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The Learning Success Blog

Fast ForWord Founder: Award for Contribution to Neuroscience

Posted by Tilly Stevens on April 10, 2017 at 5:48 PM

Tilly Stevens

Fast ForWord founder Dr. Michael Merzenich has been awarded the Charles L Branch Brain Health Award by the University of Texas for his extraordinary contribution to neuroscience. 

Last year Dr Merzenich was also given the highest honour possible in the field of neuroscience – The Kavli Prize. This saw him granted a gold medal by the King of Norway and a banquet in his honour in the same venue as the Nobel Peace Prize.  

Dr Merzenich’s discovery of lifelong brain plasticity revolutionised the neuroscience world.

Plasticity describes the brain’s ability to learn by creating new connections between neurons within the brain.

Originally, it was thought that brains were only ‘plastic’ during early childhood as the brain developed. But Dr Merzenich’s research proved brains could change and adapt well into adulthood.

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Topics: Brain Science, Fast ForWord

Improve Executive Function with Fast ForWord123 Exercises

Posted by Tilly Stevens on April 3, 2017 at 5:28 PM

Tilly Stevens

Your brain is an amazing organ. Countless studies, experiments and articles have shown us this. The complexities and inner-workings of this powerhouse are still yet to be fully explored. 

Have you ever stopped to think what controls your brain? What prevents it from becoming mere chaos?

Well, it’s called Executive Function, and you need to know about it.

What is Executive Function and why do we need it?

Executive Function acts like the ultimate synthesiser – the general, one might say. It encompasses a range of abilities many people think are merely part of day-to-day functioning. These include:

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Topics: Fast ForWord, Executive Function

How You Can Spot Weak Cognitive Skills in Your Classroom

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 22, 2017 at 3:31 PM

Peter Barnes

What’s happening in your students’ brains when they can’t follow your classroom instructions? What if a student doesn’t want to answer your question? And why do some students struggle to tell a story?

These are all signs that a student may have a weakness in one or more key cognitive skills. Skills essential for learning.

As well as language skills, we all need four key thinking skills for effective learning. They are: memory, attention, processing, and sequencing.

Here are some behaviours you might notice if your students have a weakness in these skills:

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Topics: Learning Difficulties, Following Instructions, Fast ForWord, Educational Neuroscience, Early Learners

What is Fast ForWord123?

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 17, 2017 at 4:14 PM

Peter Barnes

Fast ForWord123 (FFW123) is a unique 3 step, evidence-based method for increasing students’ capacity to learn. It is a powerfully effective and scientifically validated method for improving learning outcomes where English is the language of instruction.

This method blends the best of education technology with empathetic support of human factors and motivation from the “reward economy”.

It builds cognitive skills essential for learning, and simultaneously improves the four components for learning-in-the-English-language: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

Scientists built & evolved FFW123 on 45 years of research

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Topics: Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity

25% improvement in writing skills in 11 weeks using Fast ForWord123

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 17, 2017 at 11:45 AM

Peter Barnes

25 university students who had Fast ForWord123 training for 11 weeks boosted their writing skills 25%.

This compares with a control group of 28 students at the same university who did not receive the training, and who showed no improvement over the same 11 week period.

Because no explicit practice with writing is included in the training program, the results of this study demonstrate that training in basic cognitive, listening, and reading skills generalise to improved writing ability.

The writing skills of the Fast ForWord 123 group were measured before and after training. The measurement tool was the OWLS Written Expression Scale. This is an internationally recognised standardised assessment which showed the 25 students improved their writing skills from below the control group students to above them after the training.

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Topics: Writing, Fast ForWord

Fast ForWord: How Much Evidence is Enough? Science & Real World

Posted by Peter Barnes on March 9, 2017 at 12:40 PM

Peter Barnes

A school principal recently said to me, “I’ve heard of Fast ForWord but there is no evidence that it works, is there?”

That wasn’t the first time I had heard that.

I’m always amazed when people say there is no evidence of Fast ForWord’s effectiveness. If they only looked, they would find hundreds of journal articles and school case studies with many examples of the success of over 2.5 million individuals who have done Fast ForWord over the last 20 years.

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Topics: Brain Science, Fast ForWord

Fast ForWord & Dyslexia: International Dyslexia Association

Posted by David Stanley on March 9, 2017 at 12:37 PM

David Stanley

LearnFast provides the Fast ForWord program to schools in Australia and New Zealand.

A teacher from one of the schools using Fast ForWord sent us an email saying:  “ One of the students has dyslexia and the mother will not let the child do Fast ForWord because of this Blog from an official publication of the International Dyslexia Association.”

It is difficult for parents to source objective and informed opinions to help them make decisions to help their child. How sad for them when incomplete information like this International Dyslexia Association blog from 2011 makes them fearful.

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Topics: Dyslexia, Fast ForWord

250 Research Studies Published on Fast ForWord & Reading Assistant

Posted by Peter Barnes on February 28, 2017 at 3:41 PM

Peter Barnes

How do you usually make decisions when you are thinking about an important purchase such as a car or a large household item like a refrigerator or washing machine?

Do you base your decisions on:

  1. How you feel (“I really like it”)?
  2. What others say about it?
  3. Comparisons of facts and data (fuel consumption, energy efficiency, reports by independent consumer organisations)?
  4. A combination of all of these.

Decisions about educational software

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Topics: English Language Learners, Fast ForWord, For Principals

Macquarie Uni’s MUSEC Briefing # 28: Academic vs Real World Evidence

Posted by David Stanley on February 21, 2017 at 4:12 PM

David Stanley

If you are considering a product to help your brain or improve academic performance, what evidence would you rely on?

Many people don't want to read research and thus seek a trusted advisor. Sadly, they are often unaware of potential conflicts of interest.

A case in point is the Macquarie University's Special Education Centre (MUSEC) brief discussed herein, where Macquarie University crudely used one meta-analysis to support their commercial initiative.

Can you rely on MUSEC for an independent, impartial and unbiased opinion?

What about the practical, real world gold standard evidence: 20+ years of product validation by millions of users around the world:

In 1996 four world leaders in neuroscience, after 25 years of ground-breaking research, formed a company (Scientific Learning Corporation). Their core product - Fast ForWord® translates neuroplasticity-based training research into educational programs to develop learning capacity and reading skills. It has been continually revised and enhanced ever since.

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Topics: Fast ForWord, For Principals

Education – Australia’s Leaning Tower of PISA?

Posted by Peter Barnes on December 13, 2016 at 2:02 PM

Peter Barnes

The Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy got its famous lean because the architects and engineers messed up back in the 14th century.

They didn’t build the foundations correctly.

In the 600 years since it was built the tower has turned into a tourist attraction. That’s lucky, because a tower with a lean isn’t much good for anything else.

From recent comments in the media about the latest PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) results an impartial observer could be forgiven for thinking that Australian education may be going the way of the Leaning Tower of Pisa -  interesting, but possibly not really doing the job it was built for.

The latest PISA results have shown that Australian students are continuing to fall behind other countries in maths and literacy. In the last 10 years Australia dropped from 6th to 12th in reading and from 9th to 20th in maths on this global comparison.

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Topics: Fast ForWord, Learning Capacity, Learning, For Principals

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All about Neuroscience & Learning

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Find out what’s happening on these and other topics related to neuroscience and learning, read comments on the latest research, and join the discussions.