Speed is a crucial factor in e-learning for many contemporary companies. Learning online requires 40-60% less time than learning the same subject in a traditional classroom setting. When IBM implemented an e-learning program in their company, its employees learned five times more without increasing their time spent in training (Read More About Corporate Trainings).
Neurology and E-learning
Neurological studies have found that the limbic system, which is central for processing emotional reactions, shuts down when emotions run too high. This means that a person whose rational center of emotional input is damaged will struggle to make rational decisions. Having too few emotions also has the same affect on a person’s ability to reason. Balance is key in order to enable the brain to function properly and therefore allow gained knowledge to become long-term memory.
Our cognitive status and progress are affected by our age and lifestyle choices. Physical fitness, sleep habits, and social interactions all have been shown to benefit our cognitive function. Our habits and practices can create positive or negative neuroplasticity in our brains.
Positive neuroplasticity promotes cognitive functions. The brain is not static and we have the power to effect positive changes in our cognitive status. This type of neuroplasticity is reflected not only by an increase in the connections between neurons, but also by the formation of stronger ones. Another important cognitive function is our memory. We rely on our memory for a variety of tasks, whether it is communicating with others or the ability to perform daily tasks.
Different cognitive strategies can improve our memory and cognition including repeated retrieval, spacing, and deep encoding. For example, asking a question and retrieving the information to provide an answer is more effective than repeated studying when it comes to long-term memory retention.
This knowledge about how the brain functions can also provide insight into the learning process. The way one teaches can also physically change the brain (See Some Useful Tips For Teachers). So it is useful to keep in mind that applying the strategies you already know in a different way, or learning new strategies and how to apply them, really develop the brain and help e-learning run smoother and faster.
Applying Knowledge About The Brain To Online Learning
As e-learning progresses, the business-focused market segment is evolving around new modes of presenting, teaching, and retaining information. Here are some reasons why e-learning helps people gain knowledge faster:
- Our brain finds it difficult to multitask
For years, multitasking has been considered an all-important skill. Our brains don’t actually have the power to multitask. When multitasking, it typically takes the brain twice as long to complete an assignment or task, and your error rate goes up by about 50%. As a teacher in online education, it is important to avoid switching contexts, as well as making your students perform multiple tasks at once. Focus on the advantages of module learning and offer knowledge piece by piece.
- Learning spread out over time increases knowledge retention
A recent report found that assessing one’s own knowledge before an exam through self-quizzes and summaries of the core content can improve a student’s overall performance. Microlearning avoids the inundation with data that often occurs when overloading a student with information. So e-learning is way more effective with shorter learning modules.
- Multimedia tools improve brain memory
Multimedia in e-learning really matters. Images and video not only engage the learners but also help them to actually remember what they’ve learned. Interactive learning tools, such as ebooks, lead to improved knowledge retention. According to research, students who used ebooks that contained sound effects, music, audio narration, and images were able to retain and recite more information than those who were simply given traditional textbooks.
- Gameplay helps us learn faster
Gamification in online learning helps to engage learners and also serves to remedy the boredom that so often leads to unsuccessful learning experiences. Students are more motivated to learn the information, which improves their overall success. Also, game-based online courses make corporate training programs more engaging and help people overcome the stress of learning.
- The brain prefers images over text
Studies show that learning speed increases by 65% when an image is added to the learning process. The reason or this lies in the Pictorial Superiority Effect, which suggests that visual input is more likely to be recognized and remembered. As such, including images and pictures in the design of courses can help boost retention and knowledge acquisition rates.