How do educators sort through the hype surrounding brain-based "neuroscience" learning programs?
Parents and educators have been seeing the benefits for students using well designed, research based brain training programs to improve their learning capacity. This has led more and more distributors of educational products to jump on the bandwagon and promote their products as "neuroscience based".
So if you have been noticing more advertisments, emails and other promotions using the terms "neuroscience" and "brain-based" as a basis for their products, how do you know what are valid claims and what is simple opportunistic use of these labels?
Fortunately, a recent article on the learning & teaching site, ascd.org, lists 5 ingredients essential for quality neuroscience based programs. They are:
- Both high & low level tasks are included
High level tasks require a high degree of speed and accuracy. Low level tasks work on the ability to perceive similar sounds or images.
- Exercises must continuously adapt to the student's ability
So the degree of challenge is just right, not too hard that it discourages the student, and not so easy that they become bored.
- Highly intensive training
This means the student is required to do hundreds or thousands of repetitions on a daily (or multiple times per week) basis.
- Attention grabbing
The exercises must grab and hold the student's attention
- Timely rewards
Feedback (was the student correct or not) and rewards must be provided immediately the training task is completed, not at the end of a block of trials or the end of the training session.