BrainX’s Expert Learner Study Skills Program
Successful Lifelong Learners
Expert Learner Program Overview
BrainX is partnering with leading study skills and neuroscience researchers to offer a comprehensive study skills program grounded in students’ understanding how their brains work.
The Expert Learner Program is delivered by a BrainX Personal Digital Tutor. The tutor becomes acquainted with each student through a series of online assessments. Then, he or she (students select their own tutor) customizes course content to the knowledge and skill level of each student. Because it is personalized, the program has been proven effective with students from 5th grade to college level.
An independent research study performed by the Orange County California Department of Education shows that a group of students who used the BrainX system increased performance by 142% over a control group that did not use the system.
Research shows that students who have been taught how their own and everyone’s brains work, “get” that the brain has the ability to grow and learn. These students tend to be more motivated to learn than those who are not introduced to this concept. BrainX students consistently demonstrate the resilience required to work through study challenges and test preparation. Dr. Carol Dweck, a Stanford professor and author of the influential book Mindsets, has shown that most students adopt one of two mindsets; Limited fixed mindsets or growth mindsets. Both have profound influences over brain function.
Limited, fixed mindsets
Many students who have not been introduced to the basics of how the brain works form a limited, fixed mindset. They believe that intelligence is something they either have or don’t have. The mindset is ingrained and unchangeable, much like accepting the fact that your eyes are either brown or blue. Two possible consequences result:
- Students believe they are of below average intelligence. These students can be easily identified because they often make statements like; "I can’t do math," or "I am a bad test taker."
- Neuroscience researchers have demonstrated that for these students, math problems and tests activate the fight or flight mechanism in their brains. The mechanism actually reduces blood flow to the parts of the brain needed to learn math or do well on tests. In essence, the belief becomes self-fulfilling.
- Other students believe they are naturally smart and do not put forth the level of effort needed to reach their full potential. These students have excuses as well. Their excuses sound as if they don't care about their grades: "I could have earned an 'A' on the test but I didn't study for it." Deep inside, these students resist challenging work. Their fear is that if they attempt challenging work and fail, others might discover that they aren't that smart after all.
Both ends of the fixed mindset spectrum are damaging to student performance and can trump students’ knowledge and potential.
Building on Dr. Dweck’s work on mindsets, the Expert Learner Program addresses and overcomes these types of issues by teaching students at an early age that effort and study strategies are responsible for academic success. This in turn, fosters a more open, growth mindset, that is, students believe that through effort they can improve their intelligence.
Expert Learner Program Details
In delivering the Expert Learner Program, BrainX partners with Mindsetworks and their Brainology program. Brainology works to help students believe they can achieve at high levels.
5th – 7th Grade Component
The Brainology program focuses on increasing motivation and increasing a student's belief in their ability to learn a variety of subjects, and become expert test takers. This is called self-efficacy. The program also teaches students specific content and skills related to speaking, listening and study habits through two means:
- Introducing students to brain function…
The program begins by having students view videos and interact with simulations about how their brain works. These videos and simulations are provided by BrainX partner Mindsetworks and their Brainology program.
Click here to see a group of 6th graders using Brainology.
As considerable research shows, after children understand more about how the brain works, they realize that their abilities and intelligence are not fixed at current levels. They learn that they can build and mold their own intellectual capabilities. Students experience learning success, some perhaps for the first time. This in turn motivates them to go further.
- Learning study skills and strategies…
Next, as students are introduced to neuroscience-backed study skills, they adopt the strategies and skills needed for academic success. The study skills give students what they need in order to act upon their enhanced motivation and self-efficacy.
They key is this: Teach and develop learning and study skills by demonstrating that what makes the strategies effective is tied to the way the brain works.
8th -12th Grade and College Component
The BrainX Expert Learner Program’s study skills courses teach students to apply study strategies to their course content in ways that adapt to their unique ability and the specific learning situation.
BrainX’s Digital Tutor begins by teaching basic study strategies that help every student. More motivated students are able to advance to powerful strategies used by the most successful PhD. students. The goal is to make each student an autonomous expert learner. This includes, but goes beyond understanding and believing in strategies; it moves forward to practical application in core subjects. Students apply strategies in as many subjects as possible; later they will be able to confidently adapt them to different subjects, teachers, tests and timelines.
BrainX is based on solid research, delivered through technology in ways that enable learners to use the most effective and efficient means to learn and retain any subject matter content they encounter. Students are not just told how to study, they are provided with online tools that accelerate the planning and creation of effective study material like study questions.
Some of the strategies covered are:
- Expert Active Reading
- Expert Active Listening
- Expert Note Taking Strategies
- Expert Speed Writing Strategies
- Expert Time Management Strategies
- Expert Organization Skills
- Expert Study Strategies
- Expert Test Preparation Strategies
- Expert Test Taking Strategies
- Expert Post Test Strategies
- Expert Mental Preparation and Stress Management Strategies
- Mastering and using Academic Vocabulary
Teacher Training Component
The Expert Learner program also includes powerful teacher training for all teachers.
- Study Skills: Teachers learn the entire Expert Learner program and how to use powerful online tools to monitor student progress.
- Core Subjects: Teachers receive instruction on how to integrate study strategies into core classroom subjects like Math and English.
The result is dramatic improvements in overall academic performance. In most cases, students' performance improves by one to two grade point levels in the first month. BrainX has numerous studies showing students going from 'C' averages to 'A' averages in a semester or less.
In one case, when parents purchased the Expert Learner program for a small group of students at a Texas school, a teacher at the school tried to have the private use of the BrainX system prohibited because she felt it gave the students who used the program an unfair competitive advantage over students who did not have access to the program. We believe that every student should be given access to the Expert Learner program so that every student is equipped to effectively function in the academic arena and to reach their full academic potential.