Learn more about the Brain

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I have to take the chance to recommend two completely different books about the brain that you can learn much from.

The first one is the book “My Stroke of Insight” written by Jill Bolte Taylor. She is a brain scientist that at age 38 has a stroke and the book are about her experience of claiming her life back by training her brain to make new connections to her memory, and between the right and left hemisphere. It is easy to read and indeed interesting.

The other book is “Why men don’t listen and Women can’t read maps” by Allan and Barbara Pease. It is written as a relationship book, but they have looked into all research they could find about the brain. The result is interesting since it shows that men’s and women’s brain are different. Something we should take in account when it comes to teaching.


The Brain and Learning

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This week’s assignment is concerning the brain and how it processes information. That mean, how do we learn things, what happen in the brain?

One interesting article about that is written by Dr Bruce Perry – How the Brain Learns Best. You can find the article here: http://teacher.scholastic.com/professional/bruceperry/brainlearns.htm

He is talking about the fact that our brain needs constantly new impulses or the learning stops.  That means we cannot be talking to long about for example facts. After eight minutes the brain starts thinking of something else unless we somehow get other parts of the brain to tune in. What we need to mix is the fact with context and concepts and then we add some emotions to that. If we get this situation in the classroom of students have a better chance to remember what we taught them.

This is something I recognize when I go to my dance course (line dance), where many parts of my brain has to work; step combination (facts and concepts), music (context) and laughter when you try it (emotion). Compare that with learning the name of my students. I see them and here their names (facts) and that are all. I will remember very little of that. But when I take picture, talking to them to find out more about them and study the picture and name and then repeat I have a bigger chance to remember. But the dance I remember after one evening, the students name after some weeks.

The fact that emotions have a big part of learning is interesting and something students need to understand. A fun and easy explanation of how the brain works and what you can do to help it learn better is in this YouTube-film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgLYkV689s4
Eat healthy, drink water, exercise, sleep and use many senses (listen, look and touch) and you will learn more and remember better. Something all mothers always told us growing up.

Interesting blogs and sites

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The first assignment in the course (besides making the blog) is to find other sites or blogs relevant to the field of instructional design. Did some searching and reading and found these sites that I think are interesting and useful.

Cathy Moore – ideas for instructional design and elearning

You find her blog her: http://blog.cathy-moore.com/

Even though she’s not a frequent blogger (last post is from May 2012) I got new ideas directly when it comes to quizzes. How to use them as scenarios and get the students to think of the problem in a real situation. She also has different elearning examples that I will take a closer look at. Examples of interaction, more about scenarios and other sites with even more examples.


The rapid E-learning Blog – Practical real-world tips for e-learning success – http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/instructional-design/

I have to admit that the first reason to look closer to this blog is because of the design of it. As a web design teacher I like it. When I started to read some of the posts I also find a lot of good hands-on examples for not only how to think around elearning but also simple tutorials how to do use technology for it.


Instructional Design and Development Blog


This is a blog maintained by the Faculty Instructional Technology Services department at DePaul University, meaning that it is a group of people writing posts in this blog. They share their thoughts around their work. It is interesting since it is a mix of ideas, examples and questions around the work to think more of.


Kineo is a e-learning service company, but on their site there is this page with elearning-tips where they add a new tip every month (right now there is 70 tips there). The link to the site is


I have started from the beginning with tip 1 and will read through them all even though it will take time. But I think there are some of the tips that will be useful for me as an ID. The cool thing is that they have an app for Iphone with tips. Good thing when you’re waiting somewhere to read the tip of the day.


The Elearning coach – tips and reviews for success with online and mobile learning


This site is not a blog but different articles written by Connie Malamed who is sharing her experience in the field of online learning and instructional design. There is a lot on this site – articles of elearning design, media, mobile and cognition just to mention some of it. That mean that there is a lot to learn.


I will also mention a site that I have followed during a couple of years now. It is a site written in Swedish but since the author is a Scottish it is possible to get the site translated to English. The site is called Flexspan – News and trends in Web based traininghttp://flexspan.blogspot.se/

The author Alistair Creelman is working with net-based learning and follow different blogs and on this site he lift up interesting things he read about, things that are the latest trend. It is always good to have an idea of what might be a new way of teaching, a new tool or technique.

To start a blog


To start a blog is easy! Not!

First you have to decide what blog tool to use. There are a lot on the Internet, and you want one that is free to use and easy to learn to use.

When that is done you then have to decide a theme, and there is usually many to choose between. Many different design and layouts and even when you choose one you can change it to fit you even better.

And then comes the problematic part of naming your blog. A catching name that also says something of what the blog is about.

And then finally you can start blogging and for some that is easy, just write about nothing, anything or the special thing the blog is about.

I have to write this blog because of it is part of the course I’m reading. It is a course about Learning Theories that is part of the Master program Instructional Design and Technology. So my posting will reflect the different assignment in that course, but perhaps I will think it was so fun that I continue even after the course.