“Second Learning” pathway discovered as brain gives up another secret on how it helps to create memories and skills

I thought this news article may be of interest, and a topic for us to follow as research progresses…

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/brain-has-extra-secondlearning-power-20101005-164j5.html

In summary, “Second Learning” seems to involve the use of a second and completely separate neurological pathway to learn and store information (using AMPA receptors instead of NDMA receptors). AMPA receptors are triggered when the learner is exposed to novel (but not totally unique) experiences/events where the general rules of the environment have been previously learned. These separate pathways and pre-existing rules are then used to acquire new ‘memories’ (i.e. learn new things). Iteration and repetition are discussed as potentially useful learning strategies.

Potential implications for praxis could include deliberate use of iteration and elaboration strategies in learning design, manipulation of the learning environment to ensure novel but not totally unique experiences are created and managed, as well as use of “universal metaphors and stories” to embed new learning elements into things familiar to the learner.

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