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To many of you, the topic may sound absurd, so absurd, you’d wanna skip. But, mind it! If you’re one among those few who don’t wanna waste your life chasing after girls and materialistic things, you’d keep reading till the end of this paragraph.

Barbara Oakley is an American Professor of Engineering at Oakland University and McMaster University whose online courses on learning are some of the most popular MOOC classes in the world. She is involved in multiple areas of research, ranging from STEM education, to engineering education, to learning practices

WIkiPedia, the free encyclopedia

Learning How To Learn talks about simple, yet effective and spellbinding practices of helping one learn and retain information more effectively, and in an organized manner.

Dr Barbara has an MOOC on coursera.org.

Learning How to Learn On Coursera

If I were you, I’d click the link and enroll to the course right away.

Well, tbh, I’ve not taken the course yet. But the stats are awing and stats don’t lie. I personally enjoyed going through the entire book. It talks mainly about two things – two different modes of thinking. THE DIFFUSED and the focused mode of thinking.

The methods described in the book are coming from research in neurosciences and their teaching practices. I was stunned by the versatility of the methods since they addressed so many of my weak points like memorization, avoiding procrastination, avoiding distractions, and short-term gratifications. Having a better understanding of the workings of our brains helps in understanding why specific learning and organizing techniques are working better than others and why we should take care of aspects and things that might seem vague.

The book clearly highlights the importance of sleep and other he effect of the environment (the place, the light, the sounds), the immense attention-destruction power of distractions, and how to prevent it.

“It’s actually not rocket science,” said Dr. Oakley — but she’s careful where she says that these days. When she spoke at Harvard in 2015, she said, “the hackles went up”; she crossed her arms sternly by way of grim illustration.

NYtimes
Learning How To Learn : Barbara Oakley

THE FOUR MAIN TECHNIQUES MENTIONED IN THE BOOK

  • Don’t Focus:
    Conventionally, we’ve been taught our entire lives to focus. The book suggests not to focus. Our brains have two methods of solving problems – focused and diffused. The focused one comes into action when the adrenaline rushes in. And the diffused one is lazy, so lazy it only wakes up at night. In other words, when you feel exhausted, the brain starts to connect the dots and helps you feel relieved, and ultimately solves problems without, we even being aware of that.


  • VACATION
    All of us have a tendency to get rewarded and appreciated for every effort that we make.
    Dr. Oakley has presented a method called the “Pomodoro Technique’ to help people cope up with procrastination. “Pomodoro” is an Italian word which etymologically meant TOMATO.
    Set a reminder of certain minutes, that could vary from person to person – while you’re working, regardless of what you do.
    Say you play the guitar for 30 minutes, and you get bored. Reward yourself by doing something that you adore the most. It could be anything. Kissing your favorite pet, going for a stroll outside the park, making coffee for yourself, et. Cetera.



  • SPACED REPETITION(CHUNKING)
    Whatever new information comes to our brain, that newbie acts like a total stranger to our uniquely designed brained. Thus making it difficult for us to grasp new and vague concepts and things. It’s, therefore, necessary that you familiarise yourself with whatever you’re learning. Reading time and again will adhere to the neurons of the brain. And thus helps us retain information for a comparatively longer period of time. Don’t ever let yourself get astonished by the severity of something cumbersome to grasp.


  • Analyze your Depth ( Know Yourself )
    Dr. Oakley suggests everyone analyze themselves before learning anything new and abstract.” Racecar Brains” are real good at processing new information. But “DriftCar Brains”, too, are an advantage since they can retain all the small details – those details which the racecar brains laze to notice.

References

–Kuldeep Keshari


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