Top neuroscience tips for more effective learning

The brain has an incredible capacity for storing and accessing information, so it’s critical to understand how our brains are wired, in order to help others learn more effectively. Ahead of our next ILM Trainer's Masterclass - Neuroscience of Learning, here are some hints and tips for using neuroscience to improve learning in the workplace.

Control cortisol

If a learner feels under pressure (for example, if they feel their trainer is expecting too much of them), their brain will flood the body with increased levels of the hormone cortisol. Although cortisol is meant to be the body’s way of coping with stress, it also inhibits any unnecessary bodily processes – including the retention of new information. Trainers should take time before learning to get familiar with their learners’ strengths and weaknesses, and take appropriate steps to make sure learners always feel at ease.

Mix it up

The brain is also designed to shut off processing activity when it doesn’t feel stimulated enough, but remains active when it is presented with stimuli that change frequently. The more areas of the brain that are stimulated during learning, the greater the chance that the experience will be committed to long term memory storage. Trainers should use a variety of colours or sounds in their learning materials, change the tone and speed of their voice throughout, use physical movement, and trigger learners’ emotional memory.

Raise oxytocin levels

Trainers can further encourage memory retention by making the learning experience relevant and fun for learners. This triggers oxytocin – another hormone that plays a key role in aiding the creation of long-term memory.

By making learning comfortable, varied and fun, trainers can ensure that learning is committed to long-term memory, with greater effects on behaviours within the workplace.

If you are a trainer and would like to find out more about how the brain affects learning, check out our next ILM’s Trainer’s Masterclass – The Neuroscience of Learning event or get in touch with us to discuss a bespoke learning and development programme.