I started a new Coursera course today: Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects . One of the professors of the course is Barbara Oakley, whose new book just came out and is the basis of the course: A Mind For Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra). The other professor is Terrence Sejnowski.
I attempted to blog through the two classes I did on Coursera in the past, but didn’t keep up. (I enjoyed and finished the courses though). I will try again with this course, we’ll see how it goes. There are lots of short and required videos to watch and some optional readings, including the book. so plenty of materials to muse on.
The first good lesson is about rules of studying. Extended excerpts from the book are posted on the course’s site, but it wouldn’t be ethical for me to copy it out here to a public site. So let me just share the bulletpoints form the excerpts:
10 Rules of Good Studying
- Use recall.
- Test yourself.
- Chunk your problems.
- Space your repetition.
- Alternate different problem-solving techniques during your practice.
- Take breaks.
- Use explanatory questioning and simple analogies.
- Eat your frogs first.
- Make a mental contrast.
Ten Rules of Bad Studying
- Passive rereading—sitting passively and running your eyes back over a page.
- Letting highlights overwhelm you.
- Merely glancing at a problem’s solution and thinking you know how to do it.
- Waiting until the last minute to study.
- Repeatedly solving problems of the same type that you already know how to solve.
- Letting study sessions with friends turn into chat sessions.
- Neglecting to read the textbook before you start working problems.
- Not checking with your instructors or classmates to clear up points of confusion.
- Thinking you can learn deeply when you are being constantly distracted.
- Not getting enough sleep.