Why Edtech Companies Must Develop Products with Neuroscience in Mind
Technology has changed not only the way children learn, but it has also increased their capacity for learning, especially when it comes to visual learning. Digital learning, which is based largely on a combination of stimuli, is changing how the human brain works.
Still, in its infancy, the field of neuroscience has created a new understanding of how the brain works, learns and even controls the body. The neural networks within the brain are far denser than originally thought, and the implications for learning are huge.
As a result, savvy edtech companies must develop learning products aligned to neuroscience.
How the Human Brain Learns
Two important things happen in learning. The first is neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to change when responding to stimuli, and the second is neurogenesis, which occurs when the brain creates new neurons.
Educational technology companies must take both neuroplasticity and neurogenesis into consideration when designing products. Doing so means creating a change in the brain’s structure (neuroplasticity) and intensifying the neural network (neurogenesis) in preparation for expanded learning opportunities.
Digital learning from edtech products reinforces pleasurable experiences. The brain creates dopamine each time a student experiences success. Edtech products can provide instantaneous feedback that reinforces that learning success. In turn, the successes create a motivation to learn, even more, establishing a cycle of engagement, learning, and reward.
The Eyes Have It
The practice of using learning styles– the tactile, auditory, kinesthetic and visual modalities – in isolation has been debunked in recent years, thanks to newer developments in neuroscience. Researchers have discovered that using these modalities in conjunction with each other ensures better learning. Students who can see, hear and touch new concepts learn faster and remember more.
In fact, a study at Brown University revealed that video gamers can discriminate visually far better than non-gamers, and what’s more, the video gamers were also better (and quicker) in acquiring new knowledge based on visual stimuli.
Not only are today’s learners more attuned to visual stimulation and modalities supporting sight, but they are also more likely to benefit from customized curriculums that adapt and branch out based on prior foundations of learning and continued skill mastery.
The human brain is always seeking to make meaning of the world; edtech companies would do well to find ways to make sense of neuroscience as they develop their products.