Neurophysiology of Learning

In order to understand the best ways to learn or the best ways to teach, we most know what learning is, both the process and the cumulative result. Learning takes place in the brain. It is a process of connecting and disconnecting neurons into dynamic local and interconnected networks. The brain itself is a global network that is made up of many smaller networks and sub-networks.

As a baby, humans are born with approximately 100 billion neurons. Most of these neurons are not yet connected to each other in any fashion but there are some that are genetically programmed to be connected together. These pre-connected neurons form our innate networks which regulate our breathing, heart rate, and senses as well as our primitive reflexes like suckling and grasping. These innate networks are crucial to our survival. They are the hardwired programming that we all come with. Networks that form personality traits and other intellectual identity traits start with rudimentary connections defined by one's genetic makeup. Beyond that, most of our neurons are disconnected from the others. It is through our interaction with our environment that connections are made, neurons are linked and robust networks are formed. Genetics provides a baseline upon which each individual's brain is built, but for development beyond primitive behaviors the environment is crucial to learning and forming each individual's unique personal psyche.

to be continued