So many opportunities!
Learning has never been so available
I have been spending half an hour per day listening to some of The Great Courses audio books which package full courses in 30-minute sessions. The Learning Brain is made up of 24 lectures and is extremely insightful, building up how we learn from first, neurological, principles.
Some of the insights are powerful. For example, highlighting or underlining books and notes is one of the most popular study techniques yet the evidence for its usefulness is at best mixed. One theory about why this is the case is that highlighting or underlining restricts attention to isolated facts and leads to overlooking the larger connections among ideas. This would explain why students who underlined performed worse on inference-based questions compared with students who studied a clean copy of a chapter.
There is also an analysis of re-reading with similar results. Re-reading a chapter leads to recognising a lot of what we read, and that familiarity can fool us into thinking that we really do know what’s in the chapter, however, we may not be able to recall what we have read as easily as we might think.
Such courses as these – and there are a wide range of them – all provided by recognised experts in their field, offer a tremendous resource for pursuing an interest either personal or professional. I also find that listening fully for 30 minutes is good practice for maintaining high levels of focus. These courses come with accompanying pdfs with course notes so that genuine mastery is possible, if that is desired.
Such an exciting time to be in the business of learning.
John Corrigan is an expert in helping individuals to bring their whole of mind to their daily life and increase their effectiveness and the effectiveness of those around them. This expertise scales from the individual to the team to the organisation. At the core of this work is the practice of encounter. Earlier blogs can be found here.