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The Emerging Domain of Neuro-Informatics.

Neuro informatics, to some, would look like a new word on the block. Perhaps, it is unfamiliar. It deals with brain research and a neglected part of learning: the 'how' of learning and the response to learning. The unfortunate overemphasis on information gathering has been a bane in many parts of the world to the approach to learning. This needs a rectification.

Quite simply, one of the major reasons for the relatively low ranking of Indian institutions in the global pecking order is because of this distorted balance. Consider some of the most celebrated institutions of, say, Management, in India. In the international ranking order, they figure nowhere.

The International Brain Research Organisation is one of the front runners in its chosen domain of excellence. It also focusses on methods of experiential learning and attempts to scientifically analyse it. The brain networks are scrutinised using the latest tools. In many cases its recommendations end up with a plea to go back to fundamentals.

Fundamentals may include some essential approaches like helping the mind to maintain equilibrium. It will have a simple operational recommendation of 'not doing anything in excess'. Illustratively, no over eating, no overwork, no excessive criticism of others, no excessive sleeping and more of the type. What could be simpler?

Working on one's own cognitive system, through tools of brain research, helps one to realise that it does not work to try too hard to change other people. What is the point of considering others to be malformed when the other person himself does not recognise it?

Hence, the area of neuroinformatics becomes one of the basics of learning, how to learn. A simple approach of meditating every morning and evening is a template of coming to terms with the chaos around us.

If one can regulate one's stress and emotions and build resilience, one would realise that happiness does not always need money. This however is more easily said than done. It is both daunting and inspiring. Strange as it may sound, many thoughts and behaviour arise from a biological condition. The co-ordinated activities of our brain cells also influence our dreams and aspirations.

In more realistic terms and to gain a feel of the real world, it would help to remind oneself that the study of neuroscience and degenerative diseases gives some solutions in the domain of neuropsychiatry.

Coming close to the material world, it is estimated that the brain weighs up to 1400 grams and consists of approximately, 2 per cent of the total body weight.

Human experiences can be improved. They need support from heightened functional connectivity of the brain. This approach would help us to know how, choices, are exercised.

The way one chooses the preferred course of action includes an understanding of the outcome of our thoughts and action. These thoughts could come from a specific area in the brain and yet involve the brain as a whole. This approach could be called 'blended learning'. It helps to make learning a more active process. This having been said and realised many functions of the brain are little comprehended.

It is unfortunate that deviant behaviour draws more attention than methods of improving capability. If we accept that understanding of the brains complexities should be the new frontier of learning, not only in India but globally, the landscape would dramatically and effectively change. At the end of the day much of life has to do with creating meaning. This requires leading edge research on the theory, policy and practise of human capital development.

Skill and competency development need not be reduced to sloganeering and the pedestrian, which indeed in its own right may be important. One needs to come to grips to the exercise of framing new questions. Unless, we know how to frame the new questions, the problem of creating fuller learning and meaning will remain elusive.

The processes of life-long learning need to be explored far more comprehensively than what they have been done so far. New frontiers of resilience and determination are needed in the domain of learning. Else, merely passing through well beaten tracks of 'standard' degree/diploma oriented learning to pursue personal pleasures or comfort may be an easy goal, but surely it is not adequate pay back for the many graces the resourceful have been blessed with. Indeed, further, without the above elaborated approach to learning, even the more needed goals of skill formation and capability development would be hard to meet. The present state of affairs, in capacity development, is a testimony to the relevance of this statement.

Dr. Vinayshil Gautam, FRAS (London)
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Title Annotation:From the Desk of the Honorary Chief Editor
Author:Gautam, Vinayshil
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Oct 1, 2017
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