As you might imagine I am often talking with my team and with clients about ways to design learning programs so they maximise results.

This week's discussions led me to discover a new framework which made perfect sense to me and which I am confident will help you as you go about building your own skills too.

The framework is developed by renowned neuroscientist, David Rock and is called AGES.

Here is how it works:

Attention: This one is I think obvious in the general sense, but for precise neurological reasons that I had not thought much about before.

When learning something new, we must not multi task, but rather pay attention to it. This way our hippocampus, the centre of our brain in charge of learning, knows what to focus on and we are more likely to retain what we learn.

Generation: We must take an active approach to our learning. By taking notes, doodling, asking questions and generally interacting with the material in front of us, we are creating a ‘web of memories' which radically increases the chance that our brains will remember what we were trying to learn.

I saw a stunning example of this during the week where an eight year old completed Barbara Oakley's Coursera Course that I have also completed, called Learning How To Learn.

It's excellent and this young fellow captures a couple of critical ideas rather well. Click here to watch his short video.

Emotion: If we enjoy what we are learning, or experience a strong emotional response (perhaps find something funny or even strongly disagreeable) we are more likely to remember it. The emotional response seems to alert the hippocampus that the idea is important and should be retained.

Spaced: We need to learn ideas in small pieces over time if we are to retain them. We have all completed thoroughly enjoyable whole-day workshops only to leave the ideas in the room along with the mint wrappers.

David Rock's research indicates that just like cramming at university, trying to learn everything at once is an ineffective way to get results.

Our experience with both Clarity First and our corporate programs supports this 100 percent. The results we started getting when we moved away from whole-day workshops were amazing.

I thought the Neurolinguistic Institute's article on the topic was rather good, so encourage you to read it and click through to some of the supporting research.

Have a great week,
Davina

PS – I am holding a free ‘Help and Learn' session on 25 August 2020. Click here to learn more.

This post was prepared by Davina Stanley, founder of The Clarity First Program and author of The So What Strategy.

Davina has been helping experts communicate complex ideas since joining McKinsey as a communication specialist 20+ years ago. 

She helps experts clarify their thinking so they can prepare powerful and strategic communication in any format. It might mean preparing for a difficult meeting, getting ready for a project steering committee, putting forward a business case or writing a board paper.

She bases her approach on The Minto Pyramid PrincipleⓇ combined with other powerful techniques to help experts of all kinds globally strengthen their communication skills.