If you’re going to learn anything, you need two kinds of prior knowledge:
• knowledge about the subject at hand, like math, history, or programming
• knowledge about how learning actually works
The bad news: Our education system kinda skips one of them, which is terrifying, given that your ability to learn is such a huge predictor of success in life, from achieving in academics to getting ahead at work. It all requires mastering skill after skill.
“Parents and educators are pretty good at imparting the first kind of knowledge,” shares psych writer Annie Murphy Paul. “We’re comfortable talking about concrete information: names, dates, numbers, facts. But the guidance we offer on the act of learning itself — the ‘metacognitive’ aspects of learning — is more hit-or-miss, and it shows.”
To wit, new education research shows that low-achieving students have “substantial deficits” in their understanding of the cognitive strategies that allow people to learn well. This, Paul says, suggests that part of the reason students perform poorly is that they don’t know a lot about how learning actually works.
It’s a culture-wide issue.
Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel, psychologists at Washington University in St. Louis and coauthors of “Make It Stick: The Science Of Successful Learning,” say that “how we teach and study is largely a mix of theory, lore, and intuition.”
So let’s cut through that lore. Here are learning strategies that really work.
Force yourself to recall.
The least-fun part of effective learning is that it’s hard. In fact, the “Make It Stick” authors contend that when learning if difficult, you’re doing your best learning, in the same way that lifting a weight at the limit of your capacity makes you strongest.
It’s simple, though not easy, to take advantage of this: force yourself to recall a fact. Flashcards are a great ally in this, since they force you to supply answers.
Don’t fall for fluency.
When you’re reading something and it feels easy, what you’re experiencing is fluency.
It’ll only get you in trouble.
Example: Say, for instance, you’re at the airport and you’re trying to remember which gate your flight to Chicago is waiting for you at. You look at the terminal monitors — it’s B44. You think to yourself, oh, B44, that’s easy. Then you walk away, idly check your phone, and instantly forget where you’re going.
The alternative: You read the gate number. Then you turn away from the monitor and ask yourself, what’s the gate? If you can recall that it’s B44, you’re good to go.
Connect the new thing to the old things.
“The more you can explain about the way your new learning relates to prior knowledge,” the “Make It Stick” authors write, “the stronger your grasp of the new learning will be, and the more connections you create that will help you remember it later.”
When you’re weaving in new threads into your pre-existing web of knowledge, you’re elaborating.
One killer technique is to come up with real-life examples of principles you’ve just uncovered. If you’ve just learned about slant rhyme, you could read poems that exhibit it. If you’ve just discovered heat transfer, you could think of the way a warm cup of cocoa disperses warmth into your hands on a cold winter’s day.
Reflect, reflect, reflect.
Looking back helps. In a Harvard Business School study, employees who were onboarded to a call center had 22.8% higher performance than the control group when they spent just 15 minutes reflecting on their work at the end of the day.
“When people have the opportunity to reflect, they experience a boost in self-efficacy,” HBS professor Francesca Gino tells us. “They feel more confident that they can achieve things. As a result, they put more effort into what they’re doing and what they learn.”
While reflecting may seem like it leads to working less, it leads to achieving more.
// Broadband TV News
German commercial TV group ProSiebenSat.1 has commenced offering selected programmes from its domestic free-to-air channels Sat.1, ProSieben, kabel eins, sixx, ProSieben Maxx and Sat.1 Gold to viewers abroad on the PC, laptop, tablet and smart phone. Read the story »
When you find a picture online that would be perfect for your project, it’s hard to know whether you’re allowed to use it. Follow this flow chart to know for sure and avoid getting yourself in any trouble.
// Brand Republic News Home Page
Russian beer drinkers can now unlock free-to-view movies on their computer, smartphone or tablet with a swipe of their Bluetooth-enabled bottle of Grolsch – though technophiles should be wary of excitedly spilling beer over their device in the process.
// Business | Business 2 Community
It used to be that, when it came to marketing metrics, there was only one that mattered: purchases. A purchase, after all, means revenue. It’s trackable, traceable, and attributable. Other metrics? Not as much. But the new metrics (and mindsets) arising from e-commerce have given us a genuine appreciation for “non-purchase” activities as well. Even if non-purchase behaviors don’t track to immediate revenue, they do provide us with something that can be equally as important: clarity about our customers. In its latest Ecommerce Quarterly (EQ1 2014) Report, Monetate highlighted some of these non-purchase behaviors and translated those statistics—like traffic, page views, bounce rates referral traffic market share—into an increased understanding of a customer’s context and behaviors. While many of these metrics are now well understood by e-commerce experts, it’s worthwhile to take a step back and put all of these (and other) non-purchasing metrics into their proper context. Whether it’s contacting customer service, interacting with a brand on social media, or checking out product ratings and reviews, these types of metrics help us get a clearer picture about who’s doing what (and why). That can have an impact on our business in two ways:
- These behaviors are often precursors to purchasing.
- Even when they’re not precursors to purchasing, they’re strong indicators of a customer’s potential value.
Having that data gives you more insight into which customers are the right customers for you to invest in and which products you need to invest in to better serve those customers. For the marketer, that’s a welcome development. It’s also a welcome development for the CFO, because it means marketing is building a more valuable customer base. All of these are key “building blocks” in creating a customer-centric business strategy—something that would be hard to do if you only look at aggregate purchasing.data. But as we move toward a greater acceptance of (and reliance on) these metrics, it’s important to recognize that there are limits in collecting and leveraging too many non-purchasing metrics. There is a fine line between those that can be useful (for the reasons stated above) and those that are just “nice to know.” After all, e-commerce websites aren’t around to simply create community; and generate reams of data for the fun of it—they’re around to foster activities that will indeed lead to purchasing (and overall firm profitability). The real skill for an e-commerce firm is figuring out early which non-purchase metrics are—and which ones aren’t—genuine indicators of purchasing and long-term loyalty.