Training in Motion

How to Use Movement to Create Engaging and Effective Learning

 Training in Motion

Author: Mike Kuczala
Pub Date: June 2015
Print Edition: $32.95
Print ISBN: 9780814434949
Page Count: 224
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814434956

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Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Connecting Movement to a Learning Brain

Despite the development of sophisticated distance learning technologies that allow learners to access training from any place or at any time using the most convenient device they have on hand (a desktop computer, tablet, laptop, or smartphone), a majority of training still occurs in traditional classroom settings.

Such a statistic is hardly a surprise to trainers who increasingly use these advanced learning tools but still find they spend a considerable amount of time in physical classrooms. One reason that classroom training remains the predominant delivery method is that eLearning is not appropriate for all types of training, as, for example, when role play is essential to the training. A more important reason, a least from my perspective, is that the connection and collaboration between learners in a classroom fulfills our human need for community, and it is this connection that fosters greater learning success.

The learning techniques described in this book are likely familiar to experienced learning professionals. What this book shows is a direct connection between movement and well understood and researched conclusions based on brain research. More importantly, it shows readers how to tap into this valuable learning wellspring and make movement a reliable training effectiveness ally.

MAKING A CONNECTION

I am not neuroscientist or a doctor. I'm not even a researcher. I am just someone who has spent years reading everything I could get my hands on about how the human brain learns, and in particular how to take advantage of the intrinsic connection between movement and learning. This intense passion has been at the center of my professional work for the last 20 years and it underscores every written or training/learning contribution I've made to the field including this book.

The roots of this book reach back to 2006, when I collaborated with Traci Lengel, a dynamic and successful Health and Physical Educator in northern Pennsylvania, to create a graduate course called It's All About You: Wellness and School. The course, offered by the Regional Training Center to Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey, included my previous nutrition training work along with significant portions of my work discussed in this book--the brain/body connection, physical fitness, stress management, time management, and social wellness.

As it turned out, the course was very popular with its target audience--educators--who use the positive life-changing information they discovered through the class to change the learning dynamics in their own classes. Based on the success of this class, Traci and I decided to collaborate on a second training design that focused on the connection between movement and learning.

In 2008, we field tested a course called The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and Learning Through Movement. This course was also a success and, in fact, it became one of the most successful courses in the 25-year history of the Regional Training Center. The course included a Six-Part Framework for using movement that Traci created and I helped her fine tune. The framework makes movement user friendly and accessible to all teachers in all content areas and at all grade levels. Dozens of instructors now teach this course to thousands of teachers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland, who use the concepts to improve learning outcomes in their classes.

Another positive outcome of my work with Traci was the publication in 2010 of our bestselling book, The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and Learning Through Movement. Training in Motion goes beyond The Kinesthetic Classroom to include information about connecting cognitive function, physical fitness, and movement theories to both effective teaching and improved facilitation abilities.

As a full-fledged brain and movement enthusiast, I want Training in Motion to inform corporate trainers and other learning professionals about taking advantage of this brain/body connection to improve the effectiveness and bottom-line value of their training and learning programs.

BRAIN BASICS

Training in Motion is a book about using movement to enhance the training process so I will reference--directly or indirectly--the conclusions or implications of brain research throughout. However, the reason for this introduction on brain basics is to provide grounding and context for the discussion that follows and a baseline brain-related vocabulary to guide your learning.

So, to begin with, here are some interesting facts about the brain according to Sousa (2011). The brain:

* Weighs a little more than three pounds.

is about the size of a small grapefruit.

is shaped like a walnut.

* Represents about 2 percent of our body weight but burns

almost 20 percent of our calories.

* Contains approximately a trillion cells made up of neurons

(specialized cells that process information) and glial cells that

support and protect the neurons. Neural connections and

networks are at the core of learning and memory.

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