Saturday, July 20, 2019

2019 EDU: TKR: Learning something? Use your head. Learning Skills

Learning something?  
Use your head.   
Learning Skills

You can learn how to learn.  Sure.  Learning is a skill.  Not something they usually teach in school.  Not an obvious skill, like being able to read.  Actually, learning calls for a collection of skills and habits.  And it calls for smart choices about the best way to use those skills and habits.
  • How easy is it for you to learn new things?
  • Do other people seem to learn new things more easily than you?
  • Do other people use learning skills that you are not using?
  • Below is a list of skills that people commonly use.
  • See if you are using all the skills you could use.


What you need to know to take charge of your own learning

  • Know your objective.  That is how you take charge of your own learning.
  • If you don't know your objective, you are just following orders.
  • Know what you want to do with what you are learning.
  • Know how to do your own research on the web
  • Know your best sources.
  • Know how to organize what you know.
  • Know how to create memory aids when you need them.
  • Know how to use imagery to learn things you can visualize.
  • Know how to turn what you want to remember into a story.
  • Know how to help run a study group.


What do you want to be able to do when you finish?

  • Don't use vague terms like "know the material."
  • Instructors can sometimes get away with that. Don't accept that for yourself.
  • Nobody can tell what you know.  You get evaluated by what you can do

Suppose it is just passing a test

  • Then you need to be able to give good answers on a test.
  • Passing a test is what instructors usually mean by "know the material."

Maybe it is to be able to do something useful

  • Maybe you want to be able to perform a useful task.  
  • If so, you goal is more about doing, less about taking a test.

Are you going to take a test?  What kind of a test?

Multiple choice tests 

Short answer tests

Essay tests

  • Pay attention to the key concepts section below.  
  • Practice explaining those key concepts to someone.
  • Or rehearse what you you would tell someone about the key concepts.
  • How to prepare for essay tests

Actually do something

  • Practice doing it.  Talking about something is no substitute for doing it.
  • If you can't actually do that something, imagine doing it.  

Learning tips

Key concepts

Most study assignments have a collection of important concepts.  Part of your work is to get to know and understand these key concepts.  
1. Find them.  You find key concepts in the headings, introductions, summaries, and questions at the end of the chapter.  You also know them by their markings: HypertextBold type and italics.  A good study guide would have a glossary of key concepts with terms, definitions, explanations, and examples.
2. Pick the troublemakers: those ideas that you need to know and understand much better than you do when you first meet them.
3. Take names.  Use standard note cards.  On one side, put the name of the concept.  Include any phrase that helps you remember how people talk about the concept.
4. Take I.D.  On the other side of the card, put reminders of what you may need to recall when you meet the concept.  These will usually be descriptors.  But they don’t have to be words.  Try for graphic reminders if you can find them.  (Your word processor probably has some clipart you can use).     
You will probably need several items here.  If there are too many for one card, the concept you are using is probably too broad.  Try to split it into two concepts.
5.  Brain check 1.0.  Go through the cards soon after you make them.  Look at the concept side and try to recall what is on the back.  Them look at the back.  Put a green dot by the items you did recall.  Put a red dot by the items you did not recall correctly.
6.  Brain check 2.0.  Go through the cards again a few hours later.  Do the same as on check 1.  If possible, do this check close to bed time.
7.  Brain check 3.0.  Do another check the next day.  The expression “know it cold” applies if you get all the answers right after leaving the cards alone for at least a day. 
8.  Brain booster.  If you don’t know it cold, carry the cards around with you.  When you have a free moment, take out one of the cards and do a brain check with it.   
9.  Feel good.   When you are satisfied with what you can answer, enjoy your satisfaction.  One of the main benefits of the recalling cards is that they tell you when you have finished.  Keep your cards for later review.  But you may want to keep them on your wall.  With all those green dots showing.  They may not be as impressive as rhino heads.  But they’ll take you farther. 

Learning lists

Imagery in sequence

Many people have very good memory for imagery.  You can use your visual memory to remember a list of things by imagining the things in a place you already know.  You want a place you walk through in a standard sequence.  A familiar shopping center might be a good choice.  You can easily walk though that place in your imagination.  
To connect your list with that sequence you already know, imagine the first item on your list in the first store.  Imagine that item in the store window or in the doorway.  If it looks unreasonable, that's fine.  Unusual things are easier to remember.  
If the thing is an abstraction, it will be made of a collection of things.  Think of one image the stands out as representing the abstraction.  (Legal system calls to mind an image of a court room.)  Or imagine a pile of things that fit under the abstraction.
Do the same thing for the second item on the list, but imagine it at the second store.  And then use that method to put each item on the list in the familiar sequence of places in the shopping center.
Practice the sequence a few times when you have a moment to spare.

Acronyms and Silly Sentences

Short lists, long names, and common expressions are often encoded into acronyms to make them easier to talk about and to remember.  But long lists make long acronyms.  When acronyms get too long, you check with the Ministry of Silly Sentences. 
In many areas of study, silly sentences have already been prepared.  For example: the 12 cranial nerves:  
  • On Old Olympic Towering Tops, A Finn And German Viewed Some Hops.
This, or a similar sentence, is known by students of neural anatomy, because the first letter of each word is the first letter of a cranial nerve.  The sentence helps remember the anatomical sequence.



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