MITili Director offers insights into neuroscience


 Dr. John Gabrieli addresses LearnLaunch attendees on Thursday at the Hynes Convention Center.

Dr. John Gabrieli, MITili Director and Grover Hermann Professor of Health Science and Technology and Cognitive Research at MIT, spoke to education professionals at the LearnLaunch Conference - Across Boundaries: From Digitizing Past Practice to Personalized Learning.

Dr. Gabrieli spoke about the need to learn from the past in order to improve the future. Throughout the 45 minute discussion, he brought up the differences in the parts of the brain and how they mature or grow at different rates. He suggested that to personalize learning, we need to clearly understand at what age or stage in life students should be introduced to certain lessons.

Dr. Gabrieli spoke about the important role the amygdala plays, an essential part of the brain that helps in the processing of memory, decision-making, and emotional reactions. He stressed that studies have shown that most people are able to retain what they've learned better when they are more emotionally attached to the material.

"Practice tests are essential for helping students learn better," Dr. Gabrieli said. Research shows that one's ability to retain knowledge increases dramatically simply by taking practice tests rather than by study alone or studying the same content repeatedly. The chart below shows the increase in retention based on the research conducted.