Hacking Our Brains for Learning
Observational learning is ubiquitous. We very often observe and pick up information about how others behave and subsequently replicate similar behaviours in one way or another. Focusing on observational learning, I investigate human imitation, the mechanisms that underpin it as well as the processes that complement it, in order to assess its contribution to learning and education. Furthermore, I construe emotion as a scaffold for observational learning and bring together evidence about its influence on selective attention. Finally, I flesh out possible ways in which the insights about the role of imitation in learning could help design a more effective and equally rewarding learning environment. Specifically, I suggest that perhaps the simplest and most effective way to foster learning via promoting imitation is through letting learners of various ages co-exist. The benefits of learning in a mixed-age group are assessed.
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