Most of us spend some good time trying to learn new things, but actually how many of us have ever stopped to think about the key principles behind the learning process? ~ Gianni
I recently take a course about
Learning How To Learn, in which I learn about how the brain works, how to apply learning techniques and tricks to get along well with your brain, and to learn more effectively. Here are some take aways
Metaphor and analogy help simplifying matters
Focused vs diffuse mode
You’re either in the focused mode or the diffuse mode of thinking. It seems you can’t be in both thinking modes at the same time.
- Focused: intense thinking, uninterruptedly
- Diffuse: leave what you’re doing and relax. Here you can look at things broadly from a very different, big picture perspective
Have you ever had a problem that you couldn’t find a solution and then suddenly after a good night of sleep you woke up with a brilliant idea? That’s because sleeping is another moment when your brain naturally falls into the diffuse mode.
Thomas Edison knew the importance of the diffuse mode. When faced with a problem, Edison would sit and relax in his chair, holding ball bearings in his hand. He would then relax away letting his mind run free until fall as sleep. Once he felt as sleep, the ball bearings would drop and make him wake up with the noise. He would then get back to his work and take advantage from the ideas he got while in diffuse mode
Deal with procrastination
People tend to procrastinate, because our brains tend to turn away unease new things to something more pleasant and familiar
Use Pomodoro technique, set a timer of more than 25 minutes, uninterruptedly. Then promise to give yourself a reward
Practice Makes Permanent
When facing new and abstract concepts, like Monad :P it’s important to practice with ideas and concepts to help enhance and strengthen the neural connection your making during the learning process.
Checking if you have any holes in your understanding of the material is a good first step. Create a test checklist where you can go from each point and recall everything you learned. If there’s something that is not 100% clear yet, then you probably still need to spend time on it.
Prefer spaced repetition
If you want to move that information into your long term memory, it often takes time and practice.
Spaced repetition involves repeating what you’re trying to retain, but what you want to do is space this repetition out, daily, over a number of days
Plain being awake creates toxic products in your brain, and sleeping remove these toxic. Sleeping is also when you go into your diffuse mode.
Sleep has also been shown to make a remarkable difference in your ability to figure out difficult problems and to understand what you’re trying to learn.
Chunking is when you grasp and master various bits and pieces of the skills you need. You’re creating little neural mini chunks, that you can then gradually knit together into larger neural chunks
Forming initial chunk by going through examples, creating a road map of what you need to go through
- Focus your undivided attention on the information you want to chunk
- Understand the basic idea
- See the connection between the basic elements
- Practice and repetition
Recall instead of reread. After you’ve read the material, simply look away, and see what you can recall from the material you’ve just read
Concept mapping, drawing diagrams that show the relationship between the concepts would be the best.
Avoid illusion of competence
Merely glancing at a solution and thinking you truly know it yourself is one of the most common illusions of competence in learning.
Test it, recall it to see whether you actually grasp the idea.
By recalling and thinking about the material when you are in various physical environment, you become independent of the cues from any one given location
Continuing to study or practice after you’ve mastered what you can in the session is called overlearning.
Deliberate practice by focusing on the more difficult material.
Each practice session should be focused on one individual skill. Usually, each skill built upon the one before it
Remember Einstellung, a phenomenon, in which an idea you already have in mind or a neural pattern you’ve already developed and strengthened, may prevent a better idea or solution from being found
Can you recall a situation where you kept trying the same thing over and over again, even though it wasn’t working at all !!
It’s much easier to remember numbers by associating them with memorable events
Create meaningful groups that simplify the material. It takes a bit of time to conjure up a solid mental image. But the more you do it, the quicker it becomes
It is hard to learn when you’re not into it. But if it’s something you’re really interested in, learning is easy
Taking responsibility for your own learning is one of the most important things you can do
The big picture
Structure your learning before you get started
Spend some time planning and identifying the key parts of your learning