learning how to learn course completed

Over Christmas, I finished my first Coursera course, Learning How to Learn, which I highly recommend to anyone. Here are some new techniques I learned which I hope to put into practice:

  1. Practice 25 minutes of “focussed” learning (Pomodoro technique) followed by a few minutes of “diffuse” thinking to create new learning “chunks” (networks of neurons).
  2. Use practice and repetition to build, enhance and strengthen neural structures and patterns, to move learning from short-term to long-term memory. Short term memory can only hold about 4 items. Spacing learning helps it move from short to long term.
  3. Commit to good sleep and exercise. Sleep helps clear the “toxins” that build up around your brain cells. Exercise and sleep help new neurons (which form daily) survive.
  4. Prompt dreams to help understanding.
  5. Use spatial memory (humans excel in this): “Memory place techniques” (using physical locations as visual notepads), metaphors, analogies and “being in” the concept you are trying to memorize.
  6. Recognise “knowledge collapse“, which happens when your brain is wrestling with new learning and is often about to leap forward.
  7. Practice “interleaving“, moving back and forth between previous and new learning.
  8. Override “zombie” procrastination habits by recognising the cues that set them off. New learning is initially experienced as pain and can launch us into our zombie habits. Have a plan for developing new routines.
  9. Write a weekly list of key tasks, and a daily list each evening before bed (your brain works on it while you sleep). Set rewards for completing tasks.
  10. Eat your frogs first (do the things first that you dislike most).

 

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