Improving learning with 'Brain Rules': is this new, or just common sense?

Recently I listened to an episode of the Ruby on Rails Podcast, a perennial favourite of mine.

Oddly, the subject matter of this episode doesn’t have anything directly to do with Ruby or Rails. Instead, Geoffrey Grosenbach interviews Dr John Medina, a molecular biologist who is a proponent of a learning method he terms Brain Rules. It’s fascinating: Dr Medina is an exuberant speaker, getting really excited at the prospect of sharing the findings of studies he’s conducted or reviewed. The 12 rules appear to be relatively simple to accomplish.

During my education degree, it was my experience that there is an element of common sense wrapped in technical terms about many academic theories: the most barn-door-obvious stuff can be given credence if it sounds more ‘academic’. In my opinion, Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development —something I really associate with, and keep in mind when I’m training people of any age—is an example of this. I’m sure there’s something of that in what Dr Medina is proposing.

Nonetheless, I think this is pretty neat stuff and is worthy of note for anyone involved in training, teaching or learning. I think that covers most people, really.

Have a listen to the podcast (even if you’re not a programmer!)

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