Week 2 in Action

Wow!! There are TONS of really great learning techniques being presented this week. Our lecture series this week focused mainly on alternative methods for learning other than passive rereading. Some of the stratagem we examined were; Chunking, overlearning, Einstellung, Interleaving, and the negatives effects of highlighting and underlining.

Personal Learning Challenge: I tend to have a hard time retaining information, since I have two small children I can almost never dedicate all four slots in my working memory to learning concepts.

Solution Based On: Chunking and the “Octopus of Attention” metaphor.

New Solution To Try: Professor Oakley taught us that chunking information is a way to manipulate working memory to hold more. If you think of the short term memory system along the lines of the “Octopus of Attention” you can imagine chunked information as being like a ribbon extending from on the four slots with information attached all along the ribbon and only the main idea taking up a slot. The freeing up of any more of my working memory to use in active learning of concepts is obviously helpful to me so I think I would benefit from chunking the material I am trying to learn. Chunks are forms by first focusing your complete attention on the material (maybe putting the kids down for a nap or sending them to the sitter) and secondly gaining an understanding of the material, and finally by gaining context of the information through practice. (Essentially learning not only HOW but also WHEN to use the chunked information) Definitely no small feat. But she also gave us the useful techniques of interleaving (doing various problems mixed up with other assorted problems) and deliberate practice (practicing what you find the most difficult first) to help us along the way. Happy Learning folks.


Note: This was written with the top of a blue laundry basket being thrust between my face and my hands and my computer screen..not bad for the circumstances if I do say so myself!


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