Best Practices in Brain Training

Training Design Paradigm

Posted by on Dec 7, 2013 in Blog, Best Practices in Brain Training

This entry is part 1 of 17 in the series Best Practices in Brain Training

The design of several of the recent brain training interventions developed for commercialization was patterned after a variety of standard psychological tests. The assumption made is that an individual will acquire a particular cognitive skill if s/he is asked to perform small training tasks: “which are highly similar in content and structure with test used on psychological assessment scales” (Green & Bavelier, 2008, p. 7). This training design paradigm was successfully used by (Chinien, C., Boutin, F., Letteri, 1997). The researchers conducted an in-depth investigation of standardized tests for assessing seven cognitive skills that contribute to effective learning:  analytical, focus, reflective, narrow, complex, sharpener and tolerant, and used their distinctive features and special attributes to design cognitive style augmentation training programs for each of these dimensions.  

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Key Success Factors

Posted by on Dec 7, 2013 in Blog, Best Practices in Brain Training

This entry is part 2 of 17 in the series Best Practices in Brain Training

Learning tasks that can effectively stimulate the brain and promote neuroplasticity and neurogenesis must meet one or more of the following conditions:

  • The performance task should involve one or more senses in a novel context;
  • To jump-start the brain, the performance task must be meaningful, unusual, fun, surprising and should emotionally engage learners; and
  • The performance task should structure a routine activity in a novel and unexpected way (Katz & Rubin, 1999, p. 34)
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Effects of Task Variability

Posted by on Dec 7, 2013 in Blog, Best Practices in Brain Training

This entry is part 3 of 17 in the series Best Practices in Brain Training

It is difficult to determine the correct level of task variability to achieve optimal training results. There is however some evidence-based information that can be used to facilitate the decision-making process: “variability in learning experience will result in less extensive learning during the acquisition phase but larger transfer to new tasks during the retention phase” (Green & Bavelier, 2008, p. 8). Research also indicates that: “low input variability induced learning at levels of representation that are specific to the items being learned, which are too rigid to generalize to new stimuli. High variability is crucial in ensuring that the newly learned informative fragments be at levels of representation that can flexibly recombine” (Green & Bavelier, 2008, p. 11)

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Effects of Task Difficulty

Posted by on Dec 7, 2013 in Blog, Best Practices in Brain Training

This entry is part 4 of 17 in the series Best Practices in Brain Training

Best practice derived from the video game industry suggests that progressive increment of the level of task difficulty is beneficial to achieve mastery level. However, advancing from one level to the other must be conditional on the mastery of subordinate levels (Green & Bavelier, 2008). Additionally, tasks requiring lower cognitive demands will result in less generalizability of learning than more demanding ones (Green & Bavelier, 2008).

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Effects of Stress

Posted by on Dec 7, 2013 in Blog, Best Practices in Brain Training

This entry is part 5 of 17 in the series Best Practices in Brain Training

In modern society, people have to cope with an increasing amount of personal, family and employment demands. As a result, stress has become a fact of life. Although a high stress level can be debilitating as it narrows the focus, a mild stress level can be useful for learning as it keeps the brain alert, promotes neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, and the brain needs some stress in order to remember important events and situations.

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