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The Learning Success Blog

A New Way to Measure & Predict an Individual's Attention?

Posted by Peter Barnes on December 4, 2015 at 3:55 PM

Peter Barnes

To learn, you have to “attend”.

Attending does not mean you just have to show up to the class or lesson. You also must pay attention - to the teacher, to the material you are reading, or the video you are watching.

Neuroscientists have recently been putting a lot of their attention on what happens in our brains when we pay attention.

Some new research from Yale University, USA has revealed that brain connectivity patterns can predict the strength of a person’s attention.

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Topics: Attention, Brain Science

Could Too Much Sugar be Limiting Your Child's Learning Capacity?

Posted by Peter Barnes on November 27, 2015 at 12:41 PM

Peter Barnes

Have you ever asked yourself, “why do I allow my child to eat up to 30 teaspoons more sugar every day than global health guidelines”? 

Would you allow them to eat this much sugar if you knew that reducing it may help them improve their learning capacity (how well they are able to learn)? 

Australians and New Zealanders - men, women and children - eat on average about 40 teaspoons of sugar a day. The health recommendations are for no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons per day. 

How much sugar does your child actually eat everyday? It's probably much more than you think.

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Topics: Attention, Learning Capacity, Podcasts

Ruben Struggled to Read & Pay Attention – How Did Fast ForWord Help?

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 3, 2015 at 3:49 PM

Peter Barnes

Rubin was in his first year at school (kindergarten in NSW). His teachers told his mum, Lani, that he was not concentrating, he fidgeted a lot, and he could not complete his work.

He was also having great difficulty with his early reading, struggling to sound out simple sentences like "I am Tim. Tim sits."

Because his older brother Kito* had benefited from the Fast ForWord brain training exercises a few years ago following an audiologist's recommendation for his auditory processing disorder, Lani decided to have Ruben do the exercises as well.

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Topics: Auditory Processing Disorder, Attention, Fast ForWord

How Elaine Finally Found a Solution to Her Son's Learning Difficulties

Posted by Peter Barnes on July 6, 2015 at 11:50 AM

Peter Barnes

Elliot’s mum, Elaine had been concerned about his learning ever since he started school. Elliott is now aged 10 and in Year 5 at school.

He did not seem to be making progress with learning to read in Year 1, and by Year 3 he was having trouble with literacy concepts, particularly with comprehension. He also struggled to understand maths concepts. He found it difficult to make sense of the relationships between mathematical symbols and what he was meant to do with them.

As a primary school teacher, Elaine saw a discrepancy between her very energetic, able, motivated, and clever-in-many-different-areas little boy, and his lack of learning progress at school. He needed a lot of help to grasp simple concepts in reading and maths.

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Topics: Auditory Processing Disorder, Attention, Learning Difficulties, Comprehension, Maths, Learning Capacity Success Stories, Podcasts

What's the Latest in Neuroscience, Working Memory, Attention & Autism?

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 19, 2015 at 2:38 PM

Peter Barnes

At a recent neuroscience conference in the USA, I heard Dr Martha Burns give a wide-ranging talk summarising the latest neuroscience research about learning and learning disorders. She related the latest research findings to how the Fast ForWord & Reading Assistant programs improve language skills, reading and learning capacity for many children.

Dr Burns is a neuroscientist, author of over 100 journal articles and multiple books, and a leading expert on how children learn.  Her talk covered topics including autism, attention & listening skills, working memory, self-regulation & cognitive control, dyslexia, intelligent tutoring systems, the neuroscience of learning, goal setting, and what's next for neuroscience. 

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Topics: Attention, Latest Research, Dyslexia, Memory, Autism, Confidence & Resilience, Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity

Can Playing Music Help Develop Working Memory and Improve Attention?

Posted by Peter Barnes on January 9, 2015 at 4:21 PM

Peter Barnes

Interesting new research from the University of Vermont, USA suggests that children who learn a musical instrument may be improving their brains in ways that help them well beyond their music lesson or practice.

Learning music might help children to:

  • Improve their attention
  • Enhance their working memory
  • Develop better organisation and planning skills
  • Control their emotions
  • Reduce anxiety
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Topics: Attention, Memory, Music

Use it or Lose it? – Why the benefits of Fast ForWord are long lasting

Posted by Peter Barnes on June 18, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Peter Barnes

Does a child need to keep doing Fast ForWord exercises to continue to get the benefit of the brain training?

No, children don’t have to keep doing the exercises to maintain their improvements in learning reading and self confidence. The benefits of Fast ForWord are long lasting after the exercises are completed.

Research, and reports, from parents and teachers of children who have completed the Fast ForWord program, confirm that the gains made from the exercises are permanent.

Children typically complete the Fast ForWord programs appropriate for their age and development in 3 – 5 months. During this time they work on exercises that strengthen the cognitive and language skills that are essential for learning and reading.

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Topics: Attention, Memory, Fast ForWord

A round peg for a round hole: the power of individualised learning solutions

Posted by Dr Corinna Klupiec on June 5, 2014 at 11:04 AM

Dr Corinna Klupiec

I recently came across the story of a primary school aged child who was experiencing a mental road block with subtraction. The child was otherwise reasonably comfortable with maths, but complained that what the teacher said about subtraction made no sense and that, as a result, they pretty much chatted with their friends instead of paying further attention. This may have appeared to the teacher as a lack of interest and inability to concentrate. To the parents though, knowing their child as they do, the coded message was different. It meant, "I want to understand this, and I am frustrated that I can't, so I need to make light of the fact that I tuned out of the lesson".

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Topics: Attention, Comprehension

Designing educational resources: keeping the learner in mind

Posted by Dr Corinna Klupiec on May 6, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Dr Corinna Klupiec

Have you ever been reading a textbook and found that a figure referred to in the text is located over the page? Which means you need to interrupt your train of thought to go looking for the figure, then reintegrate the information into what you were reading a moment ago. This is an example of "split-attention effect", whereby learners are required to divide their attention between two related pieces of information. The result is an increase in extrinsic cognitive load (see post 14/4/14). In other words, the way the information is presented is making you work just that little bit harder to understand the information itself. This in turn puts that little bit more pressure on your working memory, making it harder to commit the information to your long term memory.

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Topics: Attention

Using multiple screens. Do I have your attention?

Posted by Colin Klupiec on April 8, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Colin Klupiec

How many screens have you got in the house? How many do you watch at the same time? It wouldn’t be surprising if you had to sit back and think about that for a minute or two. It’s not like the old days where you’d be lucky to have one TV in the house and you’d gather around to watch a special show with the whole family. The average family collection of devices would probably include a desktop computer, a laptop or two, a tablet or two, and almost certainly a smart phone for everyone. And that doesn’t include the televisions. It could be up to 10 screens per household.

Do you ever use more than one at a time? Have you considered the effects on your attention?

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Topics: Attention

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