Monday, November 7, 2011

A recipe for do-it-yourself learning...

This week's post is about FREE RANGE LEARNING. A delightful "recipe" for learning in a random, "follow your heart" way is described on

"outside the mainstream"
DIY learning vs. evil caged learning?
highly structured education that takes place with "somewhat captive" participants


What does it take to become a successful learner...
(summary of her talk):
We need a recipe...
a) information (high quality ingredients)
b) we need a set of directions -- we need to reengage
c) we need to reflect (writing) ... blogging is a form of learning -- when we write about something, we eventually stumble on our words in a previous blog.
d) (space for reflection) white noise helps us reflect... we need space for brain to relax and -- procedure, tell your brain to focus on a problem...
e) spices to make food more enjoyable, so we need spice to learning by engaging in social activities... join the right social network or go to a conference -- standing appointment once a week -- learn a language by talking -- how about twitter in another language?
"when someone tweets about a new game design, i get excited about it and reconnected to my area of interest."
f) Get variety -- humans can provide new resources.
g) cook time: 10,000 hours... structure
h) we need a way to deal with decision fatigue... paralyzed by too many
A guy named Eddinghouse is important...
each reengagement helps you store the info in biological information...
i) Set a learning challenge that is hard to postpone
Set a presentation date... pressure to make sure I learn everything I can about a topic.

To learn Spanish, buy a non-refundable plane ticket to Spain 9 months from now.

What happens during a dissertation?
classes stop, assignments stop, tests stop. It's up to you to write about a topic of your own choosing.

40-70% of Ph.D. don't complete their dissertation within 7 years... (depending on the degree specialization)
good learners, but unable to progress with a free range project.
Have you learned how to learn on your own?

How do you eat an elephant?... one bite at a time.

We need to apply this recipe with students...
For example, a documentary had the following line: The US produces more trash than two Chinas or 15 Indias.

So I did a search and learned that the USA in 2009 produced 230 million tons of trash. Assume 310 million people ... how much trash per person?

In China, how much trash per person?
In India, how much trash per person?

None of these thoughts were explicitly given in the documentary. But we can then go farther... "the U.S. is xx% of the world's population, but the nation produces xxxx% of the world's trash."

It's all part of "learning the global skills" and integrating the subjects to analyze a situation.

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