Supercharge your learning with Brain Friendly Training


Over the next few weeks my posts will be dedicated to the subject of accelerated learning: how you can learn faster, absorb more information and recall it in an instant….
Our ‘Brain Friendly’ programmes have demonstrated financial improvements of £millions. I will take you through not only how those results were achieved, but also tips, tools and techniques for you to use in your own organisation.

I like to refer to our approach as ‘Sizzle & Substance‘.
You may have experienced training that had ‘Sizzle’. By that I mean it was great fun, very engaging, full of activities and a great lunch, but a few days later you have probably forgotten the point of it, if there ever was one! You may have also experienced training with lots of ‘Substance’ usually PowerPoint based presentations loaded with facts figures, graphs, trends, models and so on. Excellent if you can retain the learning in that way, but for most it is a ‘yawnfest’, hard to follow and maintain concentration. The presenter tries to liven it up with lots of animation whizzing around the screen, but the fact is retaining information this way is not the easiest.

Brain Friendly as the name suggests utilises the continuing research, knowledge and expertise that the world of neuroscience is providing. It is a fast evolving subject, and one that I am passionate about integrating into learning. I will be sharing some of that knowledge with you, and I would also like to hear your learning stories too.

The act of learning is a fascinating one. When you consider how and when you learned some of the most valuable and important lessons, it was probably before you went to school, around the age of 5 years old. This includes: walking, talking, non verbal communication, taste preferences, what is hot and cold, the concept of danger and a multitude of other things.

Take walking specifically, how did you achieve that skill? You were probably allowed to have a go across a room with parents holding out their arms in encouragement. No doubt you tried and failed a few times, but that was OK because you had very supportive and encouraging mentors. The environment was made safe if you fell over, so you just got up and tried again until you were successful. Can you imagine the outcome if you remove any of those dynamics?

Let’s just say for example if your mentors gave up on you fairly quickly and said: “you are useless, you’ll never walk!” in a direct and harsh voice, what would the impact be I wonder? Similarly, if we were to carry out this particular learning on a bare concrete floor, how many times would you fall before you learned the that the floor was harder than your hands, face and knees! I would imagine you would give up fairly quickly.

As children our brains are like open vessels, eagerly awaiting knowledge to be poured in and because it is often a fun, supportive and safe environment there are very few barriers to learning. Somewhere on our journey to adulthood we receive other lessons about how we should learn which effectively restricts the access to our learning vessel. I will be dealing with this aspect in my first post, but by way of a clue, think about how you felt when you attended your first Secondary school or High school or even Grammar school. You will have experienced uniforms, sitting in rows at desks, putting your hand up to speak, mandatory homework (with penalties for not completing on time), letters and language by repetition and much more besides. The baggage this produces later in life in the training room for industry and commerce is significant and so damaging.

That is why I my post next week is about preparing the learner before they ever enter the training room. It is a critical part of achieving successful outcomes but rarely thought about.