In the 1990s, scientists began using Functional MRIs (fMRIs) to see how the brain functions. A fMRI is different than a normal MRI that looks at the structure of the brain. A fMRI takes baseline images of the brain while it is at rest and then compares them to imaging of the brain while it is doing an activity. Because of this technology, the understanding of how the brain works has increased tenfold, covering everything from brain injuries, memory, stress, and learning disabilities. All of this information has transformed what we know about learning.
So much of what we have developed at CourseArc is rooted in brain science:
- use of icons and images since the brain is better at processing and remembering visuals
- use of interactive exercises and multimedia to stimulate multiple senses to improve comprehension
- use of quiz questions to allow repetitive practice because repeated exposure to the same content improves long term retention
- use of immediate and custom feedback to improve understanding and correct misconceptions
- use of blocks that allow content to be chunked into small, manageable pieces for better understanding
Check out John Medina’s website on brain rules. This provides a great overview of the brain and how it affects learning. All instructional designers should be familiar with his “rules” since they will influence how you design and develop online content, such as, “Vision trumps all other senses.”
Learn more about instructional design and eLearning with our free, online course: Principles of Instructional Design: A Roadmap for Creating Engaging eLearning Content.