The Science of Learning
Our Approach to Helping People Learn New Skills
Learning new skills can be stressful. When your brain is given too much information in one go, it can quickly go into overload and cause a whole bunch of mental strain and anxiety. So how is it that someone who has mastered the skill you crave seems completely at ease, rather than being in a constant struggle to remember everything at once?
Physically speaking, learning a new skill is a process of gradually optimising your brain’s physical structure and its patterns of electrical and chemical activity to make the skill easier for you to do.
While a beginner’s mind struggles through trial and error to find the neural pathways that give it even a basic ability to succeed in a skill, a master’s mind activates specific, well-practiced patterns of neural activity almost instantaneously as it naturally recalls and replicates its previous successes.
Through the exploration¹ ², simplification³ and reinforcement³ ⁴ of your brain’s internal connections, your mind develops itself over time to let you gradually become naturally able at the skills that previously had you baffled.
By improving the efficiency of the fundamental processes that enable you to learn, it’s possible to pick up new skills quickly and easily, without the headaches all too often associated with learning something new.
Workshop gives you the tools to learn in ways that have been proven to support your brain’s natural development. Here are some of the methods we use to give you the most effective learning experiences:
Emotion has a strong influence on your ability to learn⁵ — when you’re under stress, your brain’s emotional centre will chemically block access to higher levels of thought and suppress the exploration of your neural connections, making it extremely difficult for you to learn something new⁶.
By breaking down an entire skill into very small, digestible chunks, we endeavour to provide you with a gradual, stress-free path to development that — while challenging — is never overwhelming.
The brain is naturally spectacular at pattern recognition. By identifying patterns, your mind is able to put raw information in the context of a bigger picture and transform it into meaningful knowledge. As you integrate this knowledge into your own greater sense of purpose and meaning, you’ll become better able to discern what you believe is important to remember from what’s not, simplifying your thought processes by getting rid of non-essential neural connections and allowing the skill you’re learning to feel much more natural to you⁷ ⁸.
Every bite-sized video clip within a step, step within a module and module within a workshop is framed within the context of an even greater purpose — to provide you with the skill you want. By helping you understand why you’re following each step, reminding you of where techniques have come up before and frequently asking you to reflect on your efforts, we’ll encourage your mind to continually recognise and recall patterns in the information provided and always keep you motivated to move forward.
Experience Before Theory
By seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting your way through, your mind is able to form a deep understanding of any skill through direct experience — reinforcing its structure when you succeed and adapting itself when you make mistakes⁸. In fact, it’s been found that the physical developments that happen in your brain as a result of repeated practical experience actually revert when you stop practicing⁹.
That’s why our mentors guide you through the actions of following their workshops in real-time, rather than lecturing you before getting started — they show you how to correct your own mistakes and ultimately let you learn by doing.
Out of the hundreds of methods and techniques that have been used to teach people over the centuries, we’re focusing on applying a select few that have the potential to directly improve the efficiency of our brains’ learning processes.
By optimising our technology and experiences to enhance this physical, neurological development, we hope to give you a way of learning any skill you want in the shortest time, with the least anguish, through an unforgettable experience that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
If you’d love to see us achieve this goal, there are plenty of ways you can help us out! Have an idea for a new feature? Perhaps you’d like to create a workshop of your own? Maybe you just want to try learning a new cooking skill this weekend?
In any case, if you decide to download Workshop and give it a go, please do let us know how you get on — we’ll use every bit of feedback we get to help form increasingly better ways of learning new skills.
¹ Black J.E., Isaacs K.R., Anderson B.J., Alcantara A.A., Greenough W.T. (1990). Learning causes synaptogenesis, whereas motor activity causes angiogenesis, in cerebellar cortex of adult rats.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 87(14), 5568–5572.
² Deng W., Aimone J.B., & Gage F.H. (2010). New neurons and new memories: how does adult hippocampal neurogenesis affect learning and memory?
Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 11(5), 339–350.
³ O’Rourke M., Gasperini R., & Young K.M. (2014). Adult myelination: wrapping up neuronal plasticity.
Neural Regeneration Research, 9(13), 1261–1264.
⁴ McKenzie I.A., Ohayon D., Li H., Paes de Faria J., Emery B., Tohyama K., & Richardson W.D. (2014). Motor skill learning requires active central myelination.
Science, 346(6207), 318–322.
⁵ Tyng C.M., Amin H.U., Saad M.N.M., & Malik A.S. (2017). The Influences of Emotion on Learning and Memory.
Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1454.
⁶ Joëls M., Karst H., Alfarez D., Heine V.M., Qin Y., van Riel E., Verkuyl M., Lucassen P.J., & Krugers H.J. (2009). Effects of Chronic Stress on Structure and Cell Function in Rat Hippocampus and Hypothalamus.
The International Journal on the Biology of Stress, 7(4), 221–231.
⁷ Caine R.N., & Caine G. (1990). Understanding a Brain-Based Approach to Learning and Teaching.
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⁸ Taylor K. (2006). Brain Function and Adult Learning: Implications for Practice.
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⁹ Frith U., Bishop D., Blakemore C., Blakemore S.J., Butterworth B., Goswami U. (2013). Neuroscience: implications for education and lifelong learning.
Integrating Science and Practice, 3(1), 6–10.