The Learning Code Institute
The Learning Code 24: A Quantum Leap in Understanding How We Learn, Motivate And Change Behavior
The Learning Code-24 is the transformative key to learning
Introducing the Learning Code Checklist:
For a learning plan, educational curriculum, behavior change initiative or training program to be most effective the following questions must be answered in the affirmative.
Have you turned on the learner’s Meaning Network?
Meaning is the Holy Grail of learning. Before new information can be efficiently selected into long-term memory, it must first stimulate a group of neurological structures called the “Meaning Network.” If you do not switch on the brain structures that code for personal meaning, you cannot create the neurochemical climate that allows neurological change and profound learning to occur.
Have You Activated The Hebbian Learning Rule?
The Hebbian Synaptic Learning Rule is the basis for the 21st century neuroscientific view of how learning, memory and behavioral change take place. The “Hebb Rule” maintains that in order for learning to occur, a wide and diverse array of neurons in the brain must be activated at the same time, which produces the neurochemical changes that lead to long term memory formation (long-term potentiation).
Have you over-packed working memory with too much information?
This is the one of greatest sins of traditional learning/educational programs. Working memory has very limited space. These areas are very small, about the size of tiny thimbles in your frontal lobes. (These areas coordinate with the hippocampus in the limbic system) Most learning programs fail because they continue to pack information into working memory before evoking the process that allows this information to flow back into the learner’s long-term memory banks, which are located in the rear associative areas of the brain.
Are you preventing neurons in a learner’s brain from entering habituation?
This is the physiological process in humans and animals where a decrease in behavioral response to a stimulus occurs after repeated exposure to the stimulus over a duration of time. Habituation is the down regulation of receptor sites that make a neuron much less sensitive to environmental input. If a course is designed in a way that causes habituation in a learner’s brain, long-term potentiation (long term memory) is severely compromised.
Have you implemented a three-phase learning process?
The first phase is called Pre-Heating. This phase purposefully creates temporary potentiation in learners’ Working-Memory Structures. The next stage is called the Blast-Phase. This is when the brain is bombarded with word or experience-based information. Here large sections of the brain that hold concepts related to the topic to be remembered are activated. The third stage is called the Post-Heat Phase. This phase is specifically designed to stimulate the process that takes working-memory and converts it into the structural change that represents long-term memory formation.
Have you stimulated the Mirror Neuron System?
This system compels us to imitate certain language, behaviors, and emotions of others (positive and negative) even if we don’t want to. Activating the Mirror Neuron System is one of the fastest ways to create behavioral change in individuals and organizations. Understanding the Mirror Neuron system also sheds light on why people participate in herd behavior like riots and peace marches.
Have You Activated Concepts Before Details Are Delivered?
Have you implanted firm concept networks in learners’ brains before details are introduced? Details do not randomly float about in our brains, they must physically attach themselves to strong pre-existing neurological structures (concepts) before they can be remembered. When concept networks are activated, they trigger large amounts of glucose and oxygen, which fuels the necessary neurochemical processes that allow details to be incorporated into long-term memory.
Have you depleted the learner’s monoamine system?
(Dopamine, serotonin, neuro-epinephrine) Most traditional learning systems over-stimulate the monoamine system to such a degree that these valuable neurons become depleted. Without the correct levels of dopamine, serotonin, and neuro-epinephrine, neither working memory nor long-term memory can be efficiently formed.
Have you activated all four stages of the learning & transformation process?
Research has revealed that memory formation and behavior change donot occur in one fell swoop. In order to form lasting memories and enduring behaviors your brain must go through four distinct stages of the learning process. 1. Information 2. Action 3. Feedback 4. Incubation. Limiting learners’ exposure to less than the four stages of learning & transformation process hinders the stimulation of the correct neurotransmitters and correct brain waves at the correct times, which dramatically limits the efficiency of memory formation.
Are you designing your learning programs to help participants become Quick Adaptors?
Our research reveals that intelligence is NOT best described by our scores on tests, but by our ability to successfully adapt to the rapidly changing world around us. The entirety of human knowledge is now doubling every 13 months, so the ability to adapt is paramount! Learning & behavior change programs based on The Learning Code apply principles that help learners become Quick Adaptors not just good test takers.
Have you kept learner’s brains in focused forced-attentive wave states, called Beta, for too long a period?
Research reveals that when we are in focused attentive states, the brain produces a very specific neurochemical signature that can be measured by an EEG (electroencephalogram) machine. Beta wave forms are fast frequency, unsynchronized brain waves (13 to 30 cycles per second). When you keep a learner’s brains in these high frequency brain wave states for too long, Long-Term Potentiation is severely compromised.
Is the correct balance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators being implemented into your learning program?
Most learning systems rely too aggressively on extrinsic motivators. This creates what is called a Neurological Downshift in the learners’ brains. What this means is that the blood flow, which contains vital glucose and oxygen, shifts from the upper and frontal neocortex of the learner’s brain down to the lower more ridged limbic and reptilian brain areas. This shift in blood flow compromises working memory and affects the capacities for empathy, compassion, big-picture thinking, and planning.
Have you implanted conscious and unconscious Access Triggers into your learning program?
Access Triggers are tags which are implanted in an initial learning session, which can be reactivated in secondary follow-up learning sessions to automatically stimulate neurons to jump from temporary potentiation to long-term potentiation.
Has novelty been strategically implemented into the learning sessions?
so that neurons are pulled out of habituation, thus increasing the attention and focus of the learner? It is important that when novelty is used, that it not solely be for entertainment sake but also stimulates the learner’s Meaning Network, to be as effective as possible.
Have you implanted periodic Alpha and Theta brain wave producing sequences into your learning sessions?
To allow information in working memory to flow back into our long-term memory banks, the brain must drop into slower frequency alpha and theta brain wave states, otherwise short-term potentiation will be overused, and Long-Term Potentiation will be impeded.
Have you fired up “hot” networks in learners’ brains in order to get them to remember information that previously held no value to them?
When preexisting neural networks that code for novelty and personal meaning are turned on and firing, they become what we at the Learning Code Institute we call “hot.” Once these networks are “hot”, information that the learner has not previously valued can be wrapped into novel and meaningful stimuli so that it can more easily become a permanent part of the learners’ long-term memory structures.
Have you created a learning environment where magnesium plugs will be blown out of specific receptor sites prompting Long-Term Potentiation?
A critical element of long-term memory formation occurs when the brain’s most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter, called glutamate, floods the brain and binds to a very special receptor on neurons, called the NMDA receptor. One way to look at this process is that the magnesium plugs act like blocks to learning, holding their power in reserve until an extraordinary response is required to remember special, important, and meaningful information.
Have you implanted immediate and intense feedback into your learning programs?
The definition of feedback is any process where the result of your action serves to continually modify your future actions. The more immediate and intense the feedback from an individual’s actions, the more effective the learning; and, the converse, the lower the intensity and the longer the lag time between an action and feedback from the environment, the weaker the learning.
Have you designed your learning program to access the 11 Biological Intelligences of learners?
To ensure the survival of the human species, evolution has selected genes that produce a limited number of general brain designs. These designs provide you with a primary modality in which you prefer to learn and adapt to your world. One of the most efficient way for you to learn new information is to have it delivered to your preferred biological intelligence.
Have alpha dog genes (“follow the leader genes”) been activated in the learner?
Learning environments can be created in a way that will activate specific genes in specific brain structures in a manner that learners pay heightened attention to the presenter or teacher. Knowledge delivered by a respected Mentor that the learner believes will support his or her surviving and thriving will more quickly be logged into long-term memory, than the same knowledge delivered by someone who is not respected.
Are you reinforcing the important distinction of Learning Through Selection and Not Instruction?
Is learning being designed with the understanding that all learning and neurological change occurs through the process of selection and not instruction? From the fields of molecular biology, genetics and neuroscience we are discovering that our previously held beliefs are off the mark, we learn though a selective process not an instructive process. Any learning system that fails to embrace this scientific principle will be inefficiently designed.
Has your learning system been designed so that Optimal Learning Stress is created?
Low levels of learning stress actually help increase long-term memory formation. Yet extended or high levels of learning stress severely compromises long-term memory through the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which can severely impact neural function and impede long term potentiation.
Does your course design have the right balance of linearity and complexity?
Higher-ordered conceptual understanding comes about after the brain experiences enough new input such that its existing neural order breaks down. This neurobiological breakdown is often experienced by the learner as chaos or confusion. Yet, this mental state is the rich soil from which higher-ordered conceptual thinking can arise (our “aha” moments). But, there is a danger in introducing too much complexity too quickly. There must be a delicate balance between linearity and complexity in any training/educational program in order to create profound learning and behavioral of change.
Have you incorporated real world experience into your learning processes?
initial and secondary follow-up learning phases? Real world experience can increase the neurotransmitter activity necessary for the formation of long-term memory by as much as five hundred percent. The genes and brains of learners are pre-set by evolution to learn most effectively in real world environments. Learning programs must take advantage of this genetic predisposition in order to maximize long-term memory formation.
When just a percentage of these genes is stimulated in the correct way, they produce tens of thousands of enzymes and hundreds of neuromodulators. All this brain activation produces what is called “long-term potentiation” in your brain tissue. This, in turn, leads to the cellular and structural change that creates profound learning, motivation and behavior change.