7 Secrets of Effective Brain Training

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Tutoring and Brain Training? The answer is... everything! While many people think they are similar, the two approaches couldn't be any more different.

The difference? Brain Training treats the root cause of learning struggles—so you or your child can overcome almost any learning or reading issue for good (and did I mention you can do it in much less time than tutoring?). How do we do it? Good question! Below you'll find the 7 Secrets of Effective Brain Training—these are the secrets to why Brain Training is so much more effective than tutoring. These secrets are the backbone of any truly effective cognitive skills training program.

If you're ready to experience the power of Brain Training, you can sign up for a special offer - a FREE professional skills assessment from the Des Moines or Ankeny Brain Training center in Iowa. Or, you can enter your email to receive a toolkit you can actually use at home to boost the brain function of someone in your family. Enjoy!

"Some things just can't be taught... "?

Have you ever heard someone say this? Well they're right. Some things can never be taught.

Here we are, talking about effective brain training, and I'm telling you that some things can't be taught? Am I off my rocker? I don't think so!

Just think about it.

Let's say you are interested in learning how to play the piano (or guitar, or to juggle, or tennis). Now imagine that I can give you unlimited access to seminars and podcasts on how to learn to play the piano.

You can watch a master pianist play for hours upon hours. They can talk you through the mechanics of chord construction, majors, minors, and music theory. You can listen some more. You can look at diagrams and charts. And then listen even more.

Lecture = Knowledge

How many hours of this type teaching would you need to become an excellent pianist?

The answer is obvious. No amount of teaching will make you a better piano player. Piano (like so many other things) must be trained, not taught.

What's needed are drills and exercises (like practicing scales). Practice and Drill. Practice, practice, practice. Targeting, sequencing, loading, and feedback. Each of the essential elements in an effective brain training program are the same essential elements necessary to strengthen any skill.

Training = Skill

Brain training is skill building. If you need better Logic and Reasoning (or Processing Speed, or Memory), I can train you, and you can have it.

But I can't teach it. No one can. It must be trained.

It's Like Exercise...

Brain training is like exercise. What you get out has everything to do with what you put in. Intensity is paramount. Just consider for a moment the difference between:

A) Going to the gym and fiddling around with the weight sets, walking on a treadmill for a few minutes and trying out that new piece of equipment in the corner (what is it supposed to do anyway?).

B) Going to the gym with a highly trained and motivated personal trainer. Your 45 minute workout is planned down to the minute. From the time you walk in, till the time you collapse at the end, you are pushing yourself; stretching, pushing, pulling and working your body to muscle failure.

The difference is intensity.

Great brain training is no different. The intense management, motivation and coaching received through a top notch brain training program will make the difference between barely noticeable results and "WOW that's incredible" results.

Through intense practice comes intense change.

An intense brain workout is like having a personal trainer for your brain.

Immediate Feedback is the third Secret of Effective Brain Training?

While for some people, the term "feedback" conjures images of shock therapy, feedback is simply a process of sending information back to someone to change the outcome of their behavior the next time around. Immediate means... well... immediate. Right away. Almost instantaneously.

The value of feedback in any training program is self evident. Could you learn to play the piano without being able to hear the notes you are playing? Could you be trained to play soccer without being able to feel your legs or see your opponents? Obviously not! Feedback is essential, but what is often missed is that feedback must be immediate, in order to be truly effective.

Immediate feedback has several main advantages.

Correct Errors Before They're Internalized First, immediate feedback has the benefit of reducing the amount of time that a student practices a skill incorrectly. How beneficial would it be to practice your multiplication tables for three hours... incorrectly? Truly, it would be better not to practice at all! Immediate feedback ensures that only correct mental processes are practiced and developed.

Create a Habit of Excellent Life experiences, in large part, are boiled down into habits. Making mistakes can be a habit as well. By working your mental skills in front of a trainer who is honed in on your practice, you can train yourself toward a habit of simply making fewer mistakes.

Not Just Wrong... but what's Right? Immediate feedback gives a trainer the ability to give constant corrective feedback. When you're learning a new skill, you don't just need to know when you've made a mistake, you need to know what the correct (note, swing, answer) is so you can adjust. This immediate feedback is what allows a trainee to make fast, measurable improvements in performance.

LearningRx programs focus on immediate feedback. Indeed, immediate feedback is inseparable from our programming.

tar·get

Pronunciation: \ˈtär-gət\

a : mark to shoot at
b : a target marked by shots fired at it
c : something or someone fired at or marked for attack
d : a goal to be achieved

Should we need to define targeting? Isn't it enough to say that an effective brain training program should be targeted? It seems like common sense right?

You'd be surprised at the number of tutoring programs out there that don't target weak areas at all!

This is a quick lesson, because it's so much common sense.

An Effective Brain Training Program targets weak skills for at least three important reasons.

It's Faster
Brain training is not inexpensive. If you're making an investment that rivals a semester of college, you want fast results. Targeting allows your program to attack weak skills, and leave strong skills, for the most part, alone.

Can you strengthen strong skills? Absolutely. But a highly effective program will focus on weaker areas first.

It's Cheaper
The cheapest way to increase cognitive performance is by strengthening the weakest skills (kind of like the whole weakest link in the chain thing). Targeting allows work to begin on the weak skills first and for the longest periods of time.

It's More
Efficient Limited time and resources will always drive us to seek the maximum change in minimum time. Targeting makes it possible.

LearningRx programs use a proven system of targeting weak skills that allow us to make skill gain guarantees that sound nearly impossible. But they're true.

Sequencing is simply the process of taking a complex set of goals and breaking them down into logical, linear, achievable steps.

Much like, and highly connected with the sixth secret, loading, sequencing is dependent on having a focused and intent trainer that understands the performance nuances of the person they are training.

If brain training is a process of building skill layer by layer, one on top of the other; sequencing is the recognition that some skills are more basic than others, and must be learned first.

The effects of sequencing can be seen in many other skill building activities like golf, chess and video games. Video game programmers are masters at sequencing. Have you ever sat down and tried to play a video game with your son or daughter? It feels almost impossible. The reason is that the levels of that game have been properly sequenced. Each level works on a new skill or skills. Each level is not a whole lot harder than the last. Just enough to keep you engaged. By the time you reach level 23, someone who has never played before is hopelessly lost, because they have not built the requisite skill through sequencing.

An Effective Brain Training Program delivers training in a sequenced manner.

Sequencing Builds Confidence
Sequenced levels don't move from a 3 to a 10 on difficulty scale. They instill confidence in the student by moving them from a 3 to a 3.1. Then on to a 3.2, 3.3 and so on. The 'player' hardly even notices the skill building because the sequencing is so well laid out.

Smoother Progress is Encouraging
Instead of having fits and starts due to large difficulty, intensity or complexity changes, students are encouraged to feel smooth skill development.

Engagement
Students cannot help but be engaged by a well sequenced program. Learning and skill building becomes game like and even fun.

Sequencing is an essential part of an effective brain training program.

That's right friends.

The sixth secret really is a secret. Loading is the LearningRx 'secret sauce'. I can't just write you an email and tell you all about it, but I'll share what I can.

Loading is the process of adding one cognitive function on top of another.

By forcing the brain to do a novel task on top of an activity that is building mental skill, we boost the effects of brain training by... a whole lot. No other program even comes close to understanding loading like we do.

So we're going to keep the recipe card on this one close to the vest. That's all I can give you.

Of course, if you want to come into the center and chat with me, or my partner Burnadette... we'll tell you everything we know about loading.

Some things just can't be
done well in a group.

Have you ever tried to learn how to play an instrument? Ever tried to do it in a group? It doesn't work very well, and neither does brain training.

We've been talking about intensity and how important intensity is as a pillar of an effective brain training program. Intensity requires a one on one investment of time.

A one on one environment opens the doors for at least three of the other pillars; Targeting, Sequencing, and Loading. Your trainer must be completely focused on your training.

Many educational programs out there try to cut their fees by providing one on three training, but in truth, these programs deliver less than 1/3rd the results, because the compounding effects of each of the secrets is lost many times over.