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What Is Neural Learning?

By T. Carrier
Updated May 21, 2024
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Neural learning is based on the belief that the brain operates like a computer when it is processing new information. When the same pattern is observed, it becomes easier to understand how to manipulate it and make it do things it would not have done on its own. Teachers, mentors, and private tutors will greatly benefit from understanding the complexities of neural learning because it makes them better instructors. Data input, organization, and retrieval are primary considerations. This data makes it possible for both learner and teachers to maximize the brain's capacity. The biological basis of neural learning is a neural system, which refers to the interconnected structure of brain cells. From the simplest task like reading a short story to more complex feats like taking a scholarship exam or a college admission test, a person employes everything gained from neural learning. This understanding of the relationship between brain structure and function has been applied to developing better learning and memory retention concepts. Although various biological factors contribute to how well this network operates, it rarely is affected by a person's race, sexual orientation, financial capacity, and more. The framework also serves as the basis of artificial neural network systems. It's also a basis for developing teaching methods whether online or in person. In a sense, this strategy utilizes the nature aspect of learning and applies it to the nurture process to get the best of both worlds.

According to the neural learning model, information first enters the brain through data input. This happens shortly after data has been presented to a person. Data input speed depends on the complexity of the subject and the field of study. The brain must then store this information and combine it with already present information via data organization. The final step is data retrieval, in which the brain develops systems for taking stored information from the mind and using it. Neural learning thus refers to these collective processes in which the brain gathers, stores, and uses information gained through life experiences. Sometimes, learning processes becomes so encoded in the brain that information retrieval occurs almost automatically, as in threatening situations.

Memory is therefore a vital concept in neural learning, just as it is with computers. Effective encoding of information can be aided with mnemonic techniques. These methods involve memorizing large chunks of information via memory cues. For example, an individual might seek to learn a long string of words by creating a sentence in which each word contains the first letter of every word in the list. Like the word SMART which means simple, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timebound. This is a common concept to freshmen students when trying to set goals. Another approach might involve creating an imaginative visual image that represents a word. This is actually easier than it sounds, and some students actually do it without noticing. This approach is commonplace in memorizing complex information like medical terms. This is the same process being tapped by students while they're trying to learn different concepts in different subjects. And this isn't just used in formal learning facilities, more and more online tutors are using this information to improve their teaching methods.

Mnemonic devices are often dependent on another important concept in neural learning: the type of learning style a brain is most wired to implement. If you're a new student from a location were mnemonic devices are not common, you shouldn't be intimidated because it's really fairly easy to understand and apply. Some individuals are more proficient with visual learning methods, while others work better when learning is more reading or word-based. Tutoring companies accommodate these differences by appealing to the preferred learning style of a student. Other approaches might include auditory learning and applied cooperative learning. That's why sometimes a student will learn better from one-on-one personal online tutoring sessions as opposed to traditional teaching methods.

Some teachers of neural learning embrace a holistic approach to learning. Disabled students benefit a lot from this approach, since their condition is accounted for. In other words, individuals should consider ideas and concepts in a naturalistic way, rather than relying on rote learning methods that emphasize specific and isolated facts. And this is why it's common for earlier years in school are focused on memorizing building blocks of concepts while junior and senior years are more focused on applying what have been learned in the school years that passed. Note-taking might thus consist of a tree-like approach in which concepts branch out from each other and individuals create their own unique associations to solidify concepts in their memory. Normally, it's the freshmen and sophomores that are intent in taking notes and this has been observed to dwindle as students reach their junior and senior years.

Transmission and storage of information occurs among networks of neurons, or brain cells. Neural networks are also the basis of much artificial intelligence. In fact, neural learning sometimes refers to the methods of artificial intelligence design that mimic human neural structures. Such neural networks have proven useful in numerous complex machine performance arenas ranging from speech recognition to implementing controls for robots.

For these methods, the artificial small structures that are patterned after human neurons are known as units or nodes. Like neurons, these units are programmed to receive incoming information, or input, and also to transmit information, or output. In artificial intelligence machines, input and output components are connected repeatedly so that associations are created within the artificial intelligence system. These formed associations constitute neural learning for the system, and — like human learning — the associations can be strengthened as they are encoded and memorized. The strengthening occurs via learning rules, or weighted measurements and mathematical neural algorithms. This in turn gives students a higher chance of bagging academic scholarships and picking the best schools. Understanding the basics of neural learning makes it possible to combine the nurture and nature aspect of a child's learning potential.

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Discussion Comments
By serenesurface — On Dec 04, 2014

@ysmina-- I tried using it a few times. This type of memory technique definitely exists and there are actually quite a few people who use it. I didn't get very far with it because it requires information to be learned in a certain order. The location of the information in the "palace" triggers the memory, but you still have to remember it in order. You also have to review the information frequently. So it's not possible to actually put the knowledge there and remember it three years later without ever reviewing it.

By ysmina — On Dec 04, 2014

Several contemporary TV shows, films and books mention something called a "mind palace" or "memory palace." Apparently, this is a information storage technique for the mind. A virtual palace is imagined with the mind and information is placed in certain locations. The individual is then able to retrieve the information any time in the future. It's never forgotten.

Is there any truth to this concept? Is this type of neural learning possible? Has anyone here used it?

By turquoise — On Dec 03, 2014

Neural learning is also being studied now in regards to depression. I read about it recently because I suffer from depression from time to time.

A few studies have found that people who experience severe and long-term depression have trouble learning and remembering things. Doctors and scientists discovered that it's due to the shrinking of the material between neurons in the brain. This material helps neurons communicate with one another. When we're depressed, these areas shrink leading to poor communication between neurons and poor neural learning.

This is just one more reason why those in depression need to get help. Depression is detrimental not just for our psychology but also our body, organs and how they function. I take depression very seriously and I'm not ashamed to ask for help.

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