Here below is the full recording of the event.
Three special guests took the stage, each one bringing a different point of view to the discussion and adding their specialistic approach to the topic of future developments of learning methods.
A changing society need to re-discuss previous - and often obsolete - learning paradigms, whether they apply to the medical, scientific or social field.
This event, what's more, perfectly fits within the already extensive research carried out in IIT by several Research lines within the "Life Science" domain, which is one of the four main research domain of the Foundation.
The organisation of an event as such sprang from considerations upon the impact of new technologies on the labour market. Employability is at the heart of the subject, in an effort to try to understand how to better help people to effectively grow those skills that would allow them to knowingly navigate the market and be competitive. Thus, the idea of bringing together modern technologies, neuroscience and psychology in order to have a multi-later vision on the matter.
The first thought-provoking stimuli comes from the idea that commonly used patterns for understanding the human brain, are too often based upon archaic dicotomies.
Historically, there is a strong divide between emotional and cognitive processes, when it comes to the functional structure of the brain. This split is even triple if we consider that within the realm of Emotion, it is common to separate Motivation.
Literature often offers a version of the theory according to which, there is a dedicated area of the brain that pertains to Emotion and that, most times, has been identified with the amigdala. However, this finds no relations with our scientific knowledge about the function of the human brain. On the contrary, the amigdala is one of the most inter-connected regions of the brain, able to influence processes happening in several other areas. What happens in the amigdala is not isolated, but inextricably linked to much of what happens in our brains.
As human beings, we are not able to process the myriad of inputs constantly reaching us from the outside world and, therefore, we subconsciously perform a process of prioritisation, based on our rational (cognitive) goals. However, we must never neglect the relevance of our emotions and motivation in shaping our goals, nor we must forget that each single area of our brain works upon stimuli from all of these aspects at once.
Ultimately, our brain is a Cognitive-Emotional Brain, it is both at the same time and we should base any new learning structure upon this fact.
Learning means somehow changing our synaptic structures and understanding this mechanism is paramount to help us - and help others - develop adaptability and the ability to change, whenever obsolete structures within our brain prevent us from growing further.
Therefore, deepening the understanding of mental processes that cause and define change within a human being, becomes crucial. Also, it becomes critical interpreting what changing means within our society, where technology and the speed of knowledge gain together with nonstop interconnection, partially altered our response to input acquisition.
Hyper-connectivity - for example - allow us to build a tailor-made network of friends and acquaintances to share similar ideas and interests, risking pushing whatever is "different" further away from us and, therefore, ultimately impoverishing our emotional and dialectical language. Therefore, it is mainly through language that we can hope to change and helping other change too.
Today, changing means a lot of effort and in order to succeed, it is fundamental to learn feeling in conflict with ourselves by asking ourselves questions about our behaviour and habits. Challenging, therefore, well-established behaviour we have maybe been displaying for years.
Only through the understanding of our real motivations, can we grasp our synaptic structures that have evolved throughout our lives and, consequently, call into question those aspects we need or we want to modify through learning processes.
We should work with more drive towards grasping habits and behaviours and abandon the previous educational models that were built up not taking into account the trainee point of view. Instead, it would be advisable to begin the building of new models to be structured and thought together with students/trainees, making them active participants into the project of the models themselves.
An example of interactive paradigm comes from the Center for Medical Simulation in Boston where, for years by now, new learning methods have merged with the latest technologies in order to deliver medical training.
The specific method they use is Simulation and they apply to training in different fields, such as gynaecology, midwifery and anesthesiology.
Founded back in 1993 in order to improve quality, safety and education in Healthcare, this center organises specific courses to train Simulation Instructors as well as health-care professionals.
The Simulation approach, allows for a very realistic and risk-free virtual experience of any possible known or made up scenario. In fact, it is possible to recreate extremely authentic-looking situations and environments, allowing trainees to mentally and physically dive into the experience completely.
Overall, this method effectively prepare highly specialised teams, able to deal with a vast variety of circumstances and able to face emergency with a more organised and aware mindset.
*AIDP Liguria is the Regional branch of the Italian Human Resources Association. This association bring together managers and professionals within the field to create a national network and promote a managerial responsible culture within companies.
Written by Sylvia Mondinelli