Activating the Brain Through Meaning

Learning only happens when the biology of the brain is activated and altered. In other words if there is no biological change in the brain then there is no learning.

Ancient Learning Theory

The ancient learning theory falsely believes that students learn by instruction and that the brain is an empty vessel waiting for new information to be poured into it. There is no biological mechanism by which a student learns through instruction. Simply pouring in information does not cause deep learning, and even of the 10-20% of information that may be retained most will be forgotten within a short period of time. The brain is very much like a ‘leaky bucket’.

Modern Neuroscience

Students learn by selection. The brain selects in new information that is meaningful and has some prior knowledge onto which it can be anchored. Eric Jensen, a world-renowned brain-based learning guru, states that, “The brain is designed for survival, not formal instruction”. This means that the brain is constantly seeking to make sense of the world and by the best possible means. The brain wants to learn, wants to figure things out and put the pieces together, and wants to find success. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the teacher to create conditions in which the student brain will ‘choose’ or ‘select’ to learn. Students will learn naturally under such brain compatible conditions.

Meaning Network

All students have 'meaning networks' in their brain, which are brain structures that must be ‘switched on’ in order for neurological change to take place. If the new learning can activate or ‘excite’ the student’s neurological meaning network then learning begins to happen by releasing neurotransmitters that will cause new neurological growth. This new growth creates a biological change in the brain and results in learning.

Neuroscience is saying
Profound Learning incorporates

The brain is a social organ

Building in collaborative working times and allowing students to make connections through personal interaction with peers

Active learning stimulates neural connections and promotes long term memory

Exposing students to a variety of experiences ranging from direct teaching to hands on discovery of learning while completing ongoing self-assessment of learning

Moderate stress is beneficial for learning

Allowing students to discover learning through an itinerary of well-orchestrated activities, resources and assignments designed by the teacher

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Neuroscience is saying
Profound Learning incorporates

Student ownership increases motivation

Allowing choice and giving responsibility for learning to students

Teach metacognitive strategies

Teaching reflection skills to students and how to self-assess their learning on a Learning Map

Access prior knowledge

Reviewing prior knowledge connected to new learning on a Learning Map

Receive immediate and regular ongoing feedback

Formative assessment throughout the learning experience rather than waiting until a summative assessment at the end of the unit

Make learning meaningful

Posing questions about real-world scenarios that students will work to solve

Learners need to feel in control

Shifting the responsibility for learning to student

Learners learn in different ways

Personalized learning through a variety of experiences and methods of demonstrating understanding

Learning happens through movement

Opportunity to move around the learning space as needed rather than being confined to a desk in rows

Stimulate positive emotion

Creating positive social interaction through collaboration

Eliminate fear

Creating a climate of trust through a Code of Cooperation and a culture where it is safe for students to identify what they don’t know

Multi-sensory learning increases learning effectiveness

Presenting material in multiple ways and a variety of experiences through a Learning Adventure

Teacher as Designer

One of the more important elements of Profound Learning is the shifting role of a teacher from a disseminator of information to a designer of brain compatible learning experiences. Learning is not the responsibility of the teacher, but that of the student. The teacher’s responsibility is to create context, conditions and connections for the learning. This can be achieved through designing brain compatible learning experiences that not only cover the required curriculum but also allow students to develop Future Ready skills.

Imaginal Education has tools and systems through which these brain compatible experiences can be designed and delivered to students. Purposeful practices, strategies and processes are embedded into the learning experiences of students, all of which cater to how the brain learns best.

Imaginal Education pulls from several of the sciences associated with learning (neuro, cognitive, and behavioral sciences) to formulate a methodology that elevates the overall effectiveness of the learning. A system based on these system processes (and more) will transform education.

Increase of Joy and Fulfilment

The Greatest Thrill video shows that not only are the students directing their own learning and having a blast doing it, but the teachers are enjoying the educational process as well. This is because the teacher's role now shifts from being a mechanistic deliverer of information to becoming a trusted mentor, helping students to develop a powerful sense of self and competency while the curricular content is being presented.

The Advanced Learning Institute

JW Wilson is the Executive Director of The Advanced Learning Institute, an organization which researches, develops and implements science-based learning programs. Mr. Wilson is also the author of the soon to be published book Cracking the Learning Code, a culmination of over twenty-five years of scientific research into the basis for how to accelerate the speed of learning and the rate of behavioural change. Imaginal Education has formed a working relationship with the Advanced Learning Institute and JW Wilson. The Profound Learning model has been greatly influenced by the Learning Code and is integrated into all aspects of the model. A hallmark of Profound Learning is the deep learning that has resulted from teachers designing brain-compatible learning experiences for students. The key finding of this research is that in each of us there is a genetically implanted Learning Code, which must be switched on before we can create long-term memory or lasting behavioural change. The research that lead to the discovery of the Learning Code has been derived from the fields of neuroscience, genetics, molecular biology, quantum physics, complexity science and chaos theory. The results have yielded groundbreaking information on how we learn and change behaviour. JW's passion, in fact his crusade, is to bring this essential knowledge to the world. The innovative Learning Code research is now being used by organizations including the country's largest employer organization, and the group that implements leadership training for NASA.