Unlocking the Power of Brain-Based Learning: Strategies and Examples

Are you tired of using traditional teaching methods that don’t seem to work for all your students? If so, you might want to take a look at brain-based learning strategies. Based on neuroscience, brain-based learning taps into how our brains process information and use it to acquire and retain knowledge. In this blog post, you’ll learn about the principles and elements of brain-based learning, the theory behind it, and some examples of how it can be applied in the classroom.

Understanding the Principles of Brain-Based Learning

Brain-based learning is a teaching approach that takes into account how the brain functions. It is based on the idea that when we learn something new, a physical change occurs in our brains. According to brain-based learning theory, the following principles should be considered when designing instruction:

Principle #1: Learning is a Physical Activity

The brain is not a passive receptor of knowledge. Rather, it is an active participant in the learning process. When learners are engaged physically, mentally, and emotionally in the learning activities, the brain will be stimulated to learn.

Principle #2: The Brain is Social

Humans are social animals, and the brain processes information in social contexts. Therefore, learning is more effective when it occurs in a social setting where learners can interact with others.

Principle #3: The Brain is Emotional

The emotional state of learners affects their ability to learn. Positive emotions such as curiosity, enjoyment, and satisfaction, enhance learning, while negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, and stress, impair learning.

Principle #4: The Brain is Adaptive

The brain has the ability to adapt and change as a result of experience. When learners actively participate in the learning process, they can change their brains’ neural pathways and make connections that help them learn.

Exploring the Elements of Brain-Based Learning

Brain-based learning involves four basic elements that must be present in order for learning to occur:

Element #1: Active Engagement

Learners must be actively engaged and participate in the learning process. This can be achieved through hands-on activities, discussions, group work, or role-playing.

Element #2: Meaningful Relevance

New learning must be connected to learners’ prior experiences and relevant to their lives. When learners understand the relevance of what they are learning, they are more likely to be motivated to learn.

Element #3: Feedback and Reinforcement

Learners need feedback and reinforcement to know if they are on track in their learning process. Feedback can come from the teacher, peers, or self-reflection. Reinforcement can be in the form of praise, a grade, or a tangible reward.

Element #4: Brain-Compatible Environments

The environment in which learning takes place can either enhance or hinder learning. A brain-compatible environment should stimulate the senses and provide a variety of learning experiences.

Brain-Based Learning Strategies

Now that we’ve gone over the principles and elements of brain-based learning, let’s look at some strategies that teachers can use to apply this approach in the classroom.

Strategy #1: Multisensory Instruction

The brain processes information from multiple senses simultaneously. Therefore, using visual aids, hands-on activities, music, and movement can enhance learning and retention.

Strategy #2: Collaboration

As mentioned earlier, the brain is social and learns best in a collaborative environment. Teachers can incorporate group work, discussions, and peer teaching to encourage collaboration.

Strategy #3: Active Learning

Active learning involves engaging learners in the learning process by asking them questions, having them solve problems, or creating something new. By being active participants, learners are more likely to retain what they have learned.

Strategy #4: Incorporating Technology

Technology can provide a variety of learning experiences and can be used to enhance active learning. Educational apps, online simulations, and multimedia resources can all be used to supplement classroom instruction.

Strategy #5: Reflection

Reflection gives learners the opportunity to monitor their own learning process and connect new learning with past experiences. Journaling, self-assessment, and group discussions can all be used to encourage reflection.

Strategy #6: Brain-Compatible Classroom Environment

Creating a brain-compatible environment means providing a space that is free from distractions, is aesthetically pleasing, and provides a variety of sensory experiences. Flexible seating, natural lighting, and calming colors can all contribute to a brain-compatible environment.

Applying Brain-Based Learning in the Classroom

While brain-based learning strategies may seem overwhelming at first, they can be applied at any level or subject area. Here are some specific examples of how it can be applied:

Example #1: Language Arts

When teaching students how to read, teachers can incorporate multisensory instruction by using visual aids such as pictures, manipulatives, and multimedia resources. They can also use collaboration by having students work together in reading groups or book clubs.

Example #2: Math

In math class, teachers can use active learning strategies by having students solve real-world problems, create their own math games, or use manipulatives to visualize concepts. They can also use technology such as educational apps or online simulations to supplement classroom instruction.

Example #3: Science

Science classes can incorporate collaboration by having students work in groups to conduct experiments, analyze data, or research topics. Teachers can also use reflection by having students keep lab journals or participate in group discussions about their findings.

Example #4: Social Studies

In social studies, teachers can use meaningful relevance by connecting the subject matter to current events, issues, or students’ own experiences. They can also use multisensory instruction by incorporating multimedia resources, field trips, or guest speakers.


Brain-based learning is a powerful approach that can help teachers create more effective instructional strategies. By understanding the principles and elements of brain-based learning, and incorporating strategies that promote active learning, collaboration, and reflection, teachers can create a brain-compatible environment that promotes learning and retention. Whether teaching language arts, math, science, or social studies, brain-based learning is a teaching approach that can benefit all learners.

Want to learn more about brain-based learning? Check out our Brain-Based Learning PDF and PowerPoint for additional resources and tools!