Sunday, September 28, 2008

Brain Based Learning

I read an interesting article titled "Behavioral, Cognitive, or Brain Based Learning" by Paul G. Whitmore and it gave me a whole new perspective in analyzing performance problems. The article discusses how when you are conducting an analysis, not only do you want to look at how the task is completed, but you also want to analyze what the audience is thinking while they are completing the task. What is going through their head while they are getting the job done? What mental cues help them complete the task without error? How does the audience mentally process how the task needs to be completed?

This opened my eyes to some things that I may be missing in performance analysis. I always conduct a thorough task analysis but I have never taken the audiences thoughts into consideration. By taking "Brain Based Learning" into consideration during the performance analysis, it is likely there may be unexpected outcomes discovered.

This "Brain Based Learning" approach highlights the importance of experiencing the performance first hand. Without completing the performance yourself it can be very difficult to understand what mental cues assist in executing the task at hand. I look forward to applying this lesson in my next performance analysis.

Behavioral, Cognitive, or Brain Based Training?


Suzette said...

Hi Joe
Thanks for sharing this info. Can you elaborate on how you will apply this in your task analysis? Will you interview the subject as they are completing the task, will you give them a survey afterward with key questions?


Joe Deegan said...

Hi Suzette,
Thanks for the comment! I think that if at all possible you should complete the task yourself as part of the task analysis. When completing the task yourself you can take note of the mental cues that helped you complete the task at hand. The tough part is paying attention and making note of those mental cues. Once you become fluent at the task it can be very difficult to conceptualize how you do it. This is why it can be beneficial to lack expertise as an instructional designer. Experiencing the performance first hand as a learner gives you a different perspective then a SME will provide. Thanks again for the comment.