According to UNICEF’s definition, Brain Break is a simple technique in which students are given a short mental break at regular intervals.
We already know, each student learns differently and at a different pace. But a general theme of learning that connects all pupils at different levels is the dire need for cerebral pauses. For students to reach their full potential and acquire information appropriately, their brain must send sensory receptor signals to where the brain stores memories. These sensory receivers are specialized cells that react to physical and chemical stimuli such as what students see, hear, touch, smell and taste.
When students are overloaded with information, their brains fail to remember the information they receive. They get blocked, and the knowledge provided is not stored the way it is intended to. The new information cannot reach the prefrontal cortex because the amygdala has reached its maximum capacity and cannot adequately support memory or knowledge.
The short brain breaks refresh students’ thinking process and allow their brain to take rest and feel relaxed. During these pauses, the brain deviates from learning, memorization and problem-solving. Brain breaks enable students to regulate their feelings and prepare for the next wave of information.
Brain breaks are important in eLearning as they help learners to take a break from prolonged cognitive activities, recharge their brains, and improve their overall learning experience. Here are some tips for incorporating brain breaks into eLearning:
Set a timer: Encourage learners to take a break every 25-30 minutes of learning. This will help them to stay focused, motivated and energized throughout the course.
Incorporate movement: Encourage learners to take a short walk, stretch, or do some light exercises to help them improve blood flow and get their brain moving.
Use interactive tools: Incorporate games, quizzes, puzzles, or other interactive activities into the eLearning content that help learners to recharge and have fun.
Encourage social interaction: Encourage learners to interact with each other through online discussion forums, group chats, or breakout rooms. This can help them to recharge and learn from their peers.
Incorporate mindfulness exercises: Encourage learners to take a short mindfulness exercise to help them to refocus and recharge.
Provide healthy snacks: Encourage learners to eat healthy snacks, such as fruits, nuts, or energy bars, to keep their energy levels up.
Vary the format: Incorporate different types of brain breaks to cater to different learning styles. For example, some learners may prefer visual brain breaks like watching a funny video, while others may prefer auditory breaks like listening to music or a podcast.
Use virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR): Incorporate VR or AR activities that can help learners to engage with the content in a more immersive way, which can be refreshing and re-energizing.
Align brain breaks with learning objectives: Incorporate brain breaks that align with the learning objectives of the course. For example, if the learning objective is to improve critical thinking skills, you could include a brain break that involves solving a puzzle or riddle.
Allow for flexibility: Give learners the flexibility to choose their own brain breaks or activities. This can empower learners to take ownership of their learning and choose activities that resonate with them.
Keep it brief: Keep brain breaks short and sweet, ideally no longer than 5-10 minutes, so that learners can quickly recharge and get back to learning.
Overall, incorporating brain breaks into eLearning can improve the learning experience for learners and help them to stay focused, motivated and engaged throughout the course.
Incorporating brain breaks into eLearning can be an effective way to improve learner engagement, retention, and satisfaction. By providing learners with opportunities to recharge, you can help them to stay focused and motivated throughout the course.
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