AdvantEdge Joy@Work Podcast:
AdvantEdge Joy@Work Podcast:

Episode · 6 years ago

LA 005: How taking a break improves future learning and leadership

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

All will be well in the morning My mum would often tell me "all will be well in the morning." For her, it was just experience and age-old wisdom. All will be well in the morning And things always were better in the morning. Somehow, all the clutter and stress and worry, while, not gone altogether, was, at least more manageable. As I slept, my brain was free to sort through the problem, process it entirely and put it in a suitable place close to a similar experience in memory. I had learned how to resolve whatever the issue was. More often than not, it didn't even need addressing anyway. How taking a break improves future learning It's akin to my mum's advice to "sleep on the problem" so that your memories can be reprocessed, consolidate and shaped for better (faster) retrieval. Taking a learning break gives your brain time and space to reprocess. A paper published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest has evaluated ten techniques for improving learning, ranging from mnemonics to highlighting and shows that taking a break in learning (or 'Distributed Practice' to give a scientific title) is more effective thanany of the other nine techniques usually believed to be better. And now there's compelling new evidence from the University of Texas at Austin, recently published in the National Academy of Sciences: that supports the idea that study breaks improve later learning. When we take a break from learning, our brain can process all the information.  But how much is the right amount for studying and how long for a break? I've been researching this for some time now and unsurprisingly; the results are inconclusive. However, there does appear to be a general reduction in the active learning time for younger people. Typically, I have found that Baby Boomers study well and learn well over a 25 minute period of almost continuous study. That is; they needed a learning consolidation break at 25 minutes. Needing a 15-minute break. Gen X'ers around 20 minutes. Needing an average 13-minute break) Gen Y drops to about 12 minutes with a 6-minute break and then: Gen iY (the iPad generation) around 4 minutes (yeap, just four minutes) with a 2-minute break.All of this in non-academic learning situations, by the way. Tested for learning retention 24 hours after the learning event and 21 days later. All of this in non-academic learning situations, by the way. Tested for learning retention 24 hours after the learning event and 21 days later. But within every group there was a range, and it would change for an individual dependent on the mode of learning. That is, was the learning in a form that they preferred (reading, video, audio, kinesthetic, etc.). Sadly (from an academic point of view) even so-called learning preferences wasn't a statistically significant factor. Our brain needs a break When we take a break from learning, our brain can process all the information. When we are learning anything, our pre-frontal cortex (PFC) is burning a lot of energy as we evaluate the information, process it and check it against working memory. Then the new information is processed, consolidated, and linked to appropriate other memories and emotions... but for this to be held in longer term memory, it appears that the PFC needs to be less active. Perhaps because the PFC is such an energy hog, and we simply need to switch our energy resources to consolidate memories (learn). So can't we just take a pill and learn better and faster? To a certain extent, we can. Glucose and oxygen - the fuel we need to burn to learn. (Caffeine can assist as well if recent research is correct.)So taking a moment, munching on candy, taking deep breaths and sipping that cup of coffee all help us learn... oh, I've just described a break So taking a moment, munching on candy, taking deep breaths and sipping that cup of coffee all help us learn... oh, I've just described a break. Better still, as my dear mum would say, "sleep on it, all will be better in the morning."

Hi, you're listening to the advantage podcast with me, John Camery. He there, and welcome to this week's podcast. This is Dr John Kemworthy and I'm going to be talking this podcast about learning faster and better. My Mum would often tell me all will be well in the morning. For her it was just experience, an aids all will be well in the morning, and things always were better in the morning. Somehow all the clutter and stress and worry, while not gone altogether, was at least more manageable. As I slept, my brain was free to sort through the problem, process it entirely and put it in a suitable place close to a similar experience in memory. I had learned how to resolve whatever the issue was, and more often than...

...not it didn't even need addressing anyway. So and then this podcast I'm going to be talking about how taking a break improves future learning, and it's akin to my mom's advice, which was essentially sleep on the problem so that your memories can be reprocessed, consolidated and shaped for better or faster retrieval. Taking a learning break gives your brain time and the space it needs to reprocess, and there's a paper published in psychological science in the public interest, and it's evaluated ten techniques for improving learning, ranging from neneumonics to highlighting, and it shows in there that taking a break in learning, or distributed practice, to give it its scientific title, is more effective than any of the other nine techniques that I usually believed to be better at consolidating and improving learning. And...

...now there's compelling new evidence from the University of Texas at Austin, recently published in the National Academy of Sciences, that supports the idea that study breaks improve later learning. See, when we take a break from learning, our brain can process all the information. But how much is the right amount for studying and how long for a break? I've been researching this for some time now and unsurprisingly, the results are inconclusive. However, there does appear to be a general reduction in the active learning time for younger people. See, typically, I found that baby boomers, my own generation, study well and learn well over a twenty five minute period of almost continuous study. That is,...

...they needed a learning consolidation break at twenty five minutes, needing a fifteen minute break. Gen X has it's around twenty minutes of intensive learning needing an average thirteen minute break. Jen Hy drops to about twelve minutes of intensive learning with a six minute break, and then Jen I, why or the IPAD generation around four minutes. Yep, just four minutes, but with only a two minute break. All of this is in a non academic learning situation. By the way, it's tested for learning retention twenty four hours after the learning event and then again twenty one days later. The importance of this is that the amount of time people can intensely study or learn he is becoming shorter, but...

...also the break time become shorter, that he's needed to help learning stop just sleeping on the problem overnight, but taking breaks on a regular basis during the learning process. Within every group that I've been studying there's been a huge range, and it would change from individual dependent on the mode of learning, that is, was the learning in a form that they preferred, whether they prefer to read, Watch video, listen to audio like a podcast, or can esthetically need to be doing things etc. Sadly, and from an academic point of view, even so called learning preferences has not been statistically significant factors in any study on learning and development in adults. What we do know, though,...

...is our brain needs a break. When we take a break from learning, our brains can process all of the information. See when we are learning anything, how prefrontal CORTEX, the PFC, just above your eyes, at your forehead area, is burning a huge amount of energy as you evaluate the information, process it and check it against working memory. Then the new information is processed, consolidated and linked to appropriate other memories and emotions. But for this to be held in longer term memory, it appears that the PFC needs to be less active, perhaps because the PFC is such an energy hog and we simply need to switch our energy resources to consolidate memories, and consolidation of...

...memories is learning. So can we just take a pill and learn better and faster? To a certain extent, yes, we can. See Glucose and oxygen is the fuel we need to burn to learn, and caffeine can assist as well, if recent research is correct. So taking a moment, munching on candy, taking deep breaths and sipping that Cup of coffee all just described a brain. So if it's a break that we need, sometimes having some glucose, certainly taking in some oxygen is helpful, because that replenishes the energy that is being burnt by the prefront of Cortex the brain as we are intensely learning. So taking a break during our learning, taking deep breaths, limited...

...of answers, will assist your learning better still. As my dear mom would say, sleep on it. All will be better in the morning. Hope you've enjoyed this brief podcast. Do let me know what you think of these podcasts if you've been listening to them on a regular basis. Let me know topics that you cover or any feedback that you've got and your testimonies about how you're using the learning. Greatly appreciate it. Just drop over to the podcast page at cells incom leave your comments in the comment area or drop it drop me in out. Thanks. Have a blessed you've been listening to the advantage...

...podcast with me, John Camera. To find out more, visit US had cells incom.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (123)