Directed Neural Learning is a three-phased format that is based on five pedagogical concepts that enrich participant learning. The result is faster learning, higher test scores, and longer retention of the material being taught. Conceptually, if the information taught is retained long enough and put into use, the material is learned as opposed to being used as rote stimulation to pass a test. This process is based in neuroscience. The program is designed to make use of multiple instructional 'tweaks' without competing with the overall learning process.
The instructional delivery method takes into account different learning styles, specifically addresses competition created by the typical training format that competes with the brain, and seeks to provide stimulus during the process that keeps the brain alert and well oxygenated, yet focused. The overall goal for EMS learners is to experience life-long understanding of a medical or operational procedure or process.
The DNL format is presented in three phases.
The first phase (IMPACT) provides material that is designed to imprint on the brain. It is delivered at a rapid pace. The material consists of full color graphics or minimal wordage (less than seven words per page) and is not hampered by logos, unneeded graphics or transitions between materials presented. Participants are directed to take few, if any notes. Prior to the class, participants are taught simple neurologically based techniques to maintain both alertness and focus. Many of the techniques also increase cerebral blood flow and activity. This process gives the brain what it needs to learn without the distractions inherent to many standard teaching practices. The process also ties in aspects of Cognitive Learning Theory and Human Resilience.
Brain scan of participant during 30 minute study period with 'brain breaks'. Red indicates increased cerebral activity.
Brain scan of same participant during 30 minute study period without a break.
All learning is accomplished by information entering the body through the five senses. Of these vision is most important. All visual learning comes in via the optical nerve and is channeled through the limbic system before delivery to the pre-frontal cortex. On the information's journey through the limbic system, it can be 'hijacked' by the amygdala. It is evaluated by the amygdala to determine where it fits into the concept of "fight or flight". That's right, our body sometimes sees new material, a test, or evaluation as a threat. Most of this can be alleviated by the presentation process.
In the second phase (FORTIFY) the participant is provided with a concise set of materials to review. It is suggested that the participant spend one to two hours reviewing six to eight hours of previously presented material. Each period in this phase will also include a computer administered quiz to provide feedback to the student. After all modules have been completed the participant is 'dripped' a comprehensive exam for the course and given 72 hours to complete the exam for course credit.
The third phase (RESOURCE) provides the participant with detailed information for further learning and review. This material is organized in the same manner as the overall course. Material in this section was presented verbally by the instructor in the IMPACT phase, and includes all images, video and audio clips used in the initial phase. This allows participants that find they learn best with a more traditional approach to process the material on a self-paced basis. The participant has access to the material for a minimum of one year. Participants are also given access to an audiobook of the lectures.
This process was formatted over a five year period to enhance our longer classes. Because of the improvement in participant educational outcomes, we now use the DNL process, in some part, with all live and VILT classes.