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Brain scientists offer medical educators tips on the neurobiology of learning
Date:3/30/2011

b>Stress: Although the consequences of stress are generally considered undesirable, there is evidence that the molecular signals associated with stress can enhance synaptic activity involved in the formation of memory. However, particularly high levels of stress can have opposite effects. The small, interactive teaching format may be judiciously employed to moderately engage the stress system.

Fatigue: Patterns of neuronal activity during sleep reinforce the day's events. Research suggests that it is important to have appropriate downtime between intense problem-solving sessions. Downtime permits consolidation away from the formal teaching process.

Multitasking: Multitasking is a distraction from learning, unless all of the tasks are relevant to the material being taught. The challenge is to integrate information from multiple sources, such as a lecture and a hand-held device.

Individual learning styles: Neural responses of different individuals vary, which is the rationale for embracing multiple learning styles to provide opportunities for all learners to be most effectively reached.

Active involvement: Doing is learning. And success at doing and learning builds confidence.

Revisiting information and concepts using multimedia: Addressing the same information using different sensory processes, such as seeing and hearing, enhances the learning process, potentially bringing more neural hardware to bear to process and store information.

The researchers recommend that medical students be taught the underlying neurobiological principles that shape their learning experiences. "By appealing not only to students' capacity to derive pleasure from learning about medicine but also to their intellectual capacity for understanding the rationale for the educational process selected real motivation can be engendered. They become more effective communicators and enhance their pati
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Contact: Susan Trulove
strulove@vt.edu
540-231-5646
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert  

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