Ulrich Boser: Learn Better



Do some work too Use the power of recall and spaced repetition systems such as Anki to really cement what you know Our brains are naturally sort of leaky so common reflection is necessary to truly absorb information Consolidate what you know Visualize if applicable Rethink your learning process Think about thinking Some similar takeaways to the Coursera course Learning How to Learn which I really loved but this book is also worth reading even if you ve taken the course Let me be honest I m a biased reviewer In fact I wrote this book But GoodReads is giving me the chance to say a few words and other people whose opinions that I trust have been saying good things about the book Publisher s Weekly called Learn Better engaging and thought provoking while author Walter Isaacson said the book was alternately humorous surprising and profound My goals with the book were pretty simple and I aimed to translate the new science of learning to make it accessible and informative to describe how people learn to learn The result I hope is a narrative introduction into the research of how people gain new skills and knowledge Did I succeed Did I fail Want to give me feedback Send me a note at ulrich ulrichboser com Learning is a skill You can get better at it Boser can help you discover how This is a readable well paced organized introduction to the scientific literature on learning Occasionally a bit heavy on anecdote much like Malcolm Gladwell but overall uite informative It focuses mostly on the big picture explaining in a general sense how learning occurs and how to structure your approach to learning in a global sense Some specific practices are recommended such as spaced repetition and self uizzing but these really aren t the focus The back of the book contains some useful summaries strategies and bibliography Probably the most significant point this book makes is that in order to learn well people need to think about and monitor their own learning So for example in attempting to learn German I ought to identify priority objectives devise a systematic plan for learning keep regular tabs on how my learning is progressing and occasionally reflect on or tweak my process This metacognition taking a step back and thinking about thinking not only helps someone learn a particular task better but also improves the person s ability to learn in general It was okay Some useful content but not well written and in desperate need of a better editor Freuent typos absent or poorly placed words hampered meaning and discredited the author s claims of expertise Could have easily been summarized in one well written blog post rather than filling a whole book If you re into stuff like this you can read the full reviewProfessor of Something Learn Better by Ulrich Boser The act of writing is a good example of metacognition because when we think about composing sentences and paragraphs we re often asking ourselves crucial metacognitive uestions Who will be reading this Will they understand me What things do I need to explain This is why writing is often such an effective way to organize one s thoughts It forces us to evaluate our arguments and think about ideas some describe writing as a form of applied metacognition In Learn Better by Ulrich Boser When I was a kid we played football the European version I hate the word soccer all day and must have been well over 10K hours None of us got near even semi pro football My son could do sprint training for 4 hours every night but he s not going to be Usain Bolt There are thousands of musicians who have put in the practice but they re all on the 9 to 5 as well like myself well I m on the 0830 to no end in sight schedule but that s ust me being my usual obnoxious self Are we supposed to believe a la Gladwell that if we put in 10K hours we ll become experts at something I don t believe this number and neither does Boser I think it s ust a number which Gladwell thought would look good in one of his books I forget which What about thinking about learning Is there something there. Erhuman speeds Boser’s witty engaging writing makes this book feel like a guilty pleasure not homework Learn Better will revolutionize the way students and society alike approach learning and makes the case that being smart is not an innate ability learning is a skill everyone can master With Boser as your guide you will be able to fully capitalize on your brain’s remarkable ability to gain new skills and open up a whole new world of possibilitie.

Ultimately it is lacking in writing uality and meanders with its stories following formulaic non fiction format of This person knows He is a at University and studies Once upon a time he was and wondered which led him to study and discover Over and over Regardless Boser provides a narrative format to learning research better served in a well structured text such as The ABCs of Learning which I absolutely loved and does a robust ob of interpreting the research than Boser s arbitrary assumptions Additionally I am not sure that his categorizations of learning progress Value Target Develop Extend Relate Rethink and necessarily accurate and need to follow in succession rather than in parallelThis is a good introductory text and a uick read noting for a moment that its individual points regarding learning techniues are perfectly accurate but for those interested there are better books The biggest issue I had with the book is that it never seemed to know if it was geared at school learning students teachers parents etc or adult learning learning new skills information etc There would be long passages about adult learning what I m interested in that would end in and this is how it applies to a chemistry test Some of the examples were condescending I bet you don t know the capital of Australia Or how a toilet works and while the little pop uizzes illustrated a point about school learning by the last chapter I was bored since they rarely referenced anything beyond the first chapter There were also better and interesting resources the author could ve used like Taylor s learning cycle which A Kiss To Change Her Life just ended up feeling like lazy researchDespite the author touting his use of a freelance editor I wonder if they didn t see the Relate chapter The chapter used the word analogy to talk about SAT analogies bird is to nest like metaphors reflecting on Einstein sourney may give perspective and critical thinking what is true possibly true probably not true and ridiculous about Holy Blood Holy Grail s arguments The book references some good research but I can t in good faith recommend it especially if you know anything about adult learning If you re interested in school learning and reforming the way things are taught then you may get a little out of it but I m sure there are better books about the trouble with American education And as a manifesto to change education which the epilogue felt like a bit it lacked clarity and a driving call to action There s good content here But it s one of those popular science books that s about 90% anecdotes Some people learn well from this way of writing but I find it tiresome I enjoyed reading this There s some very valuable information and examples on better learning techniues Some are very obvious butI recommend I will caveat this by saying I am probably the wrong audience for this book since I read a lot of this type of book and I studied cognitive psychology as part of my grad school curriculum But I hated this book It usesoverused the most trite practices of pop science books in a way that will annoy anyone with any knowledge of the subjectHe repackages established learning theories by giving anecdotes from contemporary researchers instead of referencing the established terminology If this is the only book you will ever read that s fine If you want to know then using the established terminology would be helpful Examples calling it the forgetting curve instead of Ebbinghaus s forgetting curve Calling it spaced practice instead of spaced repetition Doing a whole page on ZPD without actually calling it ZPD or once mentioning Vygotsky instead referencing some researcher or educator he had coffee with He talkes about how an educator at University of California discovered that some students used large piles of flashcards with spaced repetition Yes it s called a Leitner box and it is hardly revolutionaryHe uses sloppy writing Roger Craig did not invent spaced learning though the author sort of implies it SuperMemo and Duolingo did not add it to their programs because of him. For centuries experts have argued that learning was about memorizing information You're supposed to study facts dates and details; burn them into your memory; and then apply that knowledge at opportune times But this approach to learning isn’t nearly enough for the world that we live in today and in Learn Better Their Convenient Amish Marriage (Pinecraft Homecomings journalist and education researcher Ulrich Boser demonstrates that how we learn can matterust as much as what we learnIn this brilliantl.

It existed long before him Which one can logically deduce from the note that he used Anki to practice for JeopardyHe repeats constantly In every chapter he repeat the same ideas self uizzing or asking uestions getting feedback from an expert etc The book could have been a third of the size without the repetition Unless he is going for spaced repetition see what I did there Calling things the wrong things he spent a whole chapter on analogies What he was really talking about was pattern matchingNon seuiturs Once part talked about how people don t notice things and described a picture that had been drawn on and no one noticed for weeks to a psych study about people not noticing a fight on the street thank you for not citing the gorilla in the basketball game The piece wraps with the conclusion that our brain is on autopilot because he used confirmation bias and ustification to buy himself a new grill huhOdd little things that make no sense in the real world He was 6 so he was too young to have drawn a mustache on a painting Really Then my 4yo is wildly precocious People who do lots of PowerPoint presentations don t put much thought into doing new PowerPoints because they are so used to it even if the meeting is different Huh If the content is different and you are a professional then of course you put work into it the delivery method is immaterial According to him everyone apparently scores themselves higher than average on how a toilet works Uh nope I know ack about a toilet and the beauty is that I don t have to Everyone is overconfident so therefore it s Neimhaim (Neimhaim, just embarrassing to to give the I ve got no idea shrug Why Wouldn t you rather be the genuine person who admits they don t know something and gives someone else an opportunity to show what they know or the asshole who pretends he knows it all while everyone recognizes he doesn t and sneers behind his back Is that a guy thing I have never felt the need to be omniscient or an expert in every single subject on the planet That sounds really boring anywayIf you re going to read books on learning read something else Read Josh Waitzkin s book Or Tim Ferriss s books he s less of a bro in the later ones Or Daniel Goleman Or Csikszentmihalyi Read Jim Gee Ruth Colvin Clark Clark uinn Skip this one Though if you do read it it is skimmable he takes forever getting to a pointThe unfortunate thing is that the methods he cites are not wrong There s a lot of good advice in there It sust packaged as new when it s not skips over properly citing the founders in the field and the proper names of theories in order to make it sound new and makes odd umps in places It could have been a much better book than it is with ust a little work Pretty good I think it was longer than it needed to be but the examples did a good ob of illustrating the benefits of putting into action the methods described within each chapter So the ways we learn better arevalue see the value in what you re learning If your disengaged out of principle it s unlikely you ll learn much in your activity If you re not interested you re telling your brain not to learntarget know what it is you want to learn and target your learning goals every session Having a measurable outcome uite increases one s abilitydevelop get rapid feedback on what you need to improve Use recall and self uizzing as much as possible Tutoring is super effective Take lessons if you can they helpextend typically we hit plateaus or places where we re comfortable with our ability but still not as good as we can get Train near the edges of your understanding or current capacity in order to stretch said capacity Deliberate practice you ve probably heard it before 600000 minutes or 36 million seconds if you preferrelate draw connections use analogies make sense of the seemingly disparate information you re receiving and try to paint a cohesive picture We store relationships and connections between concepts much better than isolated factsrethink reflect on what you ve learned Take time for silence Let your background brain. Y researched book Boser maps out the new science of learning showing how simple techniues like comprehension check ins and making material personally relatable can help people gain expertise in dramatically better ways He covers six key steps to help you “learn how to learn” all illuminated with fascinating stories like how Jackson Pollock developed his uniue painting style and why an ancient Japanese counting device allows kids to do math at sup.

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