Soup for thought

We digest food in different ways, and the same goes for learning.There are physical limits affecting both. Each of us has a different capacity to absorb new ideas and store information. But we live in an era where there is more pressure than ever to absorb and deliver in double quick time. There are also greater budget constraints, putting, even more pressure on the need to maximise learning input in minimal time.

How can we optimise the absorption and utilisation of information while minimising waste and staying within our budget?

Serve a FaceBoard Minestrone!

This recipe creates a learning feast that optimises digestion and retention of learning material while being fun, easy to use and cost effective as well.

The soup ingredients and cooking method are specifically designed to activate and stimulate the areas of the brain closely associated with long term memory and retrieval of information. In our age of easy access to information, workplace efficiency demands that the information is encoded sufficiently well in our brains for quick, easy retrieval.

The main ingredients are:

The FaceBoard game A FaceBoard JAMBED covering required knowledge and skills A handful of brains At least one device


The first step with the brains is to create Focus. To achieve this, resist the temptation to multitask - this is just a key to forgetting and it spoils the establishment of a strong learning foundation.

Now make the hippocampus fire. Stir in some novelty, excitement, reward and relevance. Next, add, in proportional quantities to the novelty etc, some challenge. Mix these ingredients. This combination will cause the release of two neurochemicals, Dopamine and Norepinephrine, which together make the hippocampus fire.

Once the hippocampus fires, the learning foundation is set.

Now you need to make Associations. All the memories in the brain are linked by a web of associations - different flavours. For a delicious complex soup with lingering taste, strong links are needed between the associations. To create these links, add a mix of good questions requiring connections with existing knowledge. Now add meaningful context for the responses. Give immediate feedback.

What the soup needs now, is a good dollop of feelings. When you add Emotion to the mix, the amygdala is stimulated and it starts to fire along with the hippocampus, grabbing attention even more.

Be careful not to turn up the heat too much, causing negative emotions - fear etc. This will make your soup memorable for the wrong reasons. Choose happy playful feelings and positive anticipation to add to the soup.

Now your soup needs time. All the flavours and associations must settle. At intervals afterwards, stir it up a little, mix in all the ingredients. Do this over time and your soup will have delicious, complex, lasting flavours. For the best soup, keep it and serve it in smaller helpings over time. You will find the results amazing.


Davachi, L. Kiefer, T. Rock, D and Rock, L. (2010). Learning that lasts through AGES. NeuroLeadership JOURNAL. 3 (1), p1-11.