“Focused” and “Diffused” Modes - Deepstash

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What I learned from Coursera's "Learning How to Learn"

“Focused” and “Diffused” Modes

When learning, there are times in which you are focused and times in which you allow your mind to wander. Both modes are valuable to allow your brain to learn something.

Take regular breaks, meditate, think about other things, and give yourself plenty of time in both modes.

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What I learned from Coursera's "Learning How to Learn"

What I learned from Coursera's "Learning How to Learn"

https://medium.com/learn-love-code/learnings-from-learning-how-to-learn-19d149920dc4

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Key Ideas

Chunking

This is the idea of breaking what you want to learn into concepts. 

The goal is to learn each concept in a way that they each become like a well-known puzzle piece. 

In order to master a concept, you not only need to know it but also to know how it fits into the bigger picture.

Beware of Illusions of Competence

There are many ways in which we can make ourselves feel like we have “learned” a concept.

Instead of highlighting or underlining, rather take brief notes that summarize keys concepts.

Recall

Take a couple minutes to summarize or recall material you are trying to learn.

It goes a long way to taking something from short-term memory to long-term learning.

Bite-Sized Testing

In order to avoid or break through illusions of competence, you should test yourself as you’re encountering new material

Recall is a simple example of this mini-testing.

Over-Learning

Do not spend too much time in one sitting going over the same material over and over again. The law of diminishing returns certainly applies. Spread it out over many sessions and over many different modes of learning.

Interleaving

Once you have a basic understanding of what you are trying to learn, practice jumping back and forth between problems that require different techniques. This will solidify your understanding of the concepts by learning how to choose to apply them in various situations. 

Know when to apply a particular concept is as important as knowing how.

Process over Product

When facing procrastination, think of the process over the product.

Instead of thinking that you have to get X done, rather think to spend an hour on X. It is then not overwhelming, and doesn't require a long breakdown of tasks.

Metaphors and Analogies

They are often talked about as helpful study techniques. 

Try to make a deliberate effort to teach what you learn to someone else and, in doing so, you will likely be forced to explain concepts with relatable metaphors and analogies.

Study Groups / Teamwork

... have proven to be most beneficial to maintain continued progress and hold each other accountable. Finding the right group is key.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Learning how to learn

Learning how to learn is a meta-skill. It is a critical skill for everyone who needs to pick up and master new concepts frequently.

Understanding what is learning and how our memory works wil...

Learning skills

Learning how to learn is critical for everyone. Most of us have to deal with a changing world and to learn how to manage tons of new information.

However, most of our learning methods are outdated and far from optimal. It may even be giving us an illusion of learning, like re-reading and highlighting that don't provide proper feedback to show what you haven't learned.

Focused and Diffuse Mode

Focused and diffuse modes provide two models for how we develop, elaborate, deepen and broaden connections. Both methods are important.

  • The focused mode of learning is about bringing related concepts together into a unit, called a chunk. 
  • The diffuse mode operates through a wider net of connecting general ideas across different fields. We use this diffuse mode while we sleep, exercise or daydream.

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The Feynman Technique

... is the perfect strategy for learning something new, deepening your understanding of a concept, enhancing your recall of certain ideas, or reviewing for tests.

The process t...

Richard Feynman

... the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, was recognized as someone who could clearly explain complex topics in a way that everybody—even those without degrees in the sciences—could understand

While studying at Princeton, Feynman began recording and connecting the information he knew with the things that he either didn't know or didn't understand.
This resulted in a complete notebook of topics and subjects that he had disassembled, translated, reassembled, and written down in simple terms.

The Benefits of the Feynman Technique
  • It helps you gain a complete understanding of what you're learning.
  • Use the Feynman Technique if you are struggling with tough subject matter.
  • It helps to improve your teaching skills.
  • It increases your capacity to use critical thinking skills.

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Having a study buddy
Find a friend to do it with you and commit to weekly study sessions.

Online learning is usually lonely and when you get stuck you are really stuck — having friends to work through problems together ...

Start with just 1 class

Although you're probably tempted to choose with more than 1, start with 1 class and finish it before moving on.

The first class is the hardest because you need to learn how to learn online and also learn the material.

Establish a routine study schedule

Block out 2–3 hours Monday through Friday for classwork.

It’s not realistic to think that you can just put it off to the weekend because you may hit a block or be tired from working all week.

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