Human beings have amazing brains. We are able to think, create, and produce at an astounding rate thanks to the thousands of cell-based activities that take place in our grey matter. Most importantly our brains allow us to learn, and to keep learning, well into mature adulthood.
In his article, Inside the Learning Brain, Nick Dam provides a framework for effective corporate learning based on the theories of cognitive neuroscience – brain learning.
In order for corporate learning to take place, Dam confirms that adult learners must have an environment that allows for focused attention, high engagement, and single-tasking. At the same time, the environment that supports adult brains for effective learning is shifting rapidly through the ever-increasing intervention of external technology, especially social media.
The impact of this type of environment and its effect on learning is explored in the following clip: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains.
Both the article and the video clip support a common premise that we need to embed information into memory in order for learning to take place. This is called memory consolidation, which allows us to build knowledge; built knowledge allows for new learning to take place. This type of learning happens when our brains are allowed to be peaceful and focused. As we see in the video clip, memory consolidation and learning is becoming more challenging as our technology-driven brains crave the external stimulus of constant interruptions.
From a training and development perspective, the challenge for the Human Resources practitioner is to create the conditions and the space that enable effective learning to happen.
We need to work hard to figure out how to do this — but first, one more cute kitten video.
- How much time per day do you give yourself for quiet contemplation, with no external distractions?
- Thinking of your own learning patterns. How much information have you retained from yesterday’s Internet searches?
- Are your work or study patterns focused on single-tasking or multi-tasking? Which pattern is easier? Why?