Monday, January 30, 2006

Teach with Me, Not at Me

In a study of healthy young adults learning a motor skill, teaching was found to be much more effective if instruction was given from the student's point-of-view (1st person perspective) rather than the instructor's (3rd person perspective). In the 3rd person perspective, a student must 'flip' what he or she sees, and that takes more brain work as well as results in more errors. 90% of the errors resulted from the 3rd person perspective.

The study also found that asking students to imitate gestures while watching the instructional tape, resulted in much better learning and activation of of the brain's imagery areas.

In the figure below, the brain image on the left is a brain scan showing how much more imitation (vs. watching without imitation) activates the imagery areas of the brain. For comparison, we've put it beside a summary scan of pianists imagining they are playing the piano.



It's like the ancient Chinese proverb: "I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand."

Teach with Me: First-Person Learning and fMRI
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Playing Piano and Building in Our Minds
Chinese Proverb

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