Six brain principles


Six brain principles

In the nineties of the last century brain scientists did two remarkable discoveries: mirror neurons and plasticity of our brain. Mirror neurons become active or more active when you perceive what someone else is doing, in the same place in the brain as the person performing the action. The discovery of the plasticity of the brain means that you can train a brain - just like a muscle in your body.

And another special "find": by appealing to someone's autonomy and status, you influence his dopamine level and thus the degree to which he or she is open to learn and develop.

Real behaviour change

The science behind brain learning took on these discoveries and came up with an approach to establish real behaviour change: create new, strong and extensive contacts between brain cells. How? Apply the 6 brain principles:


1. Focus

Everything that gets attention, grows. Something that gets more attention is easier to remember. If something does not receive attention, you will not remember it later. Attention can be passive; we are not aware that we are paying attention to something, but we do automatically respond to (unexpected) signals from the environment. Attention can also be active; we direct our attention and are alert, well concentrated and interested. As a course leader, trainer or teacher, you must therefore ensure that you have the active attention of the participants or that they focus their attention on the material you are offering them.

2. Repeat

Repetition is one of the most important ways to learn and store knowledge and experience. Repetition is not only the 'cramming' of facts to remember something, but it is also drawing attention to a subject over a longer period of time. By repeating a theme many times in different ways, sustainable knowledge is created.

3. Emotion

Emotions are unconscious, feelings are conscious. Emotions and feelings are there to help us avoid pain (fear, anger, sadness, boredom) and evoke desires, things that feel good (joy, surprise). Both have a direct impact on bodily activities, for example angry: accelerated heartbeat or balling of fists, scared: squeezing the throat, happy: a smile or lightness, etc. Experiences with an emotional charge are better and longer remembered.

Six brain principles 3

4. Sensory-rich

Experiences that are rich in sensory content or involve more senses are more intense and therefore better remembered. By offering auditory information (hearing), visual information (seeing), smells (smelling), physical information (moving) and kinetic information (feeling) together, learning becomes easier. This is also shown in the learning pyramid.

5. Creation

Creation means that the participants themselves create meaning and value instead of consuming the wisdom of the teacher or trainer and taking it as truth. The participant discovers connections and puzzles information together. By doing so, they themselves give meaning to what they are learning and combine theory with practice. The learning pyramid also shows that creating yourself produces the best learning results.

6. Build

When we learn new things, it is most effective if they fit in with what we already know and can do.

What will be effective

With these 6 principles in mind, we decide on what will be effective within a learning journey to establish a behaviour change amongst your people.

Sander Vink

Sander Vink

Source: BCL instituut (Dutch)

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