Brain-Based (Compatible) Learning
is brain-based or brain-compatible
How can brain research be integrated into the classroom?
How does brain research relate to technology integration?
Brain-based learning has been called a combination of brain science and common sense. Hart (1983) called the brain "the organ of learning." He advocated learning more about the brain in order to design effective learning environments. Caine and Caine (1991) developed twelve principles that apply what we know about the function of the brain to teaching and learning. These principles were derived from an exploration of many disciplines and are viewed as a framework for thinking about teaching methodology. Read Caine and Caine's (1994) Mind/Brain Learning Principles for the principles with brief descriptions, the longer descriptions, or to Caine's Website for a diagram. The principles are:
- The brain is a
complex adaptive system.
- The brain is a
- The search for
meaning is innate.
- The search for
meaning occurs through patterning.
- Emotions are
critical to patterning.
- Every brain
simultaneously perceives and creates parts and
- Learning involves
both focused attention and peripheral
- Learning always
involves conscious and unconscious
- We have at least
two ways of organizing memory.
- Learning is
- Complex learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibited by threat.
- Every brain is uniquely organized.
For complex learning to occur, Caine and Caine have identified three conditions:
- Relaxed alertness
- a low threat, high challenge state of
immersion - an multiple, complex, authentic
- Active processing - making meaning through experience processing
brain-compatible elements identified in the ITI
(Integrated Thematic Instruction) model designed by Susan
Kovalik include: Absence of Threat, Meaningful Content,
Choices, Movement to Enhance Learning, Enriched
Environment, Adequate Time, Collaboration, Immediate
Feedback, and Mastery (application level).
There's lots of research on Right Brain/Left Brain. Check out a great links page to get you started.
Brain-based Learning Resources
Artful Minds - This project provides theoretical information and practical applications about arts education, brain research, and technology use and integration.
Brain-Based Learning - This page provides an introduction to brain-based learning
Library - links to interesting articles
Brain Compatible Learning - This is an excellent article by Jane McGeehan on brain-compatible learning including a brief history, implications, and applications. She focuses on they key brain research findings 1) emotion is the gatekeeper to learning; 2) intelligence is a function of experience; and 3) the brain stores most effectively what is meaningful from the learner s perspective.
The Brain Lab - This page within the New Horizons website links to articles related to brain-based learning.
Brain Connection: The Brain and Learning - This website provides resources, links, and ideas for incorporating brain-compatible learning projects into your classroom.
Brain Research Concepts - This page explains six brain research concepts.
Is the Fuss About Brain Research Justified? - In this excellent article, Sousa (1998) answers tough questions about the importance of brain research in education.
Surprising Truths: The Implications of Brain Research - This article by Maria Almendarez Barron provides interesting, practical implications from brain research.
What are the most critical aspects of brain-based learning that apply to technology-rich projects? Integrate these elements into a project