Workshop 2: Brain-Based Learning

Workshop 2

Brain-Based Learning

Guest Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chailerd Pichitpornchai M.D.,

Director of Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University

November 15, 1:00 – 4:00 pm A401, Aditayathorn Building

Strategy and Academic Development section under the Office of Academic Affairs hosted its 2nd workshop entitled ‘Brain Based Learning’ with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chailerd Pichitpornchai M.D., Director of Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University as a guest speaker. In this workshop Dr. Chailerd gave his insights on brain-based learning and how it can facilitate teaching and learning.

What is BrainBased Learning or BBL?

This teaching theory is based on the brain’s structure and function with the notion that if the brain is functioning right and not limited from executing its normal process, learning will occur. Therefore, in a traditional learning environment, such as desks in rows, teachers take the active role of teaching while student take more of a passive role. Such traditional learning environment can sometimes discourage or hinder the nature of brain process.

12 Basic Principles of BrainBased Learning (BBL)

The body, the brain, and the mind work as one dynamic unity that operates simultaneously at several different levels. Many aspects of human being are engaged and cooperated in overall learning process regardless of fields or domains. This principle of natural learning has the 12 basic principles of BBL as follows:

  1. All learning is physiological
  2. The brain and mind is social. The social nature of learning is sometimes described as situated learning.
  1. The search for meaning is innate since the brain is meaning-driven
  2. The brain is designed to perceive and generate patterns
  3. Powerful learning is heightened by emotional experiences
  4. Learning involves both focused attention and peripheral (indirect) perception
  5. The brain processes wholes and parts simultaneously
  6. Learning involves both conscious and unconscious processes.
  7. There are at least two types of memories: spatial and rote
  8. Learning is developmental; a learning is built on previous learning
  9. A threatening environment or stress can alter and jeopardize learning
  10. Each brain is uniquely organized and becomes more unique as we age

VARK Learning Styles

VARK stands for Visual, Auditory, Reading-Writing, and Kinaesthetic sensory modalities that were developed to determine the preferences of sensory modality when processing the information. They are described as four communication modes that learners can use when taking or giving out information. Generally, learners have preferences to some modes and not for others. That’s why teaching and learning is not one-size that fits all. Educators need to facilitate students to have appropriate experience that has significant impact as well as being aware of individual students learning preferences.

Basic concept of cognitive neuroscience

Cognitive neuroscience is an interdisciplinary scientific field-study of thought, learning, and the human mind. It relates to biological processes that stress on human cognition, especially the relation between brain structure, activity, and perception functions. The aim is to understand how the brain functions and achieve performance, and to characterize the nature of human knowledge and how that knowledge is used, processed and acquired.

Learning and memory

Learning and memory are closely connected. Learning is an acquisition of skill and knowledge while memory lets you store and retrieve the information that you learn. Memory is basically the record left by a learning process. Both learning and memory inseparably depend on each other. The knowledge stored in one’s memory can provide the link to the new knowledge. Thus, the wider framework of stored knowledge the easier you can link new knowledge.

To sum up, BBL is a teaching approach based on the natural process of brain function that allows an educator to understand the nature of brain, how it learns, processes, stores, and remembers information, and what impede it to learn. BBL approach also helps teacher to adapt their style of teaching according to the brain’s exceptional features in order to maximize the learning process, and to understand students’ learning styles to create a better classroom environment and activities that can serve all types of student.

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