Using Neuroscience Principles to Power Learning - A Guide to Success


Developing an effective learning strategy that engages employees and actually moves the needle on performance takes more than a "build it and they will come" approach. It requires a deep understanding of the science behind employee motivation and the age-old question: Why do people do the things they do?

Employee learning and development has the power to grow individuals, the business, and the results of L&D programs. But too frequently, it does not live up to its full potential because organizations don't root it in a deep understanding of what motivates and engages their people.

Organizations that shape their learning programs around the intrinsic needs and motivators of employees - rather than expecting employees to adapt to a one-size-fits-all approach to learning - can more effectively engage employees and optimize learning outcomes.


The business impact of learning and development is undeniable. A study by Bersin found that companies with high-impact learning programs generate, on average, three times higher profit growth than their peers.1 And research by PwC reveals that 46 percent of consumers would stop doing business with a company due to employees' lack of knowledge.2

But a learning strategy is only effective when employees are actually motivated to learn. And motivating employees is not about carrots or sticks. What motivates us is far more complex.

Our "caveman" brain, designed for survival on the savannahs of prehistory, now operates in the modern, always-on digital world. But our brains are still hardwired to respond to the same motivators and stressors. It's why neuroscience has become one of the hottest topics in corporate learning today: Organizations can use this understanding of how our brains work to design a learning environment that allows employees - and the business - to thrive. But while behavioral science has the power to motivate people to learn and change, it is also a complex, nuanced subject.

So, how can you apply concepts and techniques derived from neuroscience to take your learning strategy to the next level?


In today's fast-paced, rapidly changing business landscape, organizations need their people to stay current and relevant. Learning and development isn't a once-in-a-while activity. It's now a business-critical priority for increasing performance, staying competitive and improving employee engagement. And the latest neuroscience research is opening up a world of new possibilities for HR and learning leaders.

There are many neuroscience principles with practical applications in the L&D arena. By understanding the science behind employee motivation, organizations can create a learner-centric environment that improves learner engagement, boosts employee motivation, and encourages self-driven learning.

Rooted in neuroscience, here are three drivers of motivation that L&D leaders can draw from to design a high-impact learning strategy:

Emotion helps motivate learners and embed things in long-term memory. We are naturally drawn to experiences which make us feel things, which is why seeking out an emotive angle in your learning content can be very effective.

Loss aversion taps into our hardwiring to avoid losing. The prospect of losing is a very strong motivator for people to take action, as we feel a "loss" about twice as strongly as we feel a "win." It's one reason effective gamification techniques can be such a powerful motivator when it comes to employee learning.

Social storytelling harnesses the natural social drive to ask questions like "How will this make me look?" and "What are other people doing?" Creating a social learning experience that incorporates real-world stories is a fantastic way of engaging this innate drive.


In this step-by-step guide, you'll learn how to apply these three neuroscience principles of motivation - emotion, loss aversion, and social storytelling - in your own organization. You'll get the hands-on guidance you need to turn theory into practice and start applying these concepts to your L&D strategy immediately to improve learner engagement and learning outcomes.

Filled with straightforward, practical tips and examples based on the latest research in neuroscience, you'll get everything you need to supercharge your learning strategy and create a learning environment that empowers your people to learn new things!

You'll gain insights into:

  • Tips for supercharging your learning strategy using easy-to-apply principles from neuroscience
  • Three powerful drivers of motivation rooted in brain science and how to evoke them with learning content
  • Practical ways you can apply behavioral science concepts to motivate employees and achieve better learning outcomes

Download the guide today to get started designing a scientifically-driven learning experience that engages and motivates your people!

1 Bersin &Associates. "New Bersin & Associates Research Shows High-Impact Learning Organizations Generated Three Times Higher Profit Growth Than Their Peers." August 29, 2012.

2 PwC. "Companies have lost the human touch in customer experience." March 26, 2018.

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