How The Brain Learns: Design Presentations That Audiences Remember

How does the brain process information and learn? If you give presentations then these tips may assist your audience to remember and retrieve information that you’ve taught. My notes were written while listening to a lecture given by Dr. Britt Andreatta¹. Her lecture is The Neuroscience of Learning.

1. Definition of Neuroscience of Learning: It is how the central nervous system & peripheral nervous system work together to create and retain new knowledge and skills.²

2. Research shows writing notes long hand or drawing pictures does better for memory retention than typing. It has something to do with the kinesthetic action of writing or drawing and the effect it has on the brain.

3. The hippocampus is divided into two halves which lie in the left and right sides of the brain. The organ is curved in shape.

4. The hippocampus is activated by the oral nerve, olfactory nerve and optic nerve when ever you focus.

5. The hippocampus is the data drive that records short-term memories and then pushes these memories into long-term memory.

6. Studies show, in a learning environment, where some people are distracted and checking their email that this impacts those who are focused. Therefore, before your talk ask people to avoid scrolling on social media or checking their emails.

7. Learn: The brain can intensely focus for 20 minutes and store information. After that it needs a break. Incorporate breaks into your lecture.

8. The brain likes to connect learning to something it already knows. Appreciative Inquiry: Ask people about an experience that they excelled at. This pulls up their successes.

9. Remember: First we learn then we remember. Five ways to do this are metacognition, word play, insight, social and music.

• Metacognition: awareness of one’s own learning. [In the course people were thinking of how they learn]

• Word play: Acronyms: What acronym can your audience come up with that helps them remember and recall what you are presenting?

• Insight: People gain more insight when they do their own research then when they are given all the information.

• Social connection. People learn better in groups.

• Music touches many areas of the brain. Find a way to incorporate music into their learning. [This is one of my insights. I would have people come up with acronyms put to their favorite song and share it with the group]

• Feelings: You are shooting for rewarding, slightly positive feelings.

• Retrieval: People retain better if they have a review of the information that they learned. They retrieve information better after sleeping. Sleep re-activates the circuits of what they have learned. The last hour of sleep is the most important. In the course they suggest waking up naturally.

10. Do: The trigger needs to be:

• Something observable that you can hear or see.

• Baby steps.

• The reward needs to be meaningful.

Things that you may include in your presentation:

• Games/playfulness

• Sharing with others

• Insights/”AHA” moments

• Quiz

• Light competition

• Bring gratitude, mindfulness and humor into your presentation.

Hopefully, some of these tips have resonated with you. Wishing you great success with all of your presentations!

1. Dr. Britt Andreatta is the Director of Learning and Development at Lynda.com

It Takes Courage To Become Who You Really Are

It takes courage to become who you really are because it means turning into the person you know deep in your heart that you should be. Change takes audacity and willpower. But it also implies getting rid of beliefs you have embraced and implemented from people around you over the years.

What did you really wanted to be when you were growing up? Who did you want to be? What desire does light a fire in your soul?

Most times, people think about things they want to have, who they need to be, and how they would like others to perceive them. But they often let go of the dreams they truly desire and forget to reflect on how to be remembered. Time after time, they identify with memories, holding onto the past, assuming these things are defining who they are.

Yet, it takes an immense amount of courage actually to be who you really are. It is not easy to abandon beliefs and convictions which through the years, you adopted from your parents, relatives, friends, teachers, coaches, mentors, and spouse. And yes, it takes courage and work to let go of those things. But now is the time to take a stand for who you are deep inside, and the things you really believe in.

Examine Your Beliefs
Currently, you have a set of beliefs and assumptions, some of which you accepted way back in your early childhood and defended ever since. Once acquired and imprinted, you rarely question these beliefs. You naturally assume that they are all true.

If, for example, you believe that it is hard to make money; well then, it is difficult to make money. Most people often doubt and analyze almost every aspect of their lives, but their beliefs are the last thing they challenge. It takes courage to change things around.

So, if you have problems in some areas of your life, you need to examine all of your beliefs. If you have financial difficulties, look carefully at your principles about money. You have to pay attention to negative statements or views such as “I never have enough money” or “It is impossible to get ahead.” Your beliefs get lodged deeply into your subconscious which continually works at creating your reality.

Making Changes Takes Courage
You have to adopt new life-believing principles, living and thinking differently. If your subconscious is picking up negativity or limiting suggestions too often, then it will accept them as real. It will work with those beliefs, day and night, until ultimately, bringing the corresponding events you hold in your mind.

When you accept limitations about yourself, then you believe that they are real until you find out otherwise. Your mind, convinced, will magnify any incidents that support your view, and will ignore or dismiss events which point to the opposite. It will distort your perception of reality and work overtime to manifest those realities.

So, it takes courage and determination to make changes and be who you really want to be. But if you change your beliefs, you change your focus, and in time it will create a new reality. No one said it would be easy. New thoughts and views are tough to imprint but not impossible.

New Thoughts New Reality
While trying to create new beliefs, you might doubt things are changing. You may feel discouraged and wonder if you are wasting your time. Your mind will try to fool you by telling you that it won’t work or that nothing will happen.

However, push all of it aside, continue to feed your mind with the beliefs you want, and be patient. It takes courage to become who you really are. Everything in existence is changing. Nothing remains the same. Your circumstances are forever changing and becoming something else.

So, how could your new thoughts, if you persist in believing and imprinting them, do anything but bring you a new reality? Think about it! Let go of the wrong beliefs you have. Ask yourself about the things you want out of life and become your true self.

It Takes Courage to Let Go
Too often, you get attached to things and people, as if they are a part of you. Then you wonder why you feel somehow broken when a relationship ends or something changes. But those things are not who you are. You are not who you were in the past. And you are not the person some people judge you to be.

Therefore, who you are is the result of what you choose to think and do. It takes courage to let go, grow, and change into the person that you really are, without all of the fuss around you. The word ‘courage’ is French, and its true meaning is ‘heart.’

And so, this why you have to follow your heart to become the person you know deep inside you came here to be. In that way, you will manifest the life you honestly dream to have. You can then have a life where everything you experience is yours and only yours.

How to Get More Courage
In every one of you, since childhood, there is a built-in desire that pushes you to want to explore the untapped potential which lies within you. But most of the time, you are afraid to become who you really are. You do not know how to get the courage to find out what you can be. Yet, if you do not, you will end up working really hard for someone who does.

So, find the courage to do the right thing by choosing for you, and not someone else. You do not deserve to live a stressful life oriented or forced by others around you. Choose based on who you want to be, and then honor that choice with your actions. Let go of what others may think!

And let go of people telling you just to be satisfied with what you have or where you are. You know you have the ability to do and be so much more. However, if you allow yourself to grow, take courage because along your journey, you might doubt your willpower to succeed and the impact you can make.

Courage in Action
As a result, you may have hundreds of other reasons as to why your growth is being obstructed in some areas of your life. But you can change the script of your life by getting more courage and become who you really are. Courage in action pays off!

So, if you want to be you truly, be happy with every fiber of your being, and become your real self, you have to get a life that makes your heart sing and fills your cup with joy every day. Only then, will you find happiness and purpose in life! It takes courage to do some inner work so that you can grow to become who you really are. But you deserve to live life with authenticity, every single day.

Well-Being: Sense of Possession and Sense of Expectation

Sometimes I feel that I am a prisoner in a cage that is made of time and space. For, no matter how hard I try to escape or surpass any of these, even in my dreams, it keeps coming back to me. The cage has two other elements. One of these (other elements) are the things that belongs to us in our thinking or belief, while the other one is our Sense of Expectation.

Most of us tend to get caught between past and future. Things that we bought or received as gifts from our friends, families, and loved ones eventually imprint on us such impression that they should remain with us to our death, that we should and must never leave them or part with them. On the other hand, future – that exists only in our imagination – brings with it a ‘bundle of expectations’, the bundle being different for each individual. Amid all these ‘things from the past’ and ‘future expectations’, we forget to live in the present.

Replacing old possessions, while getting rid of possessions that are useless, unusable (i.e. damaged or otherwise unusable) or/and no longer in use goes a long way towards freeing oneself from the sense of possession. For, this would make one realize the fact that “nothing is mine forever”, which, in turn, would give an individual a certain degree of “sense of freedom” from things one possess.

However, It is incredibly difficult, sometimes seemingly impossible, to give up expectations. Expectation generally means looking forward to something to happen in one’s favor or to one’s liking or one is looking forward to someone to do something for him in his favor or to his liking or to satisfy his desire. Our expectations regarding anything, whatsoever, should be based on the present and actual state of affairs, pertaining to that particular thing. When one begins to do things instead of thinking; begins to act instead of imagining, one is eventually able to get over his Sense of Expectation. More often than not, thinking and imagining results in baseless assumptions.

Anger is usually caused by expectation; greater the expectation, greater would be the intensity of anger, caused by the former (zero-expectation would flatten any possibility of getting angry). Therefore, by putting a rein on our expectation, we can actually control our anger or, at least, keep it at a manageable level.

If we focus on our expectations all the time, chances are that we will eventually be someone who keeps only those relationships that pleases her. If we keep persisting along this line, there will be a time when we will become entirely self-centered human beings, who are absolutely insensitive to other people’s feelings or problems or their particular situations or conditions.

Consequentially, our relationships with others may turn out to be very fragile, like a glass that is in the danger of breaking at the slightest fall; volatile; and short-lived. Every now and then we will have break-ups with people, simply because they fail to stand up to our expectations and don’t seem pleasing in our eyes anymore. Well, accepting a person in his entirety; that is to say, in his “whole being”, and not as a ‘fragment of himself’ could, ultimately, be rewarding.

Instead of severing relationships with others, we may want to do just the opposite: making an effort to reestablish relationships with those, who have broken relationships with us. We need to have a heart as wide and vast as an ocean that is so deep that every unpleasant and disagreeable things are drowned and disappeared in it forever.

Nothing is unexpected and anything and everything is possible. Therefore, we need infinite mental flexibility and openness so as to accommodate whatever may come in our way. This is to say that, we must and should not have any preconceived idea or, in other words, expectation regarding anything or anybody.

This could, possibly, be related to our idea concerning “being in the present”. To be in the present is to possess an absolutely flexible and open mind that can be molded, shaped, and reshaped in a positive way in response to the present reflexes. Mental flexibility or receptivity as such can save relationships for us or help us to overcome and get-over an unpleasant or/and disagreeable situation.