The Truth About Brain Games In The Classroom

Jared Cooney Horvath is a globally recognized Science of Learning expert committed to helping teachers, students and parents achieve better outcomes through applied brain and behavioral science.

Hop On The Brain Train ...

Brain games and cognitive training programs -- both inside and outside of the classroom -- have become exceeding popular over the past decade.


But do they actually work? Do they really help students boost their capacities to learn and perform? Or are they just glorified puzzles masquerading as brain enhancers?


In my newest 'From Theory to Practice' video, I examine an interesting piece of research that helps us better understand what we should truly expect to gain when we engage with popular brain training programs.


Near and Far Transfer in Cognitive Training: A Second-Order Meta-Analysis (Giovanni Sala et al, 2019)


Here are some of the questions I tackle in this installment:

  • Across most contexts, what is the key ingredient for effective learning?

  • What is skill transfer, and how is this process impacted as we become more adept at any given skill?

  • How well do popular working memory training programs (like Lumosity, Cogmed, etc.) actually support learning and skill transfer?

  • What are three practical takeaways for teachers and academic leaders that we can draw from this meta-analysis?

Give it a watch, and let me know what you think in the YT comments section.


And, as always, if you find this video valuable, interesting and/or entertaining, you can support us by liking, sharing and subscribing to our YouTube channel ;)



Video Transcript

Hello everybody, and welcome to this week's From Theory to Practice, where I take a look at the research so you don't have to.


Now, as you may know, I have a new book out called '10 Things Schools Get Wrong (And How We Can Get Them Right)'.


So, for this series of ten videos, I've deliberately selected research papers that align with the different chapters of that book.


In this installment we're looking at Chapter 6, which is called 21st Century Skills: The Problem With Transfer.


The article I've selected this week that aligns with that chapter is called Near and Far Transfer in Cognitive Training by Giovanni Sala and colleagues.


Now, to understand this paper, there are two concepts we have to wrap our head around ...


The first is essentially the basic learning process. In order to learn anything, the key ingredient (in most contexts) is repetition. The more you repeat something, the easier it is for you to do that thing.

Click to view remainder of the transcript ...

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