Recently I attended a webinar that violated everything we know about how participants engage, learn, process, and retain information. It consisted of a moderator interviewing two panelists by telephone. No one appeared on camera. The moderator introduced the panelists by showing their photos on the slide deck. For the next hour, each slide showed one question - no graphics - which the panelists answered. There were a total of 8 slides in what turned out to be a 50-minute session. After 45-minutes, the moderator opened the session up for questions. By the time we reached that point in the session, there were only a handful of questions posed by some thoroughly bored participants who were being good sports. (I was one of them, posing juicy questions to try to spice things up.)
Admit it. You've been to a webinar like this one, haven't you? It doesn't take much time to prepare. The moderator and presenters complete the event under the illusion that they have shared their experiences and delivered useful content. The reality is that most participants multi-task through the session and are likely to remember very little of it.
The more we capitalize on the way our learners' brains take in and process information, the better our virtual learning programs. Cognitive research confirms that to learn anything, we need contrast and comparison, stories and metaphors, moderate stress, emotional connection, visually compelling graphics, social collaboration, and the opportunity to bring our personal context to the content.
So what do we know about brain-based learning that we can use to avoid the mistakes I witnessed in that webinar? I'll be exploring that question as we focus on learning retention and application with our webinar, Achieving Maximum Retention: More Brain-based Principles for the Virtual Classroom, on Wednesday, February 21, 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT.
Here's a special heads-up for those of you who have read so far: To get you ready to participate actively, take this quick quiz (then come to the webinar to explore the content in a fun, engaging session):
1. Moving short-term memory to long-term memory occurs in which region of the brain?
- Amygdala to the neocortex
- Ventral system to the amygdala
- Hippocampus to the neocortex
- Neocortex to the ventral system
2. How many hours of repetition are required for the brain to form new synapses?
- < 1 hour
- 1 hour
- 1.5 hours
- 2 hours
- 2.5 hours
- 3 hours
- 4 hours
3. The amygdala is the brain's _______________ system?
- Physical functions
4. The ventral system is the brain's ___________ system?
- Physical functions
5. The hippocampus helps us make sense of our....
- Environment (Where am I? What's important?)
- Emotions (What am I feeling?)
- Safety (What are the threats?)
- Rewards (What will I gain?)
6. The neocortex (3/4 of the brain) helps us generalize...
- Human emotions
- Factual information
- Electrical signals
- Kinesthetic learning