Tip #812: A Rose is…A Memory?

On March 2, 2020, Posted by , In learning, By , , With Comments Off on Tip #812: A Rose is…A Memory?

“Nothing brings to life again a forgotten memory like fragrance.”  Christopher  Poindexter

Have you ever thought how nice it would be if you could learn while you were sleeping? Not only learn, but retain what you learned? And no, we’re not talking about listening to tape recordings to learn a language or something else.

What we’re talking about is a finding in a recent study, since confirmed by other studies, that the strategic use of fragrances while learning and during sleep might improve learning retention.

At some point in your life, you have probably experienced when a certain fragrance immediately prompted a memory of a person, a place, a feeling or an event. This is not surprising, since the … Read the rest

Tip #728:  Ten Fundamentals of Neuroplasticity

On July 2, 2018, Posted by , In learning, By ,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #728:  Ten Fundamentals of Neuroplasticity

“Plasticity dials back ‘ON’ in adulthood when specific conditions that enable or trigger plasticity are met.”  Dr. Sarah McKay


Neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change and grow, is a popular topic these days. According to Dr. Michael Merzenich in his book, Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life, there are ten core principles necessary for neuroplasticity. [Note: This information is drawn from a post by Debbie Hampton in The Best Brain Possible, so any quotes not ascribed to Dr. Merzenich are Ms. Hampton’s]. https://www.thebestbrainpossible.com/the-10-fundamentals-of-rewiring-your-brain/

  1. Change is mostly limited to those situations in which the brain is in the mood for it. This is why it is so important for trainers to
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Tip #590: Why Multiple Quizzes Help Learning Retention

On October 12, 2015, Posted by , In brain research, By ,,,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #590: Why Multiple Quizzes Help Learning Retention

“Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.” Francis Bacon

“Retrieval practice” or the “testing effect” involves testing yourself on an idea or concept to help you remember it. According to Roddy Roediger, a psychology professor at Washington University in St. Louis who runs the university’s Memory Lab: “The actual act of retrieving the information over and over, that’s what makes it retrievable when you need it.”

As early as 350 B.C., Aristotle wrote that ‘exercise in repeatedly recalling a thing strengthens the memory.” So this is hardly a new concept. However, according to Roediger, the focus of recent learning and memory studies has been how to acquire knowledge rather than how to retrieve it.

Mark McDaniel, Roediger’s colleague, … Read the rest

Tip #575: The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve

On June 29, 2015, Posted by , In brain research, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #575: The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve

“The process of learning requires not only hearing and applying but also forgetting and then remembering again.”  John Gray

Learning retention and transfer are the key goals of training. I recently read an article that explained why post-training reinforcement is so essential. It referenced the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, which was entirely new to me.

The following information is drawn from an article titled: Use It or Lose It by Art Kohn, who is the CEO of AKLearning. All of the words in “parentheses” are Kohn’s. The italics are mine.

“… Modern neuroscience divides memory into three distinct phases: encoding, storage, and retrieval. Encoding refers to absorbing new information (for example, in a live seminar), and then giving the material meaning … Read the rest

Tip #527: Why Emotions Impact Learning

On July 21, 2014, Posted by , In brain research, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #527: Why Emotions Impact Learning

“Your emotions affect every cell in your body. Mind and body, mental and physical, are intertwined.” Thomas Tutko

For years, I have taught about the Triune Brain and its three layers: the reptilian system, the limbic system and the neocortex. I have explained that memory is lodged in the limbic system. I have used a visualization to demonstrate that memories are emotional. But in truth, I have never known exactly what the limbic system is or why memories are emotional.

After attending a four-day workshop with Eric Jensen, titled: “Teaching With the Brain in Mind,” I now have a much better understanding.

There are two major parts of the limbic system (considered the “emotional brain”) that are associated with memory:… Read the rest

Tip #526: The Best Learning States

“Man is the only creature whose emotions are entangled with his memory.” Marjorie Holmes

No, we’re not talking about geographical states. That would be an entirely different political and emotion-laden discussion.

Instead, we are talking about the emotional states of your learners.

We know that emotional states impact learning and behavior. Now brain research explains how this happens. Let’s look at the hormones that affect the brain in such a way as to create these emotional states.

The three most commonly studied hormones that transmit messages to the brain (neurotransmitters) are dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Dopamine is related to experiences of pleasure and the reward-learning process. In other words, when you do something good, you’re rewarded with dopamine and gain … Read the rest