In a traditional classroom, we have the luxury of answering clarifying questions and reminding students of the sequence of tasks, and we can provide lots of visual and verbal cues to help students stay organized and on-task. In an online environment, we don’t have the same opportunities to support students in the moment, so it’s incumbent on us to be intentional and consistent in how we present learning materials to them. Otherwise we risk creating unnecessary confusion and frustration; in other words: we can’t change the weather, or lighten traffic, but we can make sure the streets are well lit and there are signs to guide their way.
In 2002, the UK’s Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published a report titled “Understanding the Brain: The Birth of a Learning Science.” The authors dedicated an entire chapter to carefully dissecting and dispelling neuromyths, which they defined as “misconception[s] generated by a misunderstanding, a misreading, or a misquoting of facts scientifically established (by brain research) to make a case for use of brain research in education and other contexts”. Since the report was published, study after study has shown that several of the neuromyths dispelled by the OECD are still widely accepted by educators around the world.