An A-Z of Brain Friendly Learning

A guest blog by Abby Oates, Learning & Organisational Development Specialist 

I have recently had the fantastic opportunity to participate in the ‘How to be a Brain Friendly Trainer‘ programme run by Stellar Learning. The three days in Berkshire were an inspiration. Incorporating hats, building blocks, light-bulbs, bridges, chocolate, pillows and so much more. It reinvigorated my passion for all things brain friendly and I have come away having stocked up my training tool box with a fantastic range of great tools and techniques to help learners get even more from my programmes. I am itching to get started!

As part of my personal post-course review of my learning from the programme, I challenged myself this week to come up with an A-Z of Brain Friendly Learning Top Tips. To test my own learning and to act as a bit of a refresher for me. So when Stella invited me to write a blog on my learning experiences, I thought it might be interesting to combine the two.
So here goes… I hope you find it helpful!

A – Amygdala – the part of our brain linked to emotion – remember to build emotion into your learning to help strengthen memories

B – Build in Breaks – they are as important as the activities to help consolidate learning

C – Create Meaning – actively help your learners consider what the learning means for them

D – Different Media – experiment with a variety of different media – flip chart, social media, video, handouts – and keep it simple!

E – Exhibit knowledge – enable your learners to demonstrate what they have learnt – it will help them embed their learning

F – Framing – Two meanings here! Choose the language you use to positively frame how you introduce each activity. And add a frame to all your pictures and posters for maximum impact!

G – Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences – build activities into your session to engage people using all the multiple intelligences

H – Hydration – encourage and enable your learners to stay hydrated to meet the needs of their reptilian brain, & enhance their learning experience and memory

I – Interpersonal / Intrapersonal – Provide opportunities for both discussion with others, and personal reflection time during the learning

J – Joyous Joining Instructions – motivate your learners from the first correspondence you have with them. Ensure its message and tone is positive, relevant and motivating

K – Kinesthetic – Use props and build in opportunities for learners to touch, feel & be active within your activities

L – Links – Create links for your learners – with what they already know, and with what you have already covered

M – Motivate Minds – Motivating your learners and getting them into a great ‘state’ for learning is a key part of the learning process. Another M – Music – can be great to help with this

N – Neurons – These are the building blocks of our brains. Their role is to transmit information. Brain friendly learning helps your learners build strong connections between neurons to enhance learning and memory

O – Outcomes & objectives – we know this bit as trainers, and it’s equally important in brain-friendly learning to be really clear about our learning objectives

P – Pictures – Most people are strongly visual. Use pictures, images and colour to help make learning memorable

Q – Questionnaires & Quizzes – Come up with creative ways for your learners to demonstrate and review their learning

R – Review to Retain – Remember to help learners repeatedly review their learning – seven times to truly embed the learning!

S – Senses – Our senses are how we absorb and learn information – build them all into your learning – Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory, Gustatory – through activities and the type of language you use

T – Themes – Build a theme around your learning, to provide novelty and an additional anchor to help your learners remember what they have learnt

U – Use the natural environment – fresh air is great for enhancing learning, and adds novelty too

V – Video – Experiment with video in your learning, in pre-course materials, for learners to use for feeding back, and in post-course information

W – Whole Brain – remember to meet the needs of the whole brain to maximise learning

X – (e)Xcite the Brain – Make something novel, it arouses curiosity and enhances your learners’ memory

Y – Yummy Brain Friendly Food – a brain friendly menu and snacks will help create a positive state for learning. Dark Chocolate is good!

Z – Zzzzzz – Sleep is important for the brain and learning too!

So there you have it – My A-Z of Brain Friendly Learning Top Tips. What would be on your A-Z, I wonder? It would be great to hear your ideas….

Find out what yours could be at the next programme. Click on the link above to find out more or click on the relevant link below to book your place online. Give us a call on +44 118 983 6339 to discuss payment options including monthly instalments.

26th, 27th, 28th September 2017 – Edinburgh
20th, 21st, 22nd March 2018 – Berkshire (includes accommodation)