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Why I’m learning about learning

By Sam Instone - May 17, 2018

I’m an avid reader.

It’s about personal development.

Which is why I am learning everything I can about learning.

My first stop on that journey is the book Make It Stick, by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger, III, and Mark A. McDaniel.

A novelist and two cognitive scientists.

My key takeaway?

Elaborate on what you learn to help make it stick.

The first line in the preface of Make It Stick says it all:

"People generally are going about learning in the wrong ways.”

We don’t really know what learning is.

What works.

And how to be more effective at it.

The definition the authors give for learning is this:

Acquiring knowledge and skills and having them readily available from
memory so you can make sense of future problems and opportunities.

There is plenty of research done by cognitive psychologists to show most of what we've learned about learning turns out to be wasted effort at best.

And harmful at worst.

Of the 8 strategies for mastering learning discussed in the book, elaboration is my key takeaway.

Elaboration is the process of giving new material meaning by expressing it in your own words.

You should also connect it with what you already know.

There are many ways you can do this...

As an example, reading a book and summarising it for someone else, is my way of implementing this practice into my learning journey.

Another powerful form of elaboration is to find a metaphor or visual cue for the new information.

I love the visual cues provided by the 'fly wheel of change' in Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great.

One of them is a hedgehog!

What are you passionate about_

It’s fun to explain…and draw.

This is also why I love the work of Carl Richards

He puts complex issues in simple pictures.

Investment Returns

These visual cues help us understand the financial wisdom that Carl has accrued over many years.

You can get the stories that elaborate on these visuals by: -

Following Carl Richards on Twitter

Buying The Behavior Gap book

Reading Behavior Gap articles

Why bother?

It's all about learning. 

Learning wisdom that will enable you to lead a better life, in whatever sense that means to you.

I’d love to know your thoughts.

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