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How novelty and reward can help to improve learning and development

By Sue Beavil, Learning & Organisational Development Manager, Slater & Gordon

18 September 2015

Learning is a vital element of personal and professional growth and, in
some cases, survival in an ever-changing environment.

It is well documented that the brain's hippocampus and amygdala play important roles in learning and memory. What has also been discovered, and is still being explored, is the relationship those parts of our brains have with novelty, reward and motivation.

We like new things. We like the novelty of having to understand what we are engaging with for the first time and which memories of previous experiences we can draw on to help us to understand the new relationship, gadget, place, activity and so on. The learning is related to the new connections between the neurones in our brains. In short, learning stimulates us and novelty stimulates learning. So, why do
we so readily spurn novelty in our
learning activities?

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