Some great stuff about the brain for trainers from the CIPD – part 1

IMG_1051Everyone is talking about it…. neuroscience….and if you are not why not? Does it seem like the latest in a long line of fads? Or just a bit too geeky? I am never afraid of being labelled an “anorak”and so will admit that I have been reading the CIPD’s papers on Neuroscience (references at the end) to see what useful stuff I can use …. and share….

One comment that stood out for me and this may seem like I am about to contradict myself here… is from Stella Collins (my colleague in all things brain friendly):

“If you’ve done something and it really works, you’ve implemented some kind of piece of learning, piece of training, you’ve helped people in some way and it works and you can’t find the piece of neuroscience that backs it up, that might not matter. I don’t think everything has to be backed up by neuroscience because they just may not have discovered it yet.”(1)

As a pragmatist, I love stuff that works and science that backs up stuff that works for me, so I can tell others why they should do it!

My most recent venture has been the Learning Loop, a game for training trainers, whatever their experience. It has been going down a storm and participants have been really engaged with the whole format. It takes the focus away from me as a facilitator and focusses on what the learners already know, building upon it and sharing with others. So why does this work so well?

“Research at Bristol University confirmed children’s preference for uncertain reward in a learning task and, in a study with adults, demonstrated how it increased the emotional response to learning (Howard-Jones and Demetriou 2009).” (2)

During the game, the participants seem sooooo excited about winning up to 5 wooden beads for answering a question….. it is down to me how many beads they are awarded, depending on how full (in my opinion) an answer they give. Other teams are allowed to “steal” extra points and they do so with much enthusiasm. I thought it would work, but now there is research, that shows the use of uncertain rewards can increase the emotional response it helps me to understand why.

I have known (and observed) for a long time that competition in training works well and adds an element of fun as well as focus, but it is great to hear that there is research that backs up what for a long tine has been for me “just a feeling”. Which brings me back to Stella’s point …. if it works… keep using it……

  1. Neuroscience in Action CIPD Nov 2014
  2. Fresh Thinking in L&D Part 1 of 3 Neuroscience and Learning Feb 2014
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