How the Brain Learns–Sort of….

8th March 2018

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

A Survey to Help Improve Learning How to Learn
Barb asks for your help in completing this survey by researchers Eulho Jung and Dongho Kim to help us better understand the learning that’s taking place in Learning How to Learn.  We hope to use the results of the survey to further improvement of LHTLers’ future learning experiences.

Book of the Week

This past week, we read How the Brain Learns, by David A. Sousa, now in its fifth edition, which was recommended to us as a top neuroscience-based book on learning.  If you’re looking for a good general overview of what we know from neuroscience about how to educate children better, this book has been put together with care.  A good aspect of the book is its comprehensive nature—there’s a nice overview of the brain and how it develops; how the brain processes information; memory; brain organization; and a particularly valuable section on the importance of music and art.  It’s not easy to make sense of all the disparate strands of neuroscience-related research and get it down in a logical, understandable form, and Sousa has done a yeoman’s job of it.

The book’s fault lies in its occasional acceptance of outdated, sometimes junk science.  This latest edition doesn’t mention or do justice to well-deserved criticism of topics such as learning styles, stereotype threat, multiple intelligences, or concept mapping. We’re hopeful that the book’s next edition will resolve these issues, and also add discussion of what we’ve found to be the most important issue in learning: procrastination.

Remember, Barb Speaking Tomorrow in San Francisco at the World’s Fair Nano!

Barb will be giving a talk about the future of education at World’s Fair Nano on Saturday, March 10th, 2018.  This talk will unwrap the specifics of her and Terry’s exciting new project, designed for global impact in many languages.  Barb plans to stay after her talk to shake hands and meet you! The folks at World’s Fair Nano have kindly arranged a special discount for LHTLers—just use the promotional code “BARBATNANO” for 15% off tickets. Register here.

Results from a Scientific Study on How to Learn a Language More Quickly

Data crunchers at Duolingo have discovered fascinating insights about the people who make much more progress in their language learning.  The keys, as described in this Inc. article by Minda Zetlin (co-author of the Geek Gap), are to:

  1. Study the language right before bedtime.
  2. Study every night, weekends included.

[Hat tip, polyglot language teacher Benny Lewis.]

Sleep Tips to Help Your Memory

Here’s a terrific video from memory champion Nelson Dellis with sleep tips to help your memory.  Sleep is, in fact, a critical, all-too-often neglected aspect of memory. This is why our recent “Book of the Year” for 2017 was researcher Matthew Walker’s terrific Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams.

Learning Online with Khan Academy

We’re huge fans of Khan Academy—it’s a wonderful way to fill in gaps in your learning (particularly in math) without having to sign up for an entire course. At the same time, the videos are so informative that they can walk you through entire subjects with ease (and some practice on your part, of course!).  Here’s a nice article from Online Learning Success with more insight into Khan Academy.

MOOCs are not dead, but evolving
On the 10th anniversary of the first massive open online course, here’s a thoughtful article by Diane Peters of University Affairs on MOOCs’ evolution. [Hat tip, Lea Beth Lewis]

Doha Description Has Been Updated

Last week we described how the American School of Doha has been working in innovative fashion to bring Learning How to Learn to students.  This week, we’ve updated the description with even more insights—read here.


That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

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