Nuroscience of learning

brain-194932_1280We have been given three magic numbers that aid us in learning new habits,new systems and assimilating new information.The numbers are 20.40 and 66.These numbers represent the amount of times we need to repeat new systems and new learning practices for our neural pathways to connect and grow stronger.At that point the subject we are trying to learn has been learnt.This eventually leads to mastery of the subject or where the new habit and learning becomes almost automatic and second nature,like tying your shoe laces, or where the desired habit is fully formed.

If I understand this right what it implies is that if you are teaching something new to a student and after 6 ,8 or more attempts the student still doesn’t have it pinned down then perhaps, after such a short leaning period,it`s because they were never meant to learn it so quickly.Many more repetitions may be required before learning takes place.Of course there are subjects that are more easily learnt than others and the amount of repetitions needed may well be reduced because of easier learning material.

Other factors in learning also play a part such as retrieval,time and sleep.If we also consider the 10,000 hours of practice as outlined in  Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell we have a framework of practice to aim for in our chosen fields.

image courtesy of Pixabay ; Gerd Altmann

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