Rapt–and the secret sauce…

25th May 2017

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

We’ve finally gotten around to starting Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life, by Winifred Gallagher  (This book was recommended by one of our favorite writers, Cal Newport, in his awesome guide to productivity: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.)  Gallagher’s book has our attention—she has a way with gripping stories illustrating that you are the sum of what you focus on. Rapt is a great contrast to our recommendation from two weeks ago: Rest.  

Audio version of the book Mindshift gets a very nice review in AudioFile

Barb spent a week closeted in an icy Michigan studio in January reading the audio version of Mindshift for you. An unexpected result is this nice review in the the online audio review magazine AudioFile. (Don’t forget that you may be able to get two free audiobooks through this link.)
How to Make a MOOCNo Really

In this post, “The ‘secret sauce’ behind the world’s most popular online course,” Talia Greenblatt-Kolodny, the Partner Learning and Development Manager at Coursera, and Barb describe the secrets behind how to make a great MOOC—including even an equipment list.  This is a “do not miss” article for any group interested in making online educational material. (That’s Barb’s husband, Phil Oakley, pictured beside her at the top of the article. 🙂 )

A Compendium of Self-Help Advice

Here is an excellent article that pulls together links and the best research-based advice to help improve your life. It’s by the fine folks at www.80000hours.org.  And if you need inspiration to help get you started, here’s just the thing to read: “6 Moves Toward Becoming More Inspired.”

Elon Musk’s Rapid Learning Abilities

We enjoyed this article by Michael Simmons in Quartz:  “How Elon Musk learns faster and better than everyone else.” [Hat tip David Wood] We haven’t taken the learning course alluded to at the end of the article—if anyone takes it, feel free to post your comments about it in the discussion forum here.

Flashcard Deck Using Anki for Learning How to Learn

Learners in-the-know understand that Anki is among the most popular of all flashcard systems.  Kate Bye,  Academic Support Counselor at Ferrum College, has created an Anki deck to help you memorize and master many of the key concepts of our course.  Enjoy!

Well Structured Podcast on Learning

Nicole Archambault of La Vie En Code, a podcast dedicated to self-taught learners and coders, has done Part 1 of a podcast with Barb that is an exemplar of organization (next week is Part 2).  Notice the careful minute marker notes—you can jump to whatever you’re interested in hearing about.  

Two Extraordinarily Important Papers on Improving Mathematics Education in the US

The importance of chunking and procedural fluency in STEM learning is hard to overstate.  Two recent papers emphasize this fact. “Automaticity in Computation and Student Success in Introductory Physical Science Courses,” by JudithAnn Hartman and Eric A. Nelson, notes that “Between 1984 and 2011, the percentage of US bachelor degrees awarded in physics declined by 25%, in chemistry declined by 33%, and overall in physical sciences and engineering fell 40%. Data suggest that these declines are correlated to a deemphasis in most states of practicing computation skills in mathematics. Analysis of state standards put into place between 1990 and 2010 find that most states directed teachers to deemphasize both memorization and student practice in computational problem solving… In recent international testing, scores for US 16-24 year olds in numeracy finished last among 22 tested nations in the OECD. Recent studies in cognitive science have found that to solve well-structured problems in the sciences, students must first memorize fundamental facts and procedures in mathematics and science until they can be recalled ‘with automaticity,’ then practice applying those skills in a variety of distinctive contexts.”  See also the related paper, “Cognitive Science and the Common Core Math Standards,” by Eric Nelson, about why the Common Core math standards do not fix the need for math automaticity.

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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