Doctors, psychologists, and theorists of all kinds have explored the physical brain for insights into the learning process for as long as there have been tools to study the brain, for obvious reasons. This field of study, neuroscience, has grown over the years. Recent studies have successfully analyzed basic physiological functions of learning. Currently, the insights gained from neuroscience, such as the existence of artistic / logical halves of the brain, are not yet directly applicable to creating instruction (“Right-brain” instruction, for example, is less significant of a tactic when we understand that both sides of the brain are always working at the same time.) (Omrod, Schunk, Greedler, 2009.)
Regardless, the field of neuroscience is worth keeping an eye on, as more discoveries will undoubtedly be made. Let’s take a look at two sites devoted to this subject:
This web source contains a wealth of resources devoted to brain function as relates to learning, written by professionals in the field. Clicking the link will lead you to an article by Dr. Pascale Michelon that explores the adaptability, or plasticity, of the brain – how it changes to suit major new stimuli throughout life. The article is rooted in scholarly ideas and references, and is furthermore linked to 15 other articles on neuroplasticity which were rated highly by Sharp Brains. The site is constantly updated with new articles and ideas that reflect the same organization, often linking to other related articles of interest. For a free resource, Sharp Brains seems to be a consistent gateway into fresh ideas in the field of applied neuroscience.
When doing research on new ideas and theories for instructional design, it always helps to ask, “How does this information apply to creating training materials? Will my design profess profit from this idea?” Sources devoted purely to neuroscience like this one here cater to brain specialists, with articles and journal entries that are written at a high level with lots of scientific jargon. Furthermore, a generalized neuroscience source like this requires more targeted searching, which means more time and energy spent. Stick to specialized sites like the first for a more targeted experience.
Ormrod, J., Schunk, D., & Gredler, M. (2009). Learning theories and instruction (Laureate custom edition). New York: Pearson.