Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Learning about learning

Peter Brown's book on "Making it Stick" covers a multitude of topics relating to the process of learning.    Many topics, wide ranging, get the book from the library and read it.

"If you think you can't, or you think you can't, you're right."

Learning can be seen as " Slowing down forgetting ".    Actually the most learning happens at times when you feel you're not learning anything at all:  while struggling to "figure it out".   This non-intuitive conclusion is what research is proving.

Hanging on to what you've learned, is effective when you review (retrieve the information) at spaced intervals, not too soon, not so late as to be relearning,

Retrieval effort is valuable: reflection (thinking about it, visualizing, thinking through the details of the steps, ... dare we say obsessing about it) helps consolidate the memory and learning.

Avoid the trap of familiarity - other incorrect impressions of learning process - most learning when trying very hard, not feeling successful --  we misinterpret short term familiarity with actual long term learning.

To work on the "retrieval":  change order of review, difference between abstract knowledge and deep familiarity that allows use in different environments -- Leitner boxes are and example -- http://leitnerportal.com/LearnMore.aspx

Embrace difficulties:  the more EFFORT you put into retrieval, the better the learning sticks with you.  Better to attempt a solution and supply the wrong answer than not to make the attempt, because the effort helps consolidate the learning.

Mistakes and errors are constructive parts of learning -- not a sign of failure but of effort.

* Okay, differentiate between fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence:  read up on it.
* Similarly,  System 1 and System 2 knowledge and how they are used.

Interesting:   incompetent people have a surprisingly high (and wrong) assessment of their ability.  The irony of this observation is that because they are already sure they know everything, they also have no incentive to actually find out any facts or learn anything about a subject.

Learning styles are a myth:  effective learning uses every possible style.   Not only that, some are more important than others:   in fact, fluency with words happens to be important.  In short:  practice the skills to read and write; sure it's hard, but as above, effort consolidates the larning.

1. Master the complexities:   study it, be in charge
2. Embrace every style of learning, particularly ones that are hard for you:  the effort is what counts
3. Practice retrieval, interleaved, spaced learning.
4. Distill the underlying principles, build the structure of your knowledge

Increase your abilities:  do and learn something new.  It will all become useful in the larger scope of things.

"Don't stop"  (that's from me).

Does your service provider support 2FA ?