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The Learning Success Blog

Peter Barnes

Peter Barnes has diverse background and experience that ranges from adult education & training in a human resources context, through learning & business innovation, to the leadership of large organisations. He has also worked in finance journalism, accountancy, and digital marketing.

Peter has been involved with the LearnFast Group since 2003, when he joined his wife, Devon, to help her manage the growth in the numbers of schools and individuals using LearnFast’s educational software programs to address language and literacy challenges for learners of all ages.

Peter is a passionate snow skier and has a wide range of interests – from mirror neurons, to American politics (and many others!). Peter has a vision for improving the education of future generations through the innovative and creative use of emerging technologies.

Recent Posts

Learn New Skills Faster by Taking Short Breaks

Posted by Peter Barnes on June 11, 2021 at 1:22 PM

Peter Barnes

It is fairly well understood that a good night’s sleep helps us learn better.

Now scientists have discovered people who take short breaks while learning a new skill make more gains than after a night's sleep.

In a Study at the USA National Institutes of Health 33 right-handed volunteers were shown a five-digit code "41234" on a screen and asked to type it out with their left hands as many times as possible for 10 seconds and then take a 10 second break. Subjects were asked to repeat this cycle of alternating practice and rest sessions a total of 35 times.

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Topics: Latest Research, Memory, Learning

Why Would You Send Your Child to Boarding School, If You Could?

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 31, 2021 at 10:24 AM

Peter Barnes

Only a very small percentage of the worldwide student population attends a boarding school.

I spent the last four years of secondary school as a “boarding student” because my family lived in country Queensland, and there was no high school nearby.  

Living away from family, sleeping in the dormitory with 30 other kids, and eating what I and my fellow students deemed totally unsatisfactory food was, in retrospect, not too bad. Not too good either, especially in my senior year when the school started to feel a little like a detention centre.

I imagine the quality of the accommodation and food has improved in the decades since I was a boarding school student. At least I hope so!

Nowadays some city parents choose to send their son or daughter to board at a school in the same city because they can afford to do so. 

Would you send your child to a boarding school if you could? What do you know about boarding schools?

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Topics: School

New Insights About the Autistic Brain Confirm Fast ForWord Helps

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 2, 2021 at 11:28 AM

Peter Barnes

People with autism may simultaneously have too much connectivity in some parts of their brain and poor connectivity in other parts, according to new research from Carnegie Mellon University, USA, published in Nature Neuroscience in January 2015.

The research compared brain scans from a group of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and brain scans of a control group with normally developing brains.  The resting brains of the control group looked very similar to each other whereas the scans of the brains in the autistic group were all different. They showed unique patterns of connectivity, different patterns of excess or poor connectivity in each brain.

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Topics: Autism

Building Student Learning Capacity - The Missing Link in Education

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 6, 2020 at 10:43 AM

Peter Barnes

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if all the students you teach would pay attention and more easily “get” what you are teaching them?

That’s impossible, you might say. Perhaps it is, but it’s not impossible to improve the attention and ability to learn for every one of your students. Listen to this podcast “Student Learning Capacity – The Missing Link in Education” to find out how.

Welcome to the concept of being able to change the learning capacity of students

How often do some of your students:

  • Find it hard to pay attention to your teaching?

  • Struggle to remember what you taught?

  • Seem to be unable to keep up with the pace of your instructions or the classroom discussions?

How much more could you enjoy teaching if these were less of an issue?

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Topics: Learning Capacity, Arrowsmith program, For Principals

8 months language & literacy gains in 2 months: gold standard research study

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 22, 2020 at 3:21 PM

Peter Barnes

Can you get your struggling students to achieve 4 times the reading growth you would normally expect from 2 months of teaching?

One group of primary and early high school students did last year.

Read how in the article below, reproduced from The Science of Learning Blog.

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Topics: Learning Capacity Success Stories, Fast ForWord123

Coroni Village: How 4 Kids are Coping Differently with School-at-Home

Posted by Peter Barnes on April 9, 2020 at 11:49 AM

Peter Barnes

Coroni Village.  That’s what my 5 year old granddaughter calls the world outside her family’s Sydney apartment, where they have been confined since the COVID-19 shutdown started.

I have no idea how she came up with that expression. No doubt it has to do with the number of times she has heard about Coronavirus. Both she and her older sister are doing school-at-home. So are their two cousins. 

“School-at-home” is a better description than “home schooling” for the situation most students are in now, with their schools shut or their parents deciding to keep them at home. That’s because “home schooling” is a deliberate choice by parents who take on the role of teachers. The “school-at-home” parents did not make that choice.

The vast majority of parents managing “school-at-home” are not teachers. They have no teaching expertise and are feeling uncomfortable being thrust into this role, even with the best remote learning support and resources from their kids’ schools. Plus, many parents are doing their regular work at home as well.

That sounds pretty tough – for the parents and the kids.

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Topics: School, Learning, Teaching

Out-of-School Learning Business - Rewards & Challenges: Monique Peters

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 8, 2020 at 9:40 AM

Peter Barnes

Monique Peters is a mother of a child with learning difficulties.

Her efforts to help him opened up a new world for her. A world of learning specialists, educators, tutors, neuroscientists, support groups and other parents desperate for a solution for their own learning disabled child.

Monique saw a need that was not being met from the range of existing services for families like hers.  So she established an out-of-school learning business to support parents like her and children like her son. It's called Brainwise Learning.

This is Monique's story.

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Topics: Podcasts

Poor Brain Connections Key Factor in Learning & Cognitive Difficulties

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 7, 2020 at 3:49 PM

Peter Barnes

New research from the University of Cambridge (UK) has confirmed that severe learning and cognitive difficulties are the result of poor connectivity between parts of the brain, and do not arise from specific brain regions, as some scientists previously thought.

Children who are struggling at school sometimes receive a formal diagnosis of a specific learning difficulty or disability. The diagnosis may be dyslexia, dyscalculia, developmental language disorder, ADHD, dyspraxia, or autism spectrum disorder, or a combination of these.

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How to Get 7 Months Reading Gains in 7 Weeks

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 7, 2020 at 3:48 PM

Peter Barnes

One of the largest school systems in the USA state of Alabama achieved average reading level gains of seven months in only 35 days. Students in 17 primary schools used a systemic, research-proven approach to reading intervention that developed cognitive skills essential to reading and learning.

“We felt that helping students with skills like memory, attention, and processing would be beneficial to their learning in any subject and have a greater impact on achievement. Our data so far has supported that belief, ” says Tim Solley, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Academic Accountability.

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What is Fast ForWord123?

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 2, 2020 at 1:55 PM

Peter Barnes

Fast ForWord123 (FFW123) is a unique 3 step, evidence-based method for increasing students’ capacity to learn. It is a powerfully effective and scientifically validated method for improving learning outcomes where English is the language of instruction.

This method blends the best of education technology with empathetic support of human factors and motivation from the “reward economy”.

It builds cognitive skills essential for learning, and simultaneously improves the four components for learning-in-the-English-language: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Scientists built & evolved FFW123 on 45 years of research

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Topics: Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity, Fast ForWord123

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