Daily Archives

23 December 2013

How to learn?

I liked the fragment from this article a lot:

Nu o sa mai “tocesti” niciodata. Desi toata lumea stie ca la medicina pierzi noptile invatand, daca dai de un curs care trebuie tocit, evita-l. Cauta in schimb o carte despre materia aia care sa poata fi citita cu placere. Intotdeauna e una la biblioteca. Si o sa o citesti cu placere pentru ca oamenii care au scris-o iubesc ceea ce fac, iar dragostea trezeste interesul si pentru informatia cea mai arida. Prefera metoda asta chiar daca auzi ca la examen profesorul vrea sa scrii cuvant cu cuvant dupa cursul lui. Nu e adevarat. Iar in felul asta, facultatea o sa treaca foarte usor. (Vlad Stroescu on MedLive)

What he says is the following – in school, you have two basic options:

  • You can learn things by heart, forcing yourself to remember things.
  • You can read things with pleasure, with enjoyment, being happy with what you read. Instead of focusing to remember most things in a text book, you should rather focus on reading things which give you pleasure.

While most people would think that the first option is not only implied by default, but also mandatory, the author says he is comfortable to suggesting this as a viable alternative to memorizing things.

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Double checking vs. Typing twice

  • Let’s say someone gives you a written note with a bank account.
  • Let’s say you’re a teacher and have to calculate averages for 30 pupils from 4 different exams at a respected university.
  • Let’s say you’re an accountant, and have 40 bills to put into an accounting system.

Each of these situations should leave with little room for any error, and with big problems if you do something wrong (money are put into a different account, a pupil does not join the university and, finally, you do wrong things in accounting).

How to make sure you’re right about inserting the data correctly?

  • A classical solution would be “insert & check”. The thing is, most people would be affected by confirmation bias – “Oh, I wrote 19,275, and here it is on the original paper – 19,275. This must be right!”. Therefore, to be absolutely sure everything is correct, most people would check more than one time. But the final feeling would still be of uncertainty – “What if, still, I am wrong?”.
  • I would suggest a solution which is more efficient time-wise, and, likely, with a better final peace of mine – “This must be right!”. The solution involves inserting the data two (at extremes, three) times. So, instead of making an Excel with all the pupils’ data, make 2 (even 3) Excel spreadsheets. In the end, there are automated solutions which check for differences. Even a fast ALT + TAB between two open windows with the same data should give a good result. In the end, the job is done faster & with better results for the inner peace.

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