‘Always on’ Culture has to be Resisted!

19th October 2022

Posted In: FYI

Learners have to resist the ‘always on’ culture of the information age to achieve their goals, the Learnovation Summit will hear tomorrow (Thursday, October 20th).

And companies must allow workers to really switch off to avoid burnout and ensure continued learning, according to one of the conference’s keynote speakers, Stella Collins (pictured).

Known as the ‘Brain Lady’, Stella is the co-founder and Chief Learning Officer at Stellar Labs and will show how neuroscience and harnessing brainwaves can be applied to improve learning and training in a demanding knowledge economy.

The Learnovation Summit is an annual global learning tech event and is Ireland’s largest EdTech conference. It returns as an in-person event tomorrow (October 20) at Croke Park after being held online during the pandemic.

This year’s theme is ‘The Future of Learning is Now’. Learnovation is organised by The Learnovate Centre, a leading learning technology research centre based at Trinity College Dublin and funded by Enterprise Ireland and the IDA. 

In her interactive session, ‘Harness Your Brainwaves’, Stella will show Learnovation attendees concrete, evidence-based techniques to optimise the brain for learning. The techniques are based on brainwave patterns.

Brainwaves are electrical activity set off when neurons are stimulated by neurotransmitters and hormones.  The activity is caused by synchronised pulses of electricity from neurons communicating as you think, learn, sleep, dream and generally go about your daily business.

Five different types of electrical activity in our brains (Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma) impact on sleep, daydreaming, memory, ‘aha’ moments and attention – all of which are vital ingredients for effective learning. These five types of activity in the brain have different frequencies, which mean they are suited to different activities.

Stella Collins, co-founder, and Chief Learning Officer with Stellar Labs, says: “The key takeaway is that we can’t always be on. For us to function well, physically, physiologically, psychologically, we need to work with the way our brains work. We need to switch off. We need time to reflect. We need time to be creative.  We need time to have insights and lightbulb moments and, particularly around learning, we definitely need sleep.

All parts of sleep but particularly dream sleep and deep sleep are hugely important for learning and memory.

“Learning is a process spread across time and during a learning process you need to experience all these different brainwaves. If, for example, you learn a new piano piece in the early evening, when you go to sleep that night, your brain will replay everything you have been doing. It’s as effective as actually doing extra practice.

So, one of our responsibilities at work should be to encourage people to get enough sleep if we want them to learn.

Some companies make token gestures to wellness, but they still really push people to work very hard and probably burn themselves out.”

Learnovate Director Nessa McEniff says: “Organisations need employees to become expert learners to succeed in the future of work. To achieve this, organisations must engender a culture of learning that understands and respects the way people learn, including the whole organism, especially the brain and the nervous system.

By creating an environment where human beings can thrive, we foster the skills Ireland needs for the future such as creativity, collaboration, and innovation.”

As well as keynote speeches, Learnovation attendees will have access to expert panels, Q&A sessions, interactive chat, real-time polling, and one-on-one networking.

A full programme of speakers can be found here.

Learning and development managers, educators, learning providers, entrepreneurs, innovators, trainers, start-up founders, learning designers, policymakers, researchers, and people who are passionate about the design and delivery of learning now, and into the future, will be among the attendees at the Learnovation Summit.

To register or for more information on the Learnovation Summit, visit here>>