Learning how to learn? I repeatedly shared thoughts about the excellent course about "learning aobut learning", created and taught by Dr. Barbara Oakley (Professor of Engineering, Oakland University) and Dr. Terrence Sejnowski - both top-notch intellectuals and extraordinarily human beings, with extremely interesting things to say. Here is the certificate for the course I am talking about, for everyone to take - the course is free on coursera.
I enjoyed the course tremendously and I was observing myself while learning - while not completely caught in the flow - and applying the techniques in this course - for one tough exam I needed to pass recently. I just had time today to finalize the course and get my certificate ( shared with you in this post)
This course is about exploring efficient and powerful ways of learning ( there are also wrong, not- productive way, as we all know and eventually experienced), by using the latest discoveries in neuroscience: our brain is an amazing instrument, which should be used as full capacity while learning, by alternating difussed and focused modes of thinking, using metaphors and visual images when understanding new concepts, using interleaving while trying to retain these new concepts ( which means switching back and forth through old and new concepts, while incorporating the new ones in our "memory bank"), training our long term memory by using repetition or recalling ( all the terms are explained in the course, I encourage you to read it)
What is interesting is the fact that I believe for some people, mostly from my generation, some of these techniques were somehow intuitive - I remember that while studying for my exams, I was applying difussed/focused mode of thinking, interleaving, metaphors and visual images, recalling, repetition....Alternating difussed and focused thinking modes was my favorite. For example, the catastrophe theory in riemannian geometry an analogy with the child developing in a mother's womb was used by my teacher then, and it stuck to my memory, and I was able to recall it now, while I am writing this little essay.
I have studied Mathematics and then I taught myself how to code, while now I enjoy playing with abstract concepts while creating and teaching adults new ways of creating software methodologies.
As a side project, I love teaching kids and kids how to code. "Learning how to learn" s course inspired me to think of rebranding my school and start teaching them how to learn first. Because we need to find new ways of educating kids in the era of AI and technology, make them understand while sometimes pen and paper and handwriting is the best way to retains something in your memory bank. Technology is just a tool - the main thing is to be able to adapt and to learn new things and enjoy the process of doing so. Only this way they will be able to boos their creativity and finding school useful and they will be motivated to learn.
I really like to learn - I guess I am lucky, since for me an intellectual challenge is something I enjoy. I also like to teach and mentor - and the ultimate way to learn something new is to teach it to somebody else. But this course is presenting tools and techniques for everyone to boost their learning tools and techniques and enjoyment. Because with the right tools and techniques and with the right mindset (grow your passion, not just find your passion) you can excel in anything you want to do.