Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 26

FEATURESTORY

The Goldilocks Brain

• If your training is scheduled for
more than one day, make certain
you spend the first part of each
session reviewing what was
presented the day before.
For example, in an evidence-based
medicine course, you might discuss the
idea of study validity. First, you might
offer a break after defining validity and
discussing a few examples. After the
break, ask for examples from
participants. Prior to disbanding for
the evening, review validity again,
using different types of research.
Finally, review the information the
following day prior to introducing new
material. While this might appear
redundant, your participants will enjoy
providing examples they devised
themselves, thus allowing them to
solidify the concept in their minds and
retrieve it in a variety of ways. In this
manner, they learn to respond to the
most rigorous questions their
physicians can think to ask.

Taking the Lead
Another concept revealed by recent
neuroscience experiments emphasizes
something most facilitators may have
recognized: People enjoy autonomy.
Good leaders make use of this concept
when they provide opportunities for
members of their teams to make

independent decisions. Facilitators can
design into their programs
opportunities for participants to
exercise their independence, whether
by determining how to configure a
role-playing situation rather than
having specific instructions, selecting a
topic to discuss rather than being
assigned a topic or reviewing
information in a self-designed rather
than pre-determined format.
Threats to autonomy are perceived
no differently by the brain than threats
to one’s wellbeing. It appears also the
brain is much more oriented toward
threats. As a consequence, the more
frequently a facilitator takes
responsibility for all aspects of training,
the less likely his/her participants will
engage in the training.
Conversely, the facilitator who has
thought through ways to provide
autonomy to his/her participants will
find them more attentive and
interested. Clever ways to imbed more
autonomy into your presentation
include having participants determine
“ground rules” at the outset of a
session, having them devise roleplaying situations based on their
experiences and allowing them to
determine the order of topics
addressed.

The third concept explored by
neuroscientists is the inverted-U model
of the human brain: the Goldilocks
brain. This references the fact that the
brain needs exactly the right amount of
neurochemicals to work in an optimal
manner. Too little (the left end) causes
complete disengagement; too much
(the right end) and the over-aroused
brain is expending too many resources
to flee or fight and consequently cannot
concentrate on the ideas presented in
training.
The top of the inverted-U represents
the perfectly prepared brain. As with
Goldilocks in the story of The Three
Bears, the brain likes “everything just
right.” How do facilitators assist
participants in reaching that sweet
spot? There are a number of

Good leaders provide
opportunities for
members of their teams to
make independent decisions.
techniques, like using humor (causing
the release of memory-enhancing
neurochemicals), varying activities
frequently, interspersing short lectures
with opportunities for participant
participation and incorporating
movement (changing locations, chairs,
etc.) into the training day.

Conclusion
Although not a guarantee, these
ideas can help participants to learn,
remember and utilize the information
presented in any training session.
Investigations in neuroscience provide
a roadmap for activating the millions of
neurons and billons of synaptic
pathways in our all-too-human
brains. I

Suzette Plaisance Bryan is a trainer with Pamlab. Email Suzette at sbryan@pamlab.com.

26

FOCUS | SUMMER 2013 | www.spbt.org


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Focus Magazine - Summer 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Focus Magazine - Summer 2013

Focus Magazine - Summer 2013
From the President: Why Does Innovation Matter to Training?
Contents
Guest Editor: The Importance of Training Analytics
Front of the Room: Focus on Intention
Conference Recap
Merck's Global Learning Transformation
Building a World-Class Training Organization
Neuroscience and Learning: Lighting up the Brain
iPad Training: The NFL Playbook
3D Models for Marketing Medical Devices
Tactical or Strategic?
Is Your Elevator Pitch Ready?
Virtual How
Member News
World-Class Training Pull Through
Ad Index
Focus Contacts
5 Questions: 5 Questions with ... Dan Pink
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Intro
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Focus Magazine - Summer 2013
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Cover2
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 3
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 4
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - From the President: Why Does Innovation Matter to Training?
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 6
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Contents
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 8
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 9
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 10
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Guest Editor: The Importance of Training Analytics
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 12
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Front of the Room: Focus on Intention
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Conference Recap
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 15
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 16
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Merck's Global Learning Transformation
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 18
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 19
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Building a World-Class Training Organization
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 21
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 22
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 23
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Neuroscience and Learning: Lighting up the Brain
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 25
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 26
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 27
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - iPad Training: The NFL Playbook
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 29
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 3D Models for Marketing Medical Devices
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 31
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Tactical or Strategic?
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 33
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 34
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 35
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Is Your Elevator Pitch Ready?
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 37
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Virtual How
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 39
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 40
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Member News
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - World-Class Training Pull Through
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 43
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Ad Index
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Focus Contacts
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - 5 Questions: 5 Questions with ... Dan Pink
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Cover3
Focus Magazine - Summer 2013 - Cover4
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