Online learning. It does a brain good.

Do you feel like you are being more efficient and productive when learning online? Are you maximizing your capacity to retain information? Or are you feeling the extreme opposite? Are your brain and eyes on overload from viewing everything via online?

According to recent studies, our brains love learning online. Columbia neuroscientist, Betsy Sparrow, states, “We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools”. There is no fact in denying that people today are constantly glued to their computer, Smartphone, tablet, or other electronic gadget. Although some may argue that it is a bit excessive, being one with our computer tools allows our brains to become like online memory banks. Within seconds, we can work through a problem with the help of the Internet; which in turn allows our brains to offload some information, and create more room in our brain to focus on areas of other interest.  Studies have shown that the action of “googling”, “may actually engage a greater extent of neural circuitry” than paper-based complex reasoning, states neuroscientist Gary Small. In addition, the use of emoticons can increase learning. As humans, we pick up on each and every emotional cue, even the slightest smile. Thus, the use of emoticons and avatars in programs can affect our emotional sensitivity and improve our learning capability.

Lastly, we thrive on recognition and rewards, causing the “badge” phenomenon to become a real concern for some people.  You only have to hang out with someone who uses FourSquare or take a look a Badgeville’s success to know this is true. The phenomenon replaces real rewards with virtual rewards that provide a status and reputation. Although this does not motivate everyone, virtual rewards can be seen of more worth than physical rewards to some individuals. Therefore, causing more people to be involved and participate in online learning to acquire badges.

My advice? I suggest you to continue googling and using the web for assistance to your questions and problems, you never know what new knowledge you may stumble upon! Oh and keep a look out for some cool new features coming soon to Litmos as we acknowledge the importance of rewards and incentives in online learning..

What is something new you learned this week online?