Tag Archives: Brain Training

BBC study on Brain Training

The BBC will tomorrow broadcast a programme on a study they funded on ‘Brain Training’ type programs – and which has had its results published in Nature. The study found that:

While players got progressively better at the games, the gains were not transferable, Nature journal reports.

Players gained nothing in terms of general reasoning, memory, planning or visuospatial abilities, experts found.

But they say more work is needed to see if workouts for the mind can help keep the brain “fit” as it ages.

More on the program here.

Note that this is distinct and quite different from the Brain Training study that LTS ran in Scottish schools – which did find that math Brain Training games did help students learn math (published in BJET). There will be a number of reasons for the difference – the LTS study was using games which asked students to do exercises similar to normal arithmetic exercises – and math was still being taught in class. Perhaps successful transfer of learning is boosted when learning in a game is reinforced with learning in a second setting?

(Offhand, a lot of work on transfer of learning has shown that being able to apply problem solving skills in multiple domains requires learning in multiple domains – which is why some children can solve problems in math class but not solve similar problems in different settings, or vice versa).

Scottish Learning Festival 2008

Only made it to the last afternoon of the Scottish Learning Festival due to teaching and other work commitments. Made it to one presentation on using a computer game to help children develop a winning mentality – and a set of psychological skills which can help lead to success. I also bumped into Derek Robertson who revealed that the first results from LTS’ 32 school trial of Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training (16 test, 16 control) have been released – and having had a look at the results they are very encouraging indeed.

More on both, below. Continue reading

Edutainment for the masses

Proof (if any was needed) that commercial serious gaming is here hit me last night when I saw adverts for UbiSoft’s My Health Coach on television – a Nintendo DS game that comes with its own pedometer! The ‘game’ advises you on your diet and daily exercise, providing advice and encouragement to keep a healthier lifestyle. From a series of My Coach ‘games’ that include the likes of My Word Coach (improve your word-power) and My Life Coach (improve everything, presumably).

Meantime, global games publishing giant Electronic Arts are taking the (apparently well known in the US) Brain Quest school curriculum based card decks to DS -

Brain Quest is EA Casual Entertainment’s first educational game and we are thrilled to bring this beloved brand into the videogame space,” said Robert Nashak, VP of Casual Studios, EA Casual Entertainment. “By adapting the series to the DS, we are able to reach today’s tech savvy children and provide them with an educational experience that is interactive, engaging, and fun.

I don’t think anyone would have predicted this Dr Kawashima effect – educational games are now fully part of the mainstream. That didn’t take long…