06 November 2006

Maximize Learning Channels

Man are given a brain and 5 senses. When teaching or learning, we should make use of all the brain and 5 senses to maximize learning, understanding and retention.

Typical form of learning is lecture. Lecturer gives a speech - that is hearing. Sometimes he uses PowerPoint slides (or draw on a white board), that is seeing. If he writes ... that is using our Left-brain. He may draw a diagram, and thereby engaging our Right-brain. He would ask questions so that we have to think of our answers and speak it out - using our mouth. Answering requires us using our brain to do processing and speaking it out engages not only our mouth but our ears to hear what we are speaking. It would be better if the Lecturer could, besides using diagram, convey his thought through action --- some motions of our hands and feet like dancing. Better still, if we could taste and smell. That would create a lasting experience.

Has anyone ever teach with all the sensory and processing channels that we have ? The answer is Yes. He is Jesus. In the Holy Communion, Jesus used the bread to represent His body. He broke the bread to show His body was broken for us. Then he passed the bread for us to touch(feel) and eat (taste). Later he took the cup of wine and told us the wine represented the His blood that was shed for us to cleanse away our sins and to seal the Covenant with us. The wine was passed to us to partake. We could taste and smell the wine, remembering what it stood for. The whole process of watching Jesus and participating in eating and drinking engage our 5 senses, body movement and brain.

Another example could be Baptism through immersion. The full immersion represents the burial and death of our old self and the pulling out of us from the water shows for our resurrection to a new life. When submerged, we can feel the water covering us and cleansing us. We cannot breath in the water and we struggle for breath. It is all an excellent learning experience that last with us for a long long time.

In summary, when we give another lecture, let's try to engage all the channels of inputs....
  1. Tell story (parables) to relate to our Brain. Story always engage our interests and we can remember them well.
  2. Use Picture and Diagrams ... Engages the Eyes and Right Brain.
  3. Use Motion & Actions to engage the body
  4. Have a object where touch/feel can be engaged.
  5. Use Taste and
  6. Smell to increase the impact.
  7. To help memory, we should perhaps have rhythm in our key summary statements so that we can sing along.
As students, we should also
  1. rephrase and write down in our own words (left brain),
  2. draw it our with diagrams (at least a mindmap using right brain),
  3. recite out what we wrote,
  4. act out what we learn, and
  5. see if we could feel,
  6. taste and
  7. smell the things that we learn if not physically, at least in our mind.