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1 Welcome to the course, Understanding How Humans Learn.

2 Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn Module Introduction - Understanding How Humans Learn This module is an overview of how humans learn. It describes the biological requirements for learning, You should now be able to: Describe why learning is biological, not just intellectual. Describe what actually occurs biologically when new learning occurs. Define the "fire hose" approach to training and explain why it is ineffective. Define fading and extinction and explain why they occur. Describe how you can strengthen new neural interconnections in the brain. Give three examples of how the brain is not like a computer, and explain the dangers of believing in the brain-computer analogy. MenuMenu > Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn > Module IntroductionModule 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn

3 Why You Need to Understand How Humans Learn  How the aliens learn (the methods by which they process and interpret new information and the bottlenecks and limitations built-in to those methods) What motivates their behavior (so that you could motivate them to want to learn) Unless you knew this, you would unlikely: Be effective or successful in teaching the alien  Be efficient in your instruction (stimulate learning in the least amount of time, with the least effort, and with the least amount of resources) Motivate the alien to learn what you would like to teach it  Sometimes instructional designers are asked by subject-matter experts (SMEs) or content developers who are anxious to begin developing training, "Why do I need to understand how humans learn? Why not just jump right in and put some training materials together?" Imagine that friendly aliens from outer space have landed on earth and that you want to teach them about earthlings and earth life. What would you need to know to be successful? Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn MenuMenu > Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn > Module IntroductionModule 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn

4 The Fundamental Components of Human Learning - Human learning involves two fundamental processes: Biological processes (including sensory perception) Cognitive (mental) processes As with any process, these processes have bottlenecks and limitations that constrain and limit what you can do at any given moment. However, certain research-based principles and techniques can facilitate and maximize human learning within these processes. To design successful and effective training, you must understand the biological and cognitive processes involved in learning, the bottlenecks that are built into these processes, and the techniques that you can employ to facilitate and maximize human learning. In this module, you will learn the fundamental biological and cognitive processes of learning and key principles of learning and teaching that can be employed to make learning successful and enjoyable. Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn MenuMenu > Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn > Module IntroductionModule 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn

5 Topic 1 - The Biological Requirements for Learning This topic discusses the biological requirements for learning. It describes what must happen biologically for learning to occur, why biological processes have bottlenecks and limitations, why the "fire hose" approach to training doesn't work, what happens to information that was learned after the learning program has ended, how you can strengthen learning from a biological perspective, and why the brain is different from a computer in how it processes information. After you complete this topic, you should be able to: Describe why learning is biological, not just intellectual. Describe what actually occurs biologically when new learning occurs. Define the "fire hose" approach to training and explain why it is ineffective. Define fading and extinction and explain why they occur. Describe how you can strengthen new neural interconnections in the brain. Give three examples of how the brain is not like a computer and explain the dangers in believing the brain-computer analogy. This topic takes approximately 15 minutes to complete Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn MenuMenu > Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn > Topic 1 - The Biological Requirements for LearningModule 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn

6 Neural Interconnections Fade Over Time Unless Reinforced or Reused After information has been learned and new neural interconnections are created, it quickly fades (becomes increasingly difficult to recall) in a process called extinction unless that information’s neural interconnections are periodically re-used and strengthened. In fact, information doesn’t fade from memory at a constant rate. Most of the new information that a person learns is forgotten in the first few days after it was learned unless that information is refreshed through reviews or applied in exercises or to tasks on the job. That is why periodic reviews and carefully designed practice exercises are essential instructional elements to any training program. And because information fades so quickly during extinction, training must not only create new neural interconnections, it must also determine how students will periodically strengthen these interconnections after the training until the information is regularly applied in real life, such as back on the job, where it will be naturally and frequently reinforced. Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn MenuMenu > Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn > Topic 1 - The Biological Requirements for LearningModule 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn

7 How Can You Strengthen New Neural Interconnections? Because information fades during extinction, neural interconnections must be strengthened and reinforced during training so that they will fade less quickly after training. What can you do to fortify neural interconnections to make them stronger so that they will fade less quickly? The two basic methods are to refresh the original material through periodic re-exposure to the information or to link the information to other information, thus increasing the richness of the available neural pathways to that information Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn MenuMenu > Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn > Topic 1 - The Biological Requirements for LearningModule 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn

8 Review of Materials Strengthen the pathways to the original neural interconnections through re-exposure to the same material, such as through presenting the same instructional stimulus again, through drill-and-practice techniques, or through reviews and summaries. Apply New Job Skills Provide exercises or application activities in which students must use the information to complete an exercise, perform an activity, or complete a task. Variety of Interconnections Increase the number or richness of the neural interconnections to the information by using cognitive encoding techniques, such as elaboration, association, advanced organizers, analogies, and examples, or by showing how the information is related to other, already known information. Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn MenuMenu > Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn > Topic 1 - The Biological Requirements for LearningModule 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn

9 Ways in Which the Brain is Different from a Computer The human brain is often likened to a computer. For example, in computers, we talk about a central processor, memory, data, and peripherals. These devices have been likened to the brain's cognitive processor and memory and to our peripheral senses such as the eyes and ears that are connected to the brain. But believing in this analogy beyond this point will lead to false assumptions that actually deter learning. Computers and humans have very different capabilities, capacities, and processing bottlenecks. For example, do not believe that the brain is like a computer that can soak up endless quantities of knowledge as fast as it can be dispensed. What are some of the ways in which the brain is not like a computer? Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn MenuMenu > Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn > Topic 1 - The Biological Requirements for LearningModule 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn

10 MenuMenu > Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn > Topic 1 - The Biological Requirements for LearningModule 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn Ways in Which the Brain is Different from a Computer The brain cannot take in, process, or remember vast amounts of fast-streaming information. Computers have no difficulty doing this. Human information processing has numerous but often unrecognized bottlenecks and filters that affect or limit processing. Some of these potential bottlenecks and filters include attention, sensory perception, emotional state, cognitive strategies, short-term memory, and previous learning. These will be discussed in detail later in this course. Human short-term memory is limited to seven-plus-or-minus-two items of information without resorting to chunking or some other memory encoding technique. This will be discussed in more detail shortly. Memory (neural interconnections) must be biologically grown and then constantly reinforced to endure. This takes time, repetition, and the application of effective instructional techniques. Computers store information almost instantaneously.

11 Check Your Understanding (1 of 2) Which of the following statements about learning are true? A. Memory fades at a constant rate. B. The two basic methods to strengthen neural interconnections are to refresh the original material through periodic re-exposure to the information or to link the information to other information, thus increasing the richness of the available neural pathways to that information. C. Increasing the number or richness of the neural interconnections to the information by using cognitive encoding techniques—such as elaboration, association, advanced organizers, analogies, and examples, or by showing how the information is related to other, already known information—will strengthen learning. D. The instructor’s responsibility is limited to dispensing new information in whatever form the instructor thinks best; then, the student’s responsibility is to learn it. Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn MenuMenu > Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn > Topic 1 - The Biological Requirements for LearningModule 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn

12 Check Your Understanding (2 of 2) In what ways is the brain different from a computer? A. The brain cannot take in, process, or remember vast amounts of fast-streaming information. B. Human short-term memory is limited to nine plus-or-minus-two items of information without resorting to chunking or some other memory encoding technique. C. Human information processing has numerous but often unrecognized bottlenecks and filters that affect or limit processing, including attention, sensory perception, emotional state, cognitive strategies, short-term memory, and previous learning. D. Memory (neural interconnections) must be biologically grown and then constantly reinforced to endure. This takes time, repetition, and the application of effective instructional techniques Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn MenuMenu > Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn > Topic 1 - The Biological Requirements for LearningModule 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn

13 Topic Summary This topic provided an overview of the biological basis for learning. It described what must happen biologically for learning to occur, why biological processes have bottlenecks and limitations, why the “fire hose” approach to training doesn’t work, what happens to information that was learned after the learning program has ended, how you can strengthen learning from a biological perspective, and why the brain is different from a computer in how it processes information. You should now be able to: Describe why learning is biological, not just intellectual. Describe what actually occurs biologically when new learning occurs. Define the "fire hose" approach to training and explain why it is ineffective. Define fading and extinction and explain why they occur. Describe how you can strengthen new neural interconnections in the brain. Give three examples of how the brain is not like a computer, and explain the dangers of believing in the brain-computer analogy. MenuMenu > Module 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn > Module summaryModule 1 - Understanding How Humans Learn


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