The Principles of Learning

Knowing the principles of learning is a key to empowering yourself as a lifelong learner.

Thanks to extensive research, neuroscientists are beginning to understand the basic Principles of Learning. For example, we now know that our brains:

  • Are unique. Each of us has different styles of learning and multiple intelligences that come most naturally to us. Knowing what they are empowers us to acquire knowledge in the way that suits us best—instead of in the way that suits our instructors best!

  • Seek to detect patterns. The brain is an amazingly effective pattern-detecting device that automatically sees patterns, models and connections. This is why, for example, fluent English speakers can understand the following string of words, even though they are completely misspelled:

    fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid, too. Cna yuo raed tihs?

  • Automatically make associations and connections. The moment we think of something—for example "book"—our brains immediately begin to associate new ideas with it (paper, library, bookstore, publishing, ink, etc.). We can use this wonderful capacity to brainstorm and invent new ideas, concepts, and connections.

  • Require meaning in order to store new learning. If a new piece of information does not make sense to us...if we have no basis of knowledge or experience on which we can "hook" the new will soon flee from our minds and memories!

  • Require emotions in order to learn. Researchers have discovered that emotions play an indispensible role in rational decision-making, as well as in our ability to create long-term memory.

  • Learn best when the new knowledge is experienced and reinforced through physical movement and interaction with others. Mounting evidence suggests that physical movement plays a critical role in learning, as does interaction with others.

  • Learn best when the environment is stimulating, multi-sensory, and free of threat or fear. Our brains like to be challenged, but they do NOT like overwhelming stress. In fact, when we are afraid or under great stress, our brains release chemicals that actually shut down our thinking processes (in order to prepare us for fight or flight). This is why it is critical that learners who are experiencing great stress find ways to release it!

  • Are characterized by neuroplasticity. Scientists used to believe that we were born with all of the neurons, or brain cells, we would ever have. Now they know that neurons will continue to grow and expand throughout our lives—if we use them. This is why lifelong learning plays such a critical role in maintaining our health and well-being.

What Do the Principles of Learning Mean to You?

You don't have to passively wait for an excellent, creative instructor trained in the principles of learning to walk into the classroom:

You have the power to empower yourself!

The Next Step

The first step toward making this a reality is to learn more about a comprehensive, 40-year-old methodology first developed in Bulgaria:

Accelerated Learning

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