Learning How to Learn: Part 1

I am taking this course on coursera right now, and it is truly enlightening. Since I have just completed an intense course, with a grueling learning curve, I thought it a good idea to find out a bit more about how people learn. What I am finding is that my instincts were right about what was working for me and not working for me while in bootcamp. Now I am learning the science behind why.

Here are some of the highlights so far:

  1. Focused and Diffused Modes
    This represents two ways of thinking that your brain needs in order to properly pick up new material. Focused is the mode of concentrated thinking. Its what you are doing when you study, and the way that many of us have been taught to learn. Diffused is what you are doing when you are not studying. It is a non focused way of learning. So this explains why when you are taking a walk, or in the shower your brain can solve a problem. Or even why when you fall asleep you may dream of the answer. You need both in order to learn new information.

  2. Pomodoro Method
    I already used this, but I didn’t know it was a thing. This is a method of focused study for short periods, like 25 mins, followed by a short reward (5 to 7 mins) of a break. This could include surfing the internet, having chocolate (mmm) or just taking a stretch. The point is that it allows you to use both modes of learning, and to chunk information down so that it is easier for you to grasp, since you are only doing it in 25 mins.

  3. Sleep
    You need sleep in order to learn. I know that we know this already, but once we get busy, we stop making sleep a priority. But we shouldn’t. It turns out that when we are thinking throughout the day, we have microtoxins filling our brain. How do we get rid of that? Sleep. When we sleep, our brain cells shrink up and allow the toxins to flow out. So if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you are literally thinking with a toxic brain. Not worth it.

  4. Exercise and Enrichment
    People learn better in an enriching environment. This means that you are surround by other creatives and intellectuals. You have people to ask questions to and to discuss things with. Another way that people learn better; if they exercise. Yes, here is another reason to exercise. But this goes out especially to the introverts out there. If you are spending more of your time alone, then exercise is a good way for you to boost your learning. It helps in the absence of an enriching environment.

I already finished the first week in a few days, cause I’m a nerd like that. I cant to see what comes next. I will share what I find here, of course.

Happy Learning!


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