4-fase Methodology ©: learning how the brain learns.

VTA’s 4-phase methodology © [1], an excellent way to avoid academic and educational exclusion.

It is a beautiful experience for the brain to learn and absorb content; however, it is a great challenge that two minds learn in a similar way.

We can see this in the classroom; we find 20 or more children and all “should” ideally learn and withhold the same amount of information. At least that is the expectation of educators who seek with their best intention that all their students learn; Nevertheless, the evidence shows otherwise. Indeed, the results shown by the acquired learning are always dissimilar, none is the same as the other, because of their individual learning processes and memorization of information.

Traditional education appeals to the standardization of processes and under this procedural logic, education is delivered under a single didactic model that does not address human individuality. This is normally a model that the teacher implements to deliver their subjects, which in turn coincides with their particular way of teaching. This is a very natural and understandable phenomenon, given that all humans tend to do and replicate what is most akin to our own nature. How could anything else be achieved, if teachers also have to juggle in order to capture the attention of their students, with poor resources and with the weight of little training in the didactic field.

The previous model promotes that those who are lucky enough to learn in a way that is compatible with the way the educator teaches, achieve good results; they get positive feedback for good grades and institutional recognition. On the other hand, others are left behind, they do not understand, they have information gaps, they lose motivation and receive negative feedback due to poor grades. Thus, getting constant reprimand from their parents. Educators feel disdain towards the “bad students”. Teachers feel constant demotivation for their job and constant frustration and as if that were not enough, also for the educational institution, which depends on a ranking to position itself.

To respond to this widespread phenomenon, in our 100% online Via Talentum Academy school, we have developed a teaching methodology that addresses the individuality of the human being, that considers the way the brain learns, and that adapts to the productive rhythms of each student. This methodology is called 4-phase.

The 4-phase Methodology© is made up of: introduction to the subjects with motivating videos, delivery of the theoretical contents in written form, the same subject is approached with different interactive games and finally, the closing up is developed through an entirely written practical exercise.

You may ask why the 4-phase methodology is structured in this way. Mainly to involve the brain and to achieve that in 4 different ways the student explores, learns, acquires content and feels motivated in the process. Let’s see why:

  • In the videos, the logic of microlearning [1] is applied, an educational strategy that is characterized by the shortness of the informative capsules (Videos that last less than 6 minutes). Thus, knowledge and skill sets are provided without overwhelming the student, in a more dynamic way than the traditional one. This first approach to the content introduces the students to the lesson and motivates them to continue learning. This phase is in strict accordance with the different investigations that demonstrate that the brain manages to keep attention for no more than 15 minutes [2] and those that demonstrate that the brain learns more optimally when exposed to images and sound [3] .
  • In the written theory, we include many images, colors and we present a very dynamic and interactive material, which captivates the students with diverse images, precisely because to deepen the content, it is necessary to read, but to strengthen the content, support with images and colors is crucial.
  • The third phase, which includes interactive games, allows students to learn by playing into a scenario that invites them to implement everything learned in phases 1 and 2 in a playful way. In this phase, we apply the principles of gamification [4], an educational strategy that enhances the commitment and motivation of students with dynamics that include the recognition of achievements through points, badges, leader boards, or progress bars.
  • The last phase considers the execution of practical exercises that summarize the entire subject and that the student must complete in a written way, in order to consolidate the key concepts. This phase is accompanied by a complete answer key. Therefore, the student can assess and check their own process and see in their mistakes a possibility of improvement, without the sanction of a grade in between. The objective is to understand the topic and not get a grade. Likewise, the fact that the practice is written freehand allows for a 30% increase in retention of key concepts, when compared to the mere act of listening and typing on the computer. This goes in agreement with research in neuro-writing that shows that writing allows more effective memorization of concepts [6].

When the student changes from one phase to another, an attentional reset is generated, this means that at the beginning of a new phase, the brain is cognitively and attentively willing to continue with the subjects, due to the change in strategies that it must face, always following the following sequence: audiovisual learning »theoretical» gamification »neuro-scriptural.

This is our way of dealing with the phenomenon of academic and educational exclusion, appealing to the natural way in which the brain learns and placing the learner as its own referent.

[1] Created and developed by Evelyn Aguilera Arce. Principal at Via Talentum Academy. www.viatalentumacademy.com.

[2] Trabaldo, E., Mendizábal, V., González, M. (s/f). Microlearning: experiencias reales de aprendizaje personalizado, rápido y ubicuo. 4th Conference ICT, Argentina. Retrieved: https://jornadas.ead.unlp.edu.ar/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/MICROLEARNING_Trabaldo-Mendizabal-Gonzalez- Rozada.pdf

[3] Jensen, Eric, Teaching with the brain in mind, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1998.

[4] Xiong Jiang, Mark A. Chevillet, Josef P. Rauschecker, Maximilian Riesenhuber, Training Humans to Categorize Monkey Calls: Auditory Feature- and Category-Selective Neural Tuning Changes. Neuron Volume 98, Issue 2, Pages 405-416.e4 (April 2018) DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.03.014.

[5] Vargas-Henríquez, J., Garcia-Mundo, L., Genero, M. y Piattini, M. (2015). Análisis de uso de la Gamificación en la Enseñanza de la Informática. Actas de las XXI Jornadas de enseñanza Universitaria de la Informática. 105-112.

[6] Mueller, Pam A., Oppenheimer , Daniel M. (2014). The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking. Psychological Science, Vol. 25(6) 1159–1168