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Blog - What neuroscience tells us about shaping behaviour and learning in the workplace

What neuroscience tells us about shaping behaviour and learning in the workplace

Posted by Heather McIntosh 28/01/16

ThinkingThe explosion of interest in neuroscience is helping us to understand how our brain works and as learning and development professionals, how we can shape our training interventions to organise learning in a way that draws on recent findings. 

At our recent Focal Point team development day we were very pleased to discover that many of our approaches do indeed tap into neuroscience principles and help our participants to embed skills and apply learning in the workplace – and critically, therefore, help our clients see a return on their investment in training.

Neuroscience research tells us that learning is a process and not a stand-alone event, which highlights our focus on pre and post course activity as being vital to effective learning and influencing behaviour change in the workplace.

The brain also needs space and time to absorb and reflect on new information, so creating space between learning events gives participants an opportunity to practise applying skills they have learned – increasing the chances of skills and learning being used back in the workplace.

We were also reminded how team working supports creative thinking and problem solving. The brain needs connections to work with, so creating opportunities for working collaboratively as part of a development programme aids the learning process.

The benefits and disadvantages of technology use were discussed and we identified ways in which we might continue to develop our approach in relevant ways, whilst remaining aware of the pitfalls - including how late night tablet viewing and video games, too much caffeine and not enough sleep can have a detrimental effect on our capacity to store and recall information. We all felt we could identify with that!

And whilst we can’t insist that our delegates go to bed early, we can help by ensuring our sessions are focused and stimulating and that we give people enough time to reflect and practise their skills through experiential learning in the workplace.

Oh, and did we mention how aerobic exercise enhances and protects brain function…So might we conclude that the old adage "early to bed, early to rise…" (and a brisk jog around the block!) might hold some truth after all...?

 

References CIPD reports

You may be interested in our previous blogs giving guidance on how to ensure your training and development works and drives behaviour change

Heather McIntosh
Heather McIntosh

Over the last 25 years I have gained extensive experience working with private and public sector organisations seeking to modernise and grow their business through building their managers’ capacity to deliver excellence and get the best from people. When I am not helping others with their professional development I am usually honing my French language skills and still striving to achieve a sub one-hour 10k run!

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