Discovery of a new method to learn everything you want. Method discovered by Johns Hopkins University.
What's the best way to learn a new skill, like playing the guitar? Several hours spent doing the same task over and over and over again is considered the best strategy. However, a new study in biology found that varying your training regimen, and not making it so repetitive, can double the rate at which you learn.
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An experiment conducted at Johns Hopkins University
86 volunteers were recruited by a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University, located in Baltimore, Maryland. Its volunteers were asked to learn a new skill: Move a cursor around a screen using a touchpad rather than using a traditional mouse.
The volunteers were then separated into three distinct groups:
- The first (the control group) only received only one 45-minute training session.
- The second group received a session of training, then he was asked to wait six hours before repeating the same exercise a second time.
- The third group has had the same experience, but their second training session changed touchpad sensitivity, which means that they had to adapt quickly under the new conditions.
The next day, all three groups were asked to repeat the first training session with the original sensitivity of the device restored. At the end of each group's sessions, they were scored on the accuracy and speed with which they were able to move the cursor on the screen.
The results show a large disparity between the groups
Intuitively, one would expect the third group to perform worse than the second group, with the changing parameters of their gaming sessions increasing the overall difficulty of the task. Remarkably, the situation was reversed, and the third group did twice as well at the end of the experiment than the second group. The control group had the worst results.
"What we found is that if you practice a slightly modified version of a task you want to master, you actually learn more and faster than if you keep practicing the exact same thing over and over. “said lead researcher Pablo Celnik, of Johns Hopkins University, in a statement.
The secret lies in the six-hour gap between the training sessions that were given to the 2th and 3th groups. The memory of their new skill is "consolidated" in the brain during this period of time, where neural connections form and "preserve" the memory. With this memory consolidated, the volunteers were able to reactivate it during the second training session in order to perform the task with increased ease.
However, these consolidated memories can be modified. Changes in the parameters of a second session practicing any motor skill – trying a level of video game with different obstacles, for example – “reconsolidates” these memories, slightly modifying and then strengthening the original neural connections. This allows them to adapt to future changes in condition.
This is why the third group obtained the best results in this study. However, Celnik noted that a massive change in game settings would not produce the same beneficial effects. “Editing between sessions should be subtle ", he added.
Although this study only tested one specific skill, its results could hopefully be applied to many other situations. Amputees could be taught to use their prostheses more quickly by using memory reconsolidation techniques, for example.
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How to learn everything you want in 2022?
At a TEDx conference, Doctor Barbara Oakley shows us how to learn and excel in all areas.
In childhood we all had the passion, the desires or the things we would like to accomplish. Today, if people have abandoned their childhood dreams, others have advanced from achievement to achievement. One of the qualities that differentiates those who have given up from those who continue to succeed is their ability to learn and adapt. At a TEDx conference, Doctor Barbara Oakley shows us how to learn and excel in all areas.
This talk was held at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the official TEDx talks. Barbara Oakley, Professor of Engineering, co-teaches one of the world's largest online classes, “Learn to Learn” at https://www.coursera.org/course/learning.
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She knows what it's like to struggle to understand math. Dr. Oakley missed her high school math and science classes, before immediately enlisting in the U.S. military. When she saw how her lack of mathematical and technical knowledge severely limited her possibilities, both to build a career in the military and to explore other careers, she returned to school with new determination. to reorganize his brain to master the subjects that had given him so much trouble all his life.
Today Barbara Oakley, is Ph.D, PE, Professor of Engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. His research focuses on the complex relationship between neuroscience and social behavior. His research has been called "groundbreaking" by the Wall Street Journal. Oakley's works have been praised by many leading scholars and writers, including Harvard's Steven Pinker and EO Wilson, and National Book Laureate Joyce Carol Oates. His book "A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel in Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)”, is already available on amazon in various formats.
Prior to her college career, Oakley transitioned from private to captain in the U.S. Army after college. Period in which she was recognized as a Distinguished Military Researcher. She met her husband, Philip, while working at the South Pole Station in Antarctica.
Her experiences of selflessness were shaped by her work as a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers in the Bering Sea in the early 1980s. Oakley was named an NSF New Century Fellow. She also received the University of Oakland's Excellence in Teaching Award (2013) and the National Science Foundation's Frontiers in Engineering New Faculty Award. Oakley is an elected member of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. In her video she teaches how to learn.
How to learn?
The different modes of the brain
The brain is extremely complex and its functioning can be summed up in 2 distinct operating modes: the focus mode and the diffuse mode.
- In focus mode we are focused and nothing can distract us
- In diffuse mode we are relaxed and we are easily distracted.
During learning, we regularly switch between focus mode and diffuse mode. For example, when working on a problem, we focus on one aspect of the problem. When we leave work to go eat, we subconsciously switch to diffuse mode.
How can you use this strategy in real life?
We are too used to learning in focus mode but when we are facing problems, we panic. To overcome this problem, here is what some great inventors like Thomas Edison have done to find solutions.
Legend has it that when he faced a difficult problem, he would stop for a moment with the pen in his hand, relax and slowly fall asleep. As soon as the pen fell to the ground, he woke up and then resumed work fiercely (after picking up his pen).
This strategy is akin to procrastination but it is not one. Procrastination comes from the mental pain that the brain feels in analyzing the physical pain that a task will give you during activity. In this kind of situation, there are two ways to deal with it.
- We get to work despite the pain, then it passes very soon after. In psychology it has been shown that when one does not want to do an activity at all and one does it, this pain disappears quickly and one takes pleasure in the activity.
- We leave the task to make a more pleasant and motivating activity. This approach is not bad in itself, but when it becomes a habit it becomes addiction. And it ruins a lot of things in life.
One of the techniques that allows you to be efficient while protecting yourself from procrastination is the pomodoro method. This method allows you to be in focus mode for 25 minutes and you take a few minutes (2 – 5min) to be in diffuse mode.
In this practice we have observed two types of individual: people who are said with slow memory and those who think very quickly.
Footnotes for people with slow memory: these are often individuals who are slow to understand or are not mentally responsive. If you are in this category, you are surprisingly very creative. Your brain is unable to retain ideas because several other ideas come together and make you forget the original concept.
As a result, you find it difficult to maintain your attention for long. You have a very deep experience on concepts and topics. This pushes you to work harder than others to understand a subject, but once understood you are among the best. If the others are racing cars, see yourself as a traveler.
How to learn everything you want?
When you learn, you feel like you understand the subject. When the exam comes or when to apply our knowledge we block. You feel in front of a scary lion in front of you. We just fell victim to what we call the illusion of learning skill. We felt like we had mastered the subject.
The most effective method for avoiding anxiety about hardship is widely known but often misunderstood. It's exercise. Test yourself, every day, regularly in the areas you study. Even to remind you of past concepts. Here are some applicable principles:
When we read books or documents, we tend to tick, mark the passages that interest us. Although this gives the impression that we are keeping the subject, in truth, nothing scientifically happens in the brain that goes in the direction of learning. The best method following Dr. Oakley is to read a paragraph from the book, look elsewhere and then repeat what you understand about the book.
Lastly, never be fooled by the misconception that only understanding the subject can allow you to master its content. Understanding is very important, but when combined with the practice and regular exercise of the subject, this will allow you to master the subject to the highest degree.
In summary to learn, you must:
- Concentrate for a while, without distraction or interruption (25 min). Then detach from your lesson, relax by meditating on it (about 5min). Then resume the process
- Practice various problems as regularly as possible. Until the solution comes to you naturally.
- When you read, set the book aside and repeat what you remembered or understood from the content.
The art of learning how to learn is the most powerful tool we have to succeed in life. Don't just follow your passion, expand your passion. You may be interested in: