Coursera: Learning How to Learn

Coursera: Learning How to Learn

Learning How to Learn

Week 1

  • It was the “seven slots” theory of working memory, but now they are sure it is only four slots.

  • About The Pomodoro Technique
    Each 25-minute session is one “pomodoro.” When you complete one, take a five-minute break before embarking on the next. After 4 “pomodori,” take a longer break to rest and recharge.

  • About speed reading? Fake! This excellent blog post nicely summarizes what is known in relation to speed reading. I Was Wrong About Speed Reading: Here are the Facts

Still to read:

Week 2

  • The retrieval process itself enhances deep learning, and helps us to begin forming chunks. It’s almost as if the recall process helps build in little neural hooks, that we can hang our thinking on. Student thought, concept mapping, drawing diagrams that show the relationship between the concepts would be the best.

So, the steps are:

  1. Take a big picture by skimming everything, notably pictures, headings, bullet points.
  2. Read the material. While reading, switch between focused and diffuse mode - brain needs this. Don’t reread - illusion of competence.
  3. Retrieve to form a chunks. Any test or flash cards, but parents or a friend are the best
  4. Draw mind maps, but only when you already form some chunks

Chunks are pieces of information that are somehow bound together through use and often through meaning.

Three neuromodulators - the chemicals that affect learning:

  1. Acetylcholine affects focused learning and attention
  2. Dopamine signals in relation to unexpected rewards
  3. Serotonin affects social life and risk taking behavior (too much risk taking)

Aspects of learning:

  • Over-learning: repeating what you already know,
  • Deliberate Practice: focusing intently on the parts that are more difficult to you,
  • Choking: jumping right into it deep dive,
  • Einstellung: old knowledge blocks new one
  • and Interleaving: practicing jumping back and forth between situations

There’s the old saying that “science progresses one funeral at a time” as people entrenched in the old ways of looking at things die off.

Interview with Dr. Norman Fortenberry - Learning at MIT

In high school, you’re taught you’re to do your own work, study alone, etc. That is deadly. In college, the expectation is that you’re part of a group. You have to make sure that you live up to that expectation by making the connections to the people who have the resources that you need to succeed. The key lesson in collegiate study is that you have to be part of the group. You have to find your team as quickly as possible and make sure that the members of that team are very serious about their studies as well.

Optional Interview with Author Amy Alkon

We both know, we’re both writers that writing is a form of learning Woow! Only when you work little-by-little, you will gain advantage of “diffuse” mode.

Week 3

Tackling procrastination while minimizing the use of willpower.

  • Focus on process, not on product
    For example, focus on Pomodoro technique, not on the task itself. Also, by focusing on process rather than product, you allow yourself to back away from judging yourself, am I getting closer to finishing?
  1. The Cue; The only place you need to apply willpower is to change your reaction to the cue.
  2. The Routine; Distraction MUST, MUST pass by!
  3. The Reward
  4. The Belief

Jugging life:

  • Plan your quiting time! When you finish everything for that day!

  • Try to work on a most important and most disliked task first.
    At least just one Pomodoro, as soon as you wake up. This is incredibly effective.

  • Making a task list is best done at night, right before you go to sleep. Research shows that this helps your zombies (subconscious processes) to process the list overnight, making it easier to work on your tasks the next day.

Making flash cards (index cards):

  • Draw an illustration (hint) on answer side
  • Say the word and its meaning aloud to start setting auditory hooks to the material
What? Astrocytes?

In addition to neurons, brains have several types of supporting cells called glial cells. The astrocyte is the most abundant glial cell in the human brain. Astrocytes provide nutrients to neurons.

These astrocytes may also have an important role in learning. When human astrocytes were put into mouse brains, the mice learned faster.

When Einstein’s brain was examined to find out what made him so awesomely creative, the only difference that could be found was that he had many more astrocytes than the average human.

Holy Fuck! New thinking about your grey matter

Creating Meaningful Groups and the Memory Palace Technique
  • Create meaningful groups that simplify the material… for numbers, maybe associate numbers with the feelings of, when was I was or will be at a given age. 18 is an easy one. By age 104 I hope to be an old, but happy great grandma.

  • Memory Palace Technique: calling to mind a familiar place. Use that familiar place as a visual notepad where you can deposit the concept images that you want to remember.

    The memory palace technique is useful for remembering unrelated items, such as a grocery list. Imagine yourself walking through a place you know well, coupled with shockingly memorable images of what you want to remember. If you have lists to remember, you could use this same approach.

A person using the Memory Palace technique could remember more than 95% of a 40 to 50 item list after only one or two practice mental walks.

Woow! Memory tricks allow people to expand their working memory with easy access to long term memory. What’s more, the memory process itself becomes an exercise in creativity. The more you memorize using these innovative techniques, the more creative you become.

The funnier and more evocative the images you make related to what you are trying to remember, the better.

Week 4

  • Physical exercise helps new neurons survive

  • Prepare your brain for sudden improvements in certain critical periods in the development of your brain.

  • Techniques: Lively visual metaphor or analogy, also help us get out of Einstellung.

  • What? At some point self-consciously “understanding” why you do what you do, just slows you down and interrupts the flow resulting in worse decisions. Notice: self-consciously!

  • People are often just as competitive as they are cooperative. If you do well in your studies, the people around you can feel threatened.

  • Santiago Ramon y Cajal felt that the key to his success was his perseverance, which he called “the virtue of the less brilliant”

  • The Value of Teamwork! A Test Checklist by Dr Felder: My take: Even if you are “always leading” in a team, you still get the benefits of team learning


  • Hard Start - Jump to Easy! Holy Fuck! Diffuse mode is mandatory for hard problems! The answer is to start with the hard problems but quickly jump to the easy ones.

    This can be applied to solving tests also! First glance everything, then try to solve the hardest ones, if you are stuck - jump to easy ones. Diffuse mode will work for you!

    The only trick with this approach is that you must have the self discipline to pull yourself off a problem once you find yourself stuck for a minute or two.

    This may be why test takers sometimes find that the solution pops to mind right as they walk out the door. When they give up, their attention switched, allowing the diffuse mode the tiny bit of traction it needed to go to work and return the solution. Too late of course.

    This method is helpful only if you have already spent time preparing for the test.

Helpful Hints for Tests

  • Cover up the answers to multiple choice questions and to try to recall the information. Try to answer the question on your own first.

  • Study hard up until the day of the test and then let it go. Tell yourself: oh well, let me just see how many questions I can get right.

    Have a Plan B for the alternative career. Once you have a plan for the worst possible contingency, you’ll be surprised that the fear will begin to subside. Good worry vs bad worry. Good worry helps provide motivation and focus, while bad worry simply wastes energy.

  • You wouldn’t run a ten mile race the day before running a marathon. The day before a test, or tests, have a quick, final look over the materials to brush up on them. You’ll need both your focus mode and diffuse mode muscles, so to speak, the next day. So you don’t want to push your brain too hard.

  • When stressed before a test, you should turn your attention to your breathing. Breathing with stomach and hands on it. Also chewing gum - when eating we are peaceful.

  • During the test, try to momentarily shift your attention away from the test questions and then go back through the questions with a ‘big picture’ perspective.

  • One way to look in a fresh way at what you have done during a test is to check your answers from back to front.

Discovered Resources

The 20-Second Rule: How to Build Better Habits (in 1/3 of a Minute) Habit Stacking: How to Build New Habits by Taking Advantage of Old Ones Explore the Brain and Mind -

Goodnight. Sleep Clean. - The New York Times Anti-If Campaign | Cirillo Company Brains Sweep Themselves Clean Of Toxins During Sleep : Shots - Health News : NPR Why Walking Helps Us Think - The New Yorker How to Break the Procrastination Habit - The Atlantic WHY Exercise is so Underrated (Brain Power & Movement Link) - YouTube


Naturally you can increase dopamine by :

Decreasing your sugar intake. … taking tyrosine Decreasing caffeine intake. … Setting a routine schedule. … Getting consistent exercise. … Decreasing stress levels. … Correcting a magnesium deficiency. … Taking vitamins for depression.

Za konstantina:

  • mora da nosi antifone ili neke sluške

Nauci pametno uciti by dinka juricic - issuu

Spaced repetition -

Flashcard Apps

The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards.

The Best Tools To Make Online Flashcards Top 6 Flashcard Creation Tools for College Students The 5 Best Free Flashcard Creation Tools for Teachers - eLearning Industry 10 Great Flashcard Making Tools for Educators ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning 15 Sites for Creating Flashcards | Tech Learning

Well, the best: Flashcard Machine

Woow! Tinycards by Duolingo Studyblue Quizlet Repetico - The Social Learning Network GoConqr

Best Learning Tools for Those with Short Attention Spans

Visual Mnemonics (Mnemonics = Memory Device)

Picmonic is mainly focused on medicine students.

date 17. May 2017 | modified 29. Dec 2023
filename: MOOC » Coursera » Learning How to Learn