We do a lot of work within HR functions for clients, and a lot has to do with learning. How to motivate employees to learn, packaging learning materials, giving them a funky design spin to attract attention.
I recently watched an interesting talk given by Dr Lara Boyd, a brain researcher at the Centre for Brain Health. She was discussing what we know about the brain and how we learn which piqued my interest, given our many learning projects.
The good news, she says, is that a lot of things that we thought we knew about the brain aren’t true. The idea that after childhood your brain can’t change is nonsense, and it’s also not true that we only use parts of our brain at a given time – our brains are incredibly active even when we’re resting.
What was really eye-opening was what Lara had to say about neuroplasticity – the ability of our brain to change chemically, structurally and functionally – and how our brains change when we learn new things.
MRI scans have helped to prove that behaviour is a primary driver of change in our brains, and that this does not stop at a certain age. What we repeatedly do makes a difference to the structure and function of our brains. The more you practice something, and the more you struggle while practicing something, the greater the changes in your brain.
This means that your brain is being shaped for the better or the worse by the things that you do, and don’t do. So it’s up to you to build the brain you want. Certainly some motivational thinking!