Kicking off #cipdLDShow 2018 with a thought provoking session on neuroscience for learning was Daniel Glaser, Director Science Gallery at Kings College London.
Daniel’s session gave a great overview of how the brain works in relation to learning and explained how by having an understanding of how our brain works and how this has the ability to improve our ability to learn, can in itself help us learn and change the way we perform, almost in the sense of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Daniel discussed ‘Practical Epistemology’ and how this gives us the knowledge to understand knowledge.
Daniel explained that parts of our brain give us the opportunity to learn and store information that we can recall throughout the rest of our lives, and in particular that the things we learn earlier in our lives changes the way that our brains learn, more so than the things we learn later in our lives.
Daniel also explained that emotional engagement is what makes things stick and used music as an example. The music that we each have encoded within our brains is usually emotionally connected from an earlier period in our lives. Which makes sense to me, as I always remember the rendition of R Kelly’s ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ that I sang out of tune in from of my whole school a our annual Eisteddfod when I was 13, more than most other songs I can remember. (I used to think that I could not, go o-o-on….).
Daniel went on to discuss the House of Memories, also known as the method of loci, which is the second Marvel Avengers reference of the week, with loci obviously reminding me of Loci and the house of memories being a similar theory to that of the mind palace that Dr Strange – Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes often refers to when trying to recall memory.
This technique uses visualisation and spacial memory to quickly and efficiently recall information. Daniel gave the example of needing to buy a lemon whilst shopping, so he visualised the squashing of a lemon on the floor in his Memory House, in order to make it more memorable. So memorable and not only to him in fact, that I vividly recall the need for him to do so.
Daniel continued by talking about the Blue & Black/White & Gold dress visual wonder that entertained the world for a spell in 2017 and explained how “the hypothesis you have of the story about what you are seeing, changes the way that you see it”.
Daniel’s session was fascinatingly insightful and gave a great platform for attendees at the conference, on which to build and maximise their learning for the next two days.