Learning How To Learn

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Learning How To Learn by Mind Map: Learning How To Learn

1. Illusions of Competence in Learning

1.1. The illusions of competence often involves thinking you've mastered a concept when in reality, you've only mastered the easy parts of it.

1.2. Re-reading and other rote learning are less effective than recall techniques. The exception to this guideline is spaced repetition which is different and proven beneficial.

1.3. Overlearning

1.3.1. Repeating you know something well is ineffective and can even be harmful. For example, using the same problem solving patterns can lead to inappropriate application (if you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail).

1.3.2. Better off with deliberate practice of with content you're not as comfortable with

1.4. Testing repairs flaws in thinking

2. Types of Learning

2.1. Focused learning involves concentrated effort towards learning a specific subject. An example of focused learning is practicing flashcards to prepare for a test or reading a field manual to learn a new skill

2.2. Diffuse learning involves a soft, indirect focus of an idea followed by a break from it to enable the brain to subconsciously continue working on the problem. An example of diffused learning is focusing on a problem and then taking a walk and letting the mind wonder.

3. Memory

3.1. Short Term Working Memory

3.1.1. ~ 4 "slots" to hold information or chunks

3.2. Long Term Memory

3.2.1. Time + Practice help move memories from short term to long term memory

3.2.2. Spaced repetition is more effective as it builds stronger neural connections

3.3. Short term to Long term

3.4. Memory Palace is an effective technique involving using familiar locations with unusual or memorable imagery to expand working memory with access to long term memory. Over time, with practice, the easier memory becomes as creativity becomes easier.

4. Chunking

4.1. What

4.1.1. Pieces of information (neural pathways) bound together through meaning or use They can be large and complex, but still take up only one slot in your working memory

4.2. How

4.2.1. The 3 steps of Chunking are: Focused Attention Understanding Basic Idea Practice

4.2.2. Techniques can be tailored depending on the information being chunked.

4.2.3. Focus on the material at hand. Concentration acts a glue for the chunk Understand the principle or "gist" of the concept being taught. Once the gist is understood, commit to putting learning how and when to use the chunk as it fits into broader Gain context to know when to use the chunk. Context is the intersection of bottom learning (chunking and top down learning (big picture).

4.2.4. Recall technique (step away and test knowledge learned). The retrieval process enhances deep learning and solidifies chunks. Recall outside normal environment (e.g. the same room you normally learn) can enhance synthesis.

4.3. Why

4.3.1. Chunking helps you understand new concepts through a process called transfer. Chunking involves compressed information. Chunks can be used as a type of library to help solve problems. The more chunks (and the deeper they're embedded), the more tools you have to solve problems.

5. Motivation

5.1. Acetylcholine affects focused learning and attention Dopamine signals in relation to unexpected rewards Serotonin affects social life and risk taking behavior Emotion impacts cognition

5.2. Use the Pomodoro technique to mitigate procrastination and help shift thinking away from product towards embracing process.

6. Interleaving

6.1. Interleaving involves alternating different types of problem solving techniques, concepts and patterns. Knowing how and when to use a specific problem solving technique helps the brain make deeper connections.

6.1.1. This can lead to new and unexpected connections between different domains

7. Procrastination

7.1. Procrastination can give the illusion of feeling better , but only temporarily. In this capacity, procrastination shares traits with addiction. If left unchecked procrastination becomes a negative force multiplying destructive habit.

7.2. Habits have 4 components: 1. The Cue (generally location, time, mood, reaction) 2. The Routine 3. The Reward 4. The Belief To override a habit, change your reaction to the cue.

7.3. Focus on process instead of products or systems instead of goals. For example, focusing on a process (e.g. pomodoro cycle of studying) is easier and less likely to trigger aversion rather focusing on the product (finishing the work/course).

8. The Law of Serendipity

9. Optimizing Learning

9.1. New neurons are born in the hippocampus ever day. These neurons can help memory and cognition but need nurturing. Exercise, incremental exploration, and learning new concepts or ideas are 3 ways to improve the survival of these new neurons.

9.2. Creating a lively, memorable analogy or metaphor is one of the best ways to memorize and understand concepts. Metaphors connect to existing neural patterns and can be a good way to overcome einstellung effect (roadblock) in thinking.

9.3. Deliberately practicing difficult concepts is essential to rising above challenges and self-limiting perceptions (i.e. imposter syndrome)

9.4. Beware imposter syndrome which involves feelings of inadequacy for accomplishments

9.5. Teamwork and study groups helps expose flaws in thinking and can be a good way to prevent common errors with focused mode learning.

9.6. Hard Start - Jump to Easy Technique: Starting hard (focus on the hardest problem) and then switching to an easier problem is a great problem solving / test taking technique as it promotes switching from focused to diffuse mode for the harder problem.

9.7. Deep breathing techniques practiced over time can help when it comes time to test. This works in part by mitigating the fight or flight response.

9.8. If a testing involves multiple choice questions, try covering up the answers to promote recall.

9.9. How you interpret stress hormones like cortisol can make a real difference in outcomes. Re-framing test anxiety from "this test is hard" to "I'm excited to do my best" can help alleviate it.

10. Test Prep Checklist

10.1. Did you make a serious effort to understand the text and concepts being taught?

10.2. Did you work with peers or classmates on homework problems?

10.3. Did you attempt to outline every homework problem solution?

10.4. Did you actively participate in homework group discussions?

10.5. Did you consult with the instructor?

10.6. Did you understand ALL of your homework problem solutions

10.7. Did you ask in class for explanations of homework problem solutions that weren't clear to you?

10.8. Did you review the study guide and focus on areas that weren't comfortable or famliar?

10.9. Did you attempt to outline lots of problem solutions quickly without spending time really understanding the material and concepts?

10.10. Did you go over the study guide and problems with classmates and quiz one another?

10.11. Did you participate in a review session?

10.12. Did you get a reasonable night's sleep before the test?