Learning with Chew (2011)

Joseph Reagle

Learning tips

I recommend the excellent 2014 book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel.

Many of these ideas are also expressed by a series of short videos by Prof. Chew of Samford University.

1. Beliefs That Make You Fail… Or Succeed

1. Beliefs

1. Beliefs

  1. Beliefs that make you fail
    1. Learning is fast: no, it’s effortful
    2. Knowledge is isolated facts: no, it’s synthetic
    3. Being good in a subject is an inborn talent: no, it’s hard work
    4. I’m good at multi-tasking: no, avoid distractions
  2. Meta-cognition
    1. Poor performer are over-confident (Dunning-Kruger effect)

2. What You Should Know About Learning

2. Learning

2. Learning

  1. Hyde and Jenkins tested the kind of learning (intentional vs. not) and level (shallow vs. deep).

    The shallow task was to note the presence of ‘e’ in word, the deep task was to rate the pleasantness of the word.

    Intention had no affect but the level (e.g., pleasantness) did.

  2. Need good orienting tasks to prime deep processing
  3. Things that help learning
    1. Minimizing distractions; maximizing focus
    2. Develop accurate meta-cognition
    3. Deep, appropriate processing of concepts
    4. Practicing retrieval and application

3. Cognitive Principles for Optimizing Learning

3. Optimize

3. Optimize

  1. Elaboration: how does this concept relate to other concepts?
  2. Distinctiveness: how is it different?
  3. Personal: how is it related to me?
  4. Context: how am I expected to use or apply this concept?
  5. Automaticity: becomes subconscious
    • unlearn poor high-school skill of re-reading highlighted text and move towards spaced-repetition and self-quizzing
  6. Over-learning: recall it quickly and easily

4. Putting Principles for Learning into Practice

4. Practices

4. Practices

  1. Question generation
  2. Concept map
  3. Practice retrieving the way the instructor expects
  4. Taking notes
    1. identify keep concepts, relations, and examples; don’t get distracted or transcribe!
    2. actively organize notes
  5. Reading
    1. be selective in noting key concepts, connections, and questions
  1. Group study can be a social distraction
    1. set goal and agenda
    2. set criteria for participation
    3. keep ultimate goal of learning in mind
    4. everyone can ask a question
    5. any member can express group understanding

5. I Blew the Exam, Now What?

5. Now what?

5. Now what?

  1. Exam
    1. Don’t panic
    2. Don’t go into denial
    3. Examine the test and review
    4. Compare errors with notes, was the answer not there?
    5. Talk with your instructor
    6. Examine your study habits
    7. Develop a study plan
  1. How to raise grade
    1. Commit time and effort
    2. Minimize distractions
    3. Attend class
    4. Set realistic goals
    5. Don’t begin to slide
    6. Don’t give away points (failing to follow instructions or skipping small assignments)