How to Learn
[Last Updated: 2020-05-03]
Based on the Learning How to Learn Coursera Course
You can’t be in both modes at the same time!
When learning something new and difficult, the mind needs to be able to go back and forth between the focused and diffused mode. This helps learning effectively.
Mental leaps that unite scattered bits of information through meaning
How to form a chunk?
Focuson new Material!
Understandthe basic idea
Practiceto gain context
- Learn when and when not to use the chunk
- See the bigger Picture
Chunks play a vital role in information retention. They effectively compress and connect several areas of your study. They massively help build a bigger picture and may help you learn something in a different area faster due to small similarities.
Avoid the Illusion of Competence
Simply understanding the solution doesn’t mean having a solid grasp
Study, don’t just look at it!
Several steps can be taken to ensure you don’t fall into this trap:
- Take mini-tests
- Recall (Look away and try to recall as much as possible without looking at the solutions)
- Instead summarize key concepts by taking brief notes.
Make and learn from Mistakes
- Mistakes happen, embrace and learn from them
Use deliberate Practice
- Focus on the next harder thing. Don’t repeat stuff you’ve already mastered (Overlearning).
- Practice different techniques or concepts in one session
Also be aware of your Einstellung (Mindset). This is your initial Intuition that can hinder you from finding other solutions. Try and keep an open Mind!
A little bit every day, that’s the trick
Keep up with everybody and avoid last minute cramming!
The enemy and close friend of every student. Procrastination actually activates areas in your brain associated with pain and has similarities to addiction. It is a automatic habit we are mostly unaware of.
Habits are essentially energy savers, they “automate” tasks and free up mental resources.
The habit of procrastination (and habits in general) consists of the following steps:
- The Cue (e.g. cellphone, noise, open youtube tab) => APPLY WILLPOWER HERE
- This is where you may get into your habit of procrastination
- The Routine (What your zombie brain likes to do)
- The Reward (Why are you Procrastinating? What do earn from it?)
- The Belief
Key aspects of tackling Procrastination
- Keep a planner journal (and keep 2 lists)
- Weekly list of key tasks (dump of all important tasks)
- Daily To-Do List (Focus on a reasonable and achievable amount, try and make your To-Do’s SMART)
- Plan your quitting time. Have something to look forward too and have deadline.
- Commit yourself to a certain routines and tasks each day
- Write your daily plans (To-Do’s) the night before.
- Make sure you get rewarded
- Arrange your work into a series of small challenges (Make your Tasks SMART)
- Time bound
- Delay rewards until you finish the task
- Watch for procrastination cues
- Gain trust in your system
- Relax in breaktime without guilt or worry
- Have a backup plan for when you still procrastinate. Nobody is perfect
- Eat your frogs first everyday. Tackle the most important and disliked task first!
Working Memory Similar to a chalkboard that can fit around 4 items.
Long-Term Memory Analogous to a warehouse. Information can be retrieved when needed.
By retrieving long-term memory, the memory itself changes and strengthens through a process called Reconsolidation.
Humans are outstanding spatial and visual learners. Use this to your advantage by mapping things to remember to memorable visual cues. Make sure to make the visual cue as vivid as possible and include as many senses as possible.
You could also make use of the Memory Palace. With this strategy you place items to remember in a well known location you can traverse in your mind. Make sure to implement the last paragraph and place the items in memorable and silly situations.