My Learning Toolbox
A DIY kit to help your learning
Hei Fancy Folks!
Today is a bit different! This month I have been following Barbara Oakley's class “Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects”, and at the end of the course, we were asked to design a tool to help other people improve their learning.
I decided to make a little card game with silly drawings (again). The idea is simple: every time you feel a bit lost in your learning process, just pick a card, and try to apply the said technique.
I hope you will find this useful!
For those who don't like PDFs, here is a list of the different techniques:
Mini-test - Testing is a powerful learning tool! You can learn more in one hour of testing that in one hour of studying. Try and test yourself on the topic you are trying to master.
Sleep - Sleeping removes toxines in your brain and helps you consolidate what you have learnt! If you have been studying hard and got stuck, getting a good night of sleep could help you get a fresh start.
Recall - Reading your notes again and again is not the best technique to learn. Instead, try hiding your notes, and recall what you have learned. You can also use flash cards!
Group Work - A good idea to avoid illusion of competence is to work with others and quizz each other. Before a group session, make sure that you are well prepared and focused, so you can all make the best of your time!
Embodiment - A good technique to understand something is to pretend that you are that thing. For example, in mathematics, if you want to remember the graph of a function, try to follow the function with your body.
Exercise - Exercise helps you disconnect from a problem to get a new perspective, and is also good for your neurons! So remember to use your body. If you can, go for a walk, go for a swim! It’s good for your health and for your learning.
Spaced Practice - To remember something, practice is important. However, just hammering it in over a short period of time is not that helpful. Increasingly space your practices to give the time for your brain to assimilate properly.
Deliberate Practice - It’s quite tempting to focus your efforts on what you already know, because it’s easier. Challenge yourself, and try tackling the things that you find especially difficult. This will help you grow a lot!
Pomodoro - The Pomodoro technique can help you focus. How to do it? 1. Set a timer for 25 minutes 2. Turn off all distractions 3. Focus 4. Reward yourself at the end!
Mindset - Remember that your brain is flexible, and that with perseverance, you can learn anything. Focus on the process, and not on the product. This will reduce your anxiety and improve your learning experience.
Interleaving - Never do the same thing for too long. Changes of perspective and contrasting activities are essential for learning. If you spent a lot of time on the same topic, switch to a new one!
Misconceptions - Your brain can get stuck in a pattern and prevents you from discovering new and better ways to solve a problem. Sometimes this pattern is even wrong! Try changing perspective often and chat with others to avoid this.
Metaphors - Metaphors, analogies, and stories can help you remember something better and boost your creativity! If you struggle to remember a formula or a new word, try building a story or a visual image around it.
Hard Start - During an exam, start with the harder exercises. If you get stuck, come back to the easier ones. This will allow your brain to process the harder exercises in the background, and when you will come back to it, it will be easier.
To go further:
Feel free to suggest your own techniques in the comment section below, or discuss the techniques described on the cards.
You can also follow the course yourself here!