Monday, August 28, 2006

Have you fed your hippo today?

Over the weekend I posted a link to Brainbasedbusiness about how researches had discovered a way actually see the effects of experience on the brain.  There was no mention of how learning played in all of this, however the BBB blog followed with this post about MIT research showing that Learning Changes Your Brain's Neuron Connections.

"It's quite a breakthrough because it reminds us that when we learn -- we rewire our brain. In other words, LTP is an example of plasticity -- the amazing ability of the brain to change in response to experience.

Your LTP builds up synapses, or the connections between neurons, while its counterpart, long-term depression, or LTD, strips away unused synapses. Learning brain.gif

While it's true that learning is complex and differs among people...and that synaptic changes occur in hippocampus-based learning are few and difficult to detect, they also found learning can be stored through LTD as well as LTP. That is good news for those who've chosen lifelong learning."

I love learning new things.  I'm actually quite unhappy if I'm not doing at least one thing in my life that is completely new for me.  Podcasting has made it possible for me to continue learning both Spanish and Chinese in small chunks.  I love ChinesePod, and the Spanish Phrase of the day. Its at but No lo recuerdo exactamente (I don't remember exactly.).

Just kidding...I just had to use that it is.  I also keep up with quite a few techie podcasts and video blogs.  Here's to TWIT, Inside the Net, and

It's never been easier to feed the ol' hippocampus than it is today with RSS feeds of everthing in all media sizes, shapes and flavors. 
Life is good!

Update: Steve from the Chinesepod sent me this in the comments- Wǒ jì bù qīng le. - Its, I don't remember exactly in mandarin. So there you have it. The absolute power of the new web. Thanks, Steve.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link Brent... What an interesting site --Loved the hippo image :-) and I share your interest in corporate learning development. All the best!

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear we're feeding your hippo!

This is an interesting post. One of the things I find most fascinating about education is that in a very real and physical sense, it is about building brains. Therefore, one of the difficulties in learning Asian languages (for English speakers) is that they literally don't have enough synapse connections etc to deal with things like tones and other peculiarities of Asian language (unlike say Spanish, where there are so many commonalities you can just pick it up). I remember when I first came to China, it took a couple of months before my brain had tuned in and Chinese actually sounded like a language to me. During this period I guess I was busily connecting synapses etc.

By the way, if your curious, here's how to say "I don't remember exactly" in Chinese...

Wǒ jì bù qīng le.

bschlenker said...

Ellen, I love the brain stuff you do. Thanks for helping me make those connections...figuratively and physically. :)

Steve, Ni Hao! I love your podcast. Everyone knows that immersion is the best way to learn a new language. Your podcast helps me get that while I'm still in the states. I wonder if we could create a virtual Shanghai in Secondlife, so I could "be there" virtually? That would be an awesome educational experience.

Cheers, to you both!