5 Tips for Learning Better in 2020 - THINKERS Notebook

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5 Tips for Learning Better in 2020

Earlier this week, Sean posted a link to this article inside of the THINKERS Workshop

I read it, then I read it again.

It's not long, but it's filled with useful insights from Ulrich Boser, author of Learn Better, about how to learn new things as an adult. 

Here are five tips I took away from the article that I plan to ruminate on over the next couple of weeks as I chart my course for self-betterment in 2020.

1. If you want to learn something, teach it to someone else.

"The other thing that's particularly helpful about teaching other people is that you have to think about what is confusing about something, and how you'd explain that in a simpler way, and so that makes you shift the way that you're thinking about a certain topic."

2. Learning should be difficult and uncomfortable so that it becomes meaningful.

"The other reason that learning should be difficult is that, when we’re a little bit out of our comfort zone, we are a little bit more challenged, and that helps us develop skills."

3. Don't be satisfied with being given the answer.

"You don’t necessarily want to simply give people the answer, because then they haven’t really made that information meaningful to themselves."

4. Understand that you're going to forget stuff, and have a plan to combat it.

"People underestimate how much they forget, and people who are able to revisit their learning at a regular rate end up learning a lot more."

5. Plan time free from distraction to fully engage your thoughts.

"You have these moments where your brain is thinking through the day, making connections, and what’s important, I think, for people who are trying to learn more effectively, is to make organized time for that."

Oh -- and here is a useful tip from Ulrich for remembering names. I learned this one a few years ago, so I can vouch for its efficacy.

Basically, try to "hang that information on other information" as a way of making it more meaningful for you.

For example, a few years back I met a neighbor of mine from down the street. He's an older, rugged-looking gentleman with a deep voice, and his name is Sam. He reminded me of Sam Elliott, the actor noted for his unmistakable voice.

I made that connection, and now it's the first thing I think of when I see my neighbor. It makes remembering his name easy!

Read the full article: How to Learn New Things as an Adult (The Atlantic)

What was your biggest takeaway? Reply to this email and let me know!

Now here are three more links to help you become a better thinker than are worth checking out ...

Is your digital addiction preventing you from experiencing the benefits of technology?

"To be sure, digital addiction is real. Consider the 2,600 times we touch our phones every day, our panic when we temporarily misplace a device, the experience of “phantom vibration syndrome" and how merely seeing a message alert can be as distracting as checking the message itself.

"This can have real consequences. For example, other people do take it personally if you stop talking to them to answer a message. And taking a break from a task to look at your cell phone precludes deep thinking on whatever you were doing.

"But this tells only part of the story. We need to also acknowledge that today's technologies can make us more connected than ever before.

"So how do we avoid the potential pitfalls while still reaping the benefits?"

Read: How to tell if your digital addiction is ruining your life (Big Think)

Older adults improved cognitive function by ... playing Super Mario 64?

"Playing the 3D-platform video game Super Mario 64 regularly over 6 months improved cognitive function and increased gray matter in the hippocampus and cerebellum in older adults, according to a small study published online in PLoS One.

“' Maintaining grey matter within the hippocampus is important for healthy cognition,' researchers wrote. 'Playing 3D-platform video games has previously been shown to promote grey matter in the hippocampus in younger adults.'"

Read: Video Game Play Increases Gray Matter, Cognitive Function in Older Adults (Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Learning Network)

And this article seemed interesting given the time of year that it is ...

Do you know why you choose the gifts you choose?

"When Yang and Urminsky asked people to think about gifts they themselves had actually enjoyed receiving, they found that books and money were popular items.

"But because those gifts aren't very fun to give, people often shy away from them. In an online study, the researchers found that gift-givers aren't swayed by how much a person will enjoy their gift in the long term."

Read: Most People Pick Gifts to Wow Rather Than to Satisfy, According to a Study (Curiosity.com)

Quote of the week

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."

-- Benjamin Franklin (again!)

Jerod Morris
Chief Creative Thinker