Brain Research and Learning Differences

There are three primary brain networks responsible for controlling the way our students learn. These are the recognition, strategic, and affective networks.
  • Recognition Network: Employs the five senses to make sense of patterns we encounter to help us understand and make sense of information.
  • Strategic Network: Allows us to plan, organize, act on, and monitor our actions and mental processes.
  • Affective Network: Assigns emotional significance and purpose to evaluated patterns so we can interact with the world around us.
While the three brain networks are general from person to person, Rose and Meyer (2002) explain:

"each individual brain actually reveals a unique pattern of activity. For example, most people, when they recognize an object visually, show increased activity in the back part of their brains; however, the exact magnitude, location, and distribution of that increased activity varies quite a bit. The active area of the cortex may be larger or smaller, more localized to the right or left hemisphere, or more widely or closely distributed. These variations undoubtedly manifest in the way people recognize things in the world-their recognition strengths, weaknesses, and preferences... When two students perform the same academic task, the patterns of activity in their brains are as unique as their fingerprints. The uniqueness may not be visible in the overall level of brain activity, but rather lies in the pattern of activation: how the activity is distributed across different brain regions" (Chapter 2).

 Please visit the following link for an interactive activity to help you understand how the brain networks affect learning differences:

Next, please visit the subpage, "Implications for Instruction" located at the bottom of this page.