Brain Centred Learning: Exploring the Path

Everyone knows that the brain controls all activities in the body including learning. The goal of learning is first to remember what is taught, connect and then it can be applied. If you don’t remember and connect with the knowledge, you will likely not apply it.

I learnt recently about brain centered learning. I’m doing a lot of learning lately. Learning professionals should constantly learn. It is the first word in our title “learning”……..: so it should come first. Here are the basic principles used in brain centered learning; the focus is to ensure recall and connection so that there is real life application.
1. Use emotions: Who isn’t moved by emotions?   Emotions draw from previous experiences and allow for comparison, analysis and facilitates thinking too. When you can reach out to previous experiences, learning just got exciting.
2. Assure repetition: Think of one song you didn’t like but due to constant repetition you started singing and eventually liked. Say it, say it and say it. Repetition makes things register in our brain. How many of us sang the national anthem everyday through primary to secondary school? I’m sure you sing it by default now.
3. Make it sensory rich: You might forget what you hear but you will surely remember what you see, touch, smell and feel. Learning should be sensory rich to move information from short-term to long-term memory. Why do you think you will remember the person with the red shirt rather than the one with white? Red is sensory rich. Check out children classes; they are so colourful. The same principle applies to social media: you see, think, reply, type, watch, laugh, share and remember. All in one brain centered activity.
4. Focus: The brain needs focus and learning can only occur when there is focus. That’s why we have subjects. There is power in focus. Focus on the learning objective, subject matter or image makes a huge difference. This gives time for processing. A well-made meal takes time; our brain needs time to process. That is what focus does.
5. Creation rather than consumption: Which will you remember? What you created OR what you were read about? You will remember vividly what you created or did. Ask  someone who just made a meal and you will see that the time and actions taken allow for better recall and connection rather than the one who just consumed.
6. Build on existing knowledge: It boils down to emotions too. We connect with experiences and experiences bring about emotions whether good or bad. Who will not remember their first love? Laugh off
I think I just used brain centered learning; I summarised what I learnt.
Join me next time as we explore more on brain centered learning. It is not rocket science.
For more posts, check my blog
Happy reading


  1. Glen 4 years ago

    I like your article as it has made me think about how I create effective learning for delegates. The challenge I feel is that many trainers simply regurgitate what they’ve seen before and don’t really know how to design activities that will use your points above.
    They are often too focused on the content to really know what the learning needs to be hence the over-reliance on the old-fashioned ‘chalk and talk’ method.
    Alternatively it can be their ego getting in the way, wanting to be the cleverest person in the room (anyone who believes that clearly isn’t!).

    So what i’d love to now know is… how do you use your concepts and turn them into effective, purposeful and original training learning activities?

    • Author
      Adebayo Adekola 4 years ago

      Thanks Glen for reading. I agree that some trainers have a fixed model for designing activities and sometimes do not put into consideration that learning activities must match the expected learning outcome. Using the concepts described in my post, I adopt the approach. I try to create learning activities without PowerPoint presentation. This helps to think outside the box to develop participatory activities. I think to incorporate these concepts you need to be conscious of it when developing learning activities. I’m conscious of incorporating these elements in designing simulation, group discussions, story telling, games, e.t.c. I ask a simple question: does this activity address one of these elements in brain centered learning of building on existing knowledge? Is it focus on the subject matter? Is there a specific product after the activity? Is it sensory rich? Is there repetition embedded in it? Does it connects to my emotions and that of the participants? I think what happens is that some trainers use learning activities without asking specific questions on whether it meets the intended need. Let’s take a simple method like story telling. Two people can tell the same story and do so differently. If you want to share a story and think of the questions above, it influences the way you tell it. Remember that effective, purposeful and original learning activities come from the use of the heart with technique expertise with a focus on the specific needs. Also it is important to understand the needs. A learning activity that doesn’t meet the specific needs is useless no matter how well designed a learning activity is. Effective questioning is the best way to develop purposeful activities.

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