The Science of Games Based Learning


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20 May 2019

Science behind the Fast ForWord Products – Dr William Jenkins

When we design our products, we know that cortical change is driven through activity driven processes. And we know that frequency and intensity of a use of the product, but also frequency and intensity of the trials that a student experiences in that learning environment are critical for driving a neuro change in neuroplasticity. So, we intentionally design our products to produce high rates of trials of learning opportunities. We also know that motivation is a critical component to learning and that really the modulatory systems that come into play in neuroplasticity and in learning in general operate on the order of tens of milliseconds. By that I mean when you have a learning opportunity and a successful experience the reward associated with having a successful learning trial needs to occur within tens of milliseconds of that decision process in order to maximize the opportunity for synaptic change. So, we intentionally design our products to have a rapid rewards sequences that quickly follow a learning trials.

We don't have much in the way of motivation or fun or excitement for kids when they make a mistake or at other periods during the learning process by which we feel that design has a significant impact on the rates of learning. Some of the other things that we do is, we have the ability to track and monitor an individual student's learning performance in change with what they're exposed to on a trial by trial basis based on their performance on the previous trial. So, we're able to rapidly adapt what the child experiences, learning situation so that we're constantly tracking and moving them on to more difficult content material which again helps optimize the learning process. Because if you stay in an area where you're quite successful, it's too easy and it becomes boring. On the other hand, if you moved to rapidly into material that's too difficult or you're not successful, very frequently then it becomes too hard and becomes frustrating and you don't really optimize the opportunity for Learning and for producing brain change. So those are some of the ways in which we build on the principles of Neuroscience into all of our products. Some other things that we do is when we're designing a product we don't just take the simplest component or the most complex component we understand that most meaningful behaviors require a complex set of cognitive activities and you can work on pieces of those complex cognitive skills in isolation just like you would if you're a football player or a basketball player or a golfer you can go out and work on pieces of your game. You can lift weights to become stronger with your arms or your legs or better at potting better at hitting the ball, long-distance in driving and so on. So much like that practicing with different components that make up our more complicated skillset we build that into our exercises and products as well, so you'll work on things may be a more simple way and build up to using that same material in a more complex situation.