Whole brain learning, simply put, is learning using your whole brain, both the left and right sides, together. When we solve problems in our daily lives, both sides of our brains work together in synergy. The left hemisphere deals with verbal and analytical thought patterns, while the right brain handles non-verbal, intuitive thinking. Whole brain learning activities are intended to stimulate this dynamic process.
Whole brain learning for eLearning
To create an educational programme which harnesses whole brain learning, we need to appeal to both the verbal and non-verbal sides of the brain, encouraging holistic problem-solving activity. eLearning provides an array of opportunities to do this, allowing us to combine text and images in a variety of ways to deliver information in a range of formats. We can utilise audio, text and image files in traditional recorded lecture formats utilising slides, or we can create video content to demonstrate skills or introduce a personal touch. We can also aim to engage both intuitive and logical thought processes, by providing content which relates to the personal and working lives of learners, which resonates with them and provokes an emotional response.
One highly successful method of actively involving learners in activities is through gamification. Such innovations can be invaluable in engaging students in learning, encouraging the sort of problem solving activity which enables a learner to become truly invested in the process of learning, so that their behaviour can change in an ongoing, dynamic process. Digital learning platforms are ideal spaces in which enable and naturally employ and benefit from the gamification of learning any subject!
Whole Brain Thinking
Aside from the anatomical and functional distinction between the right and left brain hemispheres, Ned Herrmann has developed the Whole Brain model, describing four different ways of thinking:
A Analytical thinking, which tends to be logical and fact-based.
B Practical thinking, which is organised and sequential
C Relational thinking, with is emotional and interpersonal
D Experimental thinking, which is intuitive and integrative
Although quadrants A and B are correlated with the analytical, verbal, left hemisphere of the brain, and quadrants C and D with the intuitive right side of the brain, the model is a metaphor for the modes of thinking which different individuals prefer, rather than an anatomical description of the brain.
By presenting a range of learning activities, as many eLearning courses offer, we can appeal to a range of preferred learning modes.
eLearning is an ideal space in which a variety of learning activities and learning content modalities can be presented, allowing learners to engage in their preferred modes of learning. It is also useful for developing relatable narratives which can be woven into learning content, promoting resonance and an emotional response from learners, which allows both the intuitive right and the logical left sides of the brain to engage in problem solving and whole-brained, deeper learning. Ensure sure your courses take full advantage of the opportunities offered to engage whole brain learning and cater to a range of ‘modes of thinking’.