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New Intelligence eLearning

Question all clients should ask their training providers.

07 February 2014


Last year Professors Reza Shadmehr and Sandro Mussa-Ivaldi

published their amazing book Biological Learning and Control.

In the book there is a paragraph that synthesised the last

60 years of experimental work conducted around biological

learning processes . When comparing traditional learning

methods with error-based ones they said:

“In summary, these results suggest that error-driven learning

not only engaged processes that adapt with multiple timescales,

but that once practice ends and the memory is placed

in a passive state, passage of time transforms some of the

fast states into slower states that resist change when the task

again resumes and the memory is reactivated.”

In simpler words, with traditional memory based learning,

if we learn something very quickly and without practising

the learning we will generally forget that same learning very

quickly. If we learn something slowly, we will take longer to

forget it. Regardless, when we attempt to put that learning

into practice we tend to forget all of it and go back to our old

habits based on our predictions about what has worked in

the past. It seems that no matter how much we are told how

to do things, unless we attempt them and experience them

as effective or ineffective we will not truly learn from them.

Just like a 2 year old!

The work of Shadmehr and Mussa-Ivaldi and others in neuroscience

strongly supports the notion that in order to learn

something as an adult we must experience ourselves in a situation

where our old strategies don’t work. We can then apply

new strategies to the old situation and get different results.

Only by making errors and receiving feedback are we significantly

more likely to learn and retain new skills. Practising

new skills in unfamiliar or novel situations makes learning stick.


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