Sunday, December 25, 2016

Learning how to learn -2

Intro to Chunking:

Chunking is connected different ideas together which are related by their meaning or usage.
If different puzzle pieces are given, if all of them are joined together, the completed puzzle will help us remember the puzzle as it has meaning. So even when learning instead of trying to remember each disparate piece of information, if it can be remembered in terms of related concepts or chunks, it is easier to remember.
Imagine an octopus spreading its tentacles in the four working memory slots together with the long term memory to join together related concepts. When we are tired the octopus can't do its work well.

How to chunk.

1. Focussed attention
2. Understanding
3.  Practice to solidify the memory and  understand the context of when to use this and when not to use this concept

Illusions of Competence
1. Glancing the solution and thinking we know it.
2. Not really testing when you're studying

Test yourself and
test in different environment than where you originally learned.

Chemicals involved in Memory:

Acetyl choline - affects focussed learning and attention
Dopamine - released for unexpected rewards
Serotonin - affects social behavior and risk taking.

Chunking, Overstudying, Einstellung effect, Interleaving and choking.
Chunks leanred in one domain can be transfered to a different domain.
Overlearning can be helpful if your'e choking or get automaticity. But don't do this only in one session.
Einstellung effect  is - initial ideas going into a wrong direction to the required solution. Blocked thoughts due to prelearned ideas. To overcome this, you should interleave the problem with other types of problems. Use deliberate practice of tougher ideas, where you making mistakes.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Learning how to learn

Focused mode & Diffuse Mode:
There are two modes of thinking.
The general mode when you're learning something is the focused mode. In this mode the brain searches/makes connections with adjacent or neurons close by. In this mode, it is easy to find the answer to something if you're already have an idea close to the solution and are trying to complete it.

The other mode of thinking which the brain does on its own when you're not particularly focused on anything like when you're running or driving or doing anything on autopilot. In the mode the brain searches and make connections between unrelated ideas. So in this mode it can search in lot of search space so it can make novel connections between ideas. So this mode is important when we're trying to think of new creative solutions.

Interesting ways about accessing diffuse mode from Edison is that, he used to have ball bearings in his hand and take a nap thinking about what he is working on. When we fell asleep and the ball bearings fall to the ground, he will get up and write up the ideas he is thinking on.


Repetition makes perfect:

- More abstract an idea, the more important it is to practice to bring the idea into reality for you.
- Learn in a focused manner and give the mind some break to metaphorically harden the mortar. If you cram everything in a day, the foundations will be weak and it will break down. So try to learn a few things each day instead of cramming.
- Use pomodoro timer for 25 minutes of focused learning and 5 minutes of relaxation

Long term memory & Working Memory

Working memory - It is used for stroring things we are working on. It can only hold 4 chunks at once. Repetion is required to keep things in working memory. For e.g. we will repeat the telephone number before we get a chance to write it down. So working memory is an inefficient blackboard.

Long term memory - It needs some memory to make it permanent. Use spaced repetition over a number of days to store things in long term memory.

Importance of Sleep:

When we sleep the brain cells get smaller and the Cerebro Spinal Fluid will wash away any toxins built up between the brain cells during the day.
During sleep the less important connections are wiped away and the important ones are strengthened.
Also the things we read before sleep are more likely the things we might dream. So these will help strengthen the ideas we are trying to learn.

Importance of creative environment, exercise and learning by doing.

- It is important to be between other people who challenge and stimulate us with their ideas. That will help with learning things by osmosis.
- Exercise helps to generate new neurons and will help us learn new things.
- Another good way is to learn by doing i.e being active learner instead of passive. Being an active learner will force us to clarify the thoughts and will also keep the interest alive in what we're doing.

pesonality characterstics of Creativity
Agreeableness - less agreeable

Powers of 10 problem solving - Like go up 10 miles, 100 miles, 1000 miles etc.. and see the problem from that height.
then go down to 1/10 miles 1/100 miles, 1/1000 miles to the molecules atoms etc. So this is zooming in and zooming out see the same problem from height and go into details.

- Use BrainMapping. this will open up diffuse mode of thinking.
- When you're writing, don't edit while you write. First