, 1999). This being true, I hope that these resources will help you to not only learn about the brain and how it effects learning but that you can make it connect with your world and experience so that it becomes a part of your memory. And as these fascinating concepts become part of your memory and your thinking, as I hope they do in mine as well, I hope to see them start to change how we view the way we work as instructional designers.
Let me know what you think of these resources if you get a chance to check them out!