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Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by expiated, Nov 24, 2020.

  1. expiated


    Defend against distractions and refine your focus.

    From emails, to text messages, to the latest Netflix series, life is full of distractions. Don't let these distractions stop you from reaching your goals! The following are some of the techniques (simple mental strategies) you can use to overcome challenges to maintaining focus…

    Start by getting focused in the first place. One technique is to set a timer for, say, three minutes and promise yourself that you can stop working when the timer goes off. Then, at the end of three minutes, you might have found the momentum you need to keep working.

    (Note to self: Seeing as I probably have a touch of obsessive compulsiveness, I do not suffer from the problem of finding momentum to keep working in any way, shape or form.)

    You can build on this strategy with the Pomodoro Technique: set a timer for 20 minutes and work without stopping during this time. When the timer goes off, take a five-minute break, then get back to work for another 20 minutes.

    Once you've found your focus, the challenge becomes sustaining it. External interruptions can evaporate your concentration. Control your work environment by eliminating. Put your phone on airplane mode and switch off your Wi-Fi.

    The challenges don't stop when you've found your focus, either. Once you started your task, it's easy to slip into "autopilot" mode. You might feel you're getting a lot done, but if you're not fully engaged with your task, you're less likely to retain new material.

    Combat autopilot with interleaving, which is deliberately alternating between materials and modes of learning. Ideally, interleave by tackling your project in short, regularly-spaced sessions. If you have ten hours in your week to devote to Hebrew, aim for five two-hour sessions rather than one ten-hour session. Then focus on a different aspect or skill set in each session, such as pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar.

    Finally, make the most of your study sessions by paying attention to your mental arousal, or your level of energy and alertness. High arousal generates intense, yet narrow, focus—perfect for repetitive tasks, like practicing musical scales. Low arousal generates a more relaxed and wide-ranging type of focus, best suited to lateral thinking and forming connections, which are necessary for creative tasks such as music composition.

    For optimal learning results, match your arousal level to your task (i.e., perform simple tasks when your focus is more aroused and complex tasks when it's less aroused). Honing your focus using these strategies will ensure you have the mental stamina to complete your ultralearning challenge.
    #11     Dec 27, 2020
  2. expiated


    Taking the shortest route from theory to practice allows you to skill up smoothly.

    A common situation is for someone to learn f foreign language all through high school and then not be able to hold a simple conversation when they visit the country where that language is spoken. The reason for this is a failure to transfer, which is the process of learning something in one context and then transferring it to another.

    Despite its importance, public education often fails to optimize transfer!

    This is because it sets up an indirect path between the learning context and the target environment where the learned skills and knowledge are actually applied—rote learning is a far cry from real-world application.

    One of the goals of ultralearning is to keep the path between one’s learning environment and one’s target environment as direct as possible. Doing this cultivates a quality of ultralearning called directness.

    The most direct way to learn something is to do it, so the most effective way to learn a language is to speak it. The most effective way to learn coding is to write code. This learning-by-doing approach is called project-based learning. It situates the skill you are learning directly in your target environment so that no transfer is necessary!

    One of the most extreme, but effective modes of project-based learning is immersive learning, or total immersion in the target environment. Of course, not everyone has time for immersive learning, and some skills don't lend themselves to this approach (such as learning to fly a Boeing 747 on one’s first day at flight school). In such cases, the next best thing is to try replicating the conditions and pressures of the target environment as closely as possible.

    The main idea is that whatever you're learning, you should try to establish a direct path between your learning context and your target environment. Once you've done that, it's time to drill down and perfect your technique, which is the next topic.
    #12     Dec 28, 2020
  3. expiated


    #13     Dec 29, 2020
  4. expiated



    Elite athletes, piano prodigies, and others who reach the pinnacle of success in their chosen areas of expertise often rely on drilling to perfect their techniques and maintain their competitive edge.

    So, how can drilling be used most effectively to achieve the best results? Crucially, one should never begin by drilling, but should start with the direct-then-drill approach instead. This means initially employing direct practice, whether writing code or weaving tapestry. Then use this direct practice to identify the areas where it would make sense to drill. After drilling, go back to direct practice until it becomes necessary to drill again.

    To make the most of your drilling, apply it to a rate-determining step. In chemistry, the rate-determining step is the part of the process that precipitates a chain reaction. When engaging in self-study, it's the step that unlocks the next level of knowledge or opens up the broadest range of applications.

    For example, you may have a great grasp of the principles of accounting theory, but lack the Excel expertise to put these principles into practice. In that case, learning Excel would be your rate-determining step, so you'd focus on drilling in this area.

    How you should design your drills will depend on the area of your focus. If it can be easily isolated from the rest of your project, you might want to try time-slicing, where you isolate one step in a more involved process, and repeat this step until you've perfected it. For instance, if you wanted to perfect your golf game, you could time-slice by drilling your drive shot.

    Another example would be separating the various language learning skills into different cognitive components—such as vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling—and drilling them separately.

    If you're working on a more creative or complex project, such as creative writing, you might find it challenging to drill in isolation. In that case, try the copycat method instead. Choose a piece of work that you admire, whether it's a painting by Cezanne or a passage by Dickens, and emulate it as closely as you can.

    Another important area of focus is that of retrieval, which is the next topic of interest in this series.
    #14     Dec 29, 2020
  5. expiated


    Using Challenging Recall Strategies is the best way to retrieve information you've learned.

    Because I feel strongly that students cannot put ideas into regular use if they are not consciously aware of them—at least not in any kind of intentional or purposeful manner—my approach to instruction demands that students verify mastery of basic concepts before moving on to other aspects of a given topic.

    This is an approach known as "mastery learning" and is one of the biggest gripes I have against how, in my experience, students are educated in the United States of America—or should I say, how they are NOT educated in the United States of America. As noted in the book I’m summarizing:
    It’s pointless learning new skills, concepts and procedures if you're unable to retrieve them quickly and efficiently.

    There are at least two methods available for improving one’s retrieval rate. But be careful! One of them is far more effective than the other.

    The first is review, or going back over the materials you've just studied. The second is recall, or trying to recall facts and concepts from memory. (I personally call this verbalization.)

    A 2011 study from Purdue University shows recall is far more effective for long-term learning retention, yet most learners (and most U.S. school districts) opt for review strategies over recall strategies when trying to consolidate learning.

    There’s a reason we prefer review over recall and it all comes down to a concept called judgment of learning. Essentially, when we're able to process or understand a concept without difficulty, we judge that we've learned that concept. Reading back over something we've already learned creates the impression that we've grasped this new information. That’s why we gravitate towards passive review strategies: They confirm our perception that we're learning successfully.

    (To help my students avoid being fooled by this faulty judgement/false impression, I have them use an approach to self-assessment I designed called "The Seven-bit Method.")

    But perception isn't everything. Struggling to recall something in the short term means you're far more likely to remember it in the long term. Experts call this desirable difficulty—the difficulty posed by recall is ultimately desirable, as it maximizes our chances of retaining what we've learned (and it is built into the self-assessment technique I mentioned in the previous paragraph).

    Here are some fun ways to make your study sessions more recall-focused.
    • The first is to test yourself on what you've learned using flash cards or, better yet, free recall: after a study session, sit down with a piece of blank paper. Challenge yourself to write down everything you can remember from what you've learned, in as much detail as possible.
    • Another approach is to avoid making notes when reading. Instead, pose questions that force you to recall the answer. For instance, rather than write "The Battle of Hastings took place in 1066," write "When did the Battle of Hastings take place?" Every time you go over your notes, you'll be forced to recall what you've learned.
    • Finally, for a more concrete recall-based challenge, set yourself a task that will test everything you've learned so far. The advantage to this approach is that you don't need to waste time recalling general aspects of your subject that don't apply directly to your intended learning project; rather, you'll recall specific skills and concepts in a targeted way, as you need to use them.
    Nailed retrieval? Then it’s time to get on friendly terms with feedback, which will be discussed in the next section.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2020
    #15     Dec 29, 2020
  6. expiated


    I'm not surprised...

    ScreenHunter_9245 Dec. 30 08.42.jpg

    It is my belief that the first step to solving a problem is to admit that it exists. Hence, my experience with the U.S. public school system leads me to conclude that it will be hard pressed to ever get significantly better because the educational bureaucracy/establishment’s main interest is not the well-being of it learners, but rather, is to hide, downplay, or deny all its problems.

    One example is addressing persistently low student test scores by making the exams easier, and then pointing to the subsequently higher marks as a sign of success.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2020
    #16     Dec 30, 2020
  7. expiated


    Elicit high-quality feedback to identify your weaknesses and improve your performance.

    No matter what level of expertise you're at, if you want to improve you need to…
    1. Seek out feedback on your progress.
    2. Acquire strategies for eliciting feedback.
    3. Learn how to distinguish between different levels of feedback.
    Almost all feedback is useful, but not all feedback is created equal. It’s helpful to divide feedback into three different categories:

    The first and most basic form of feedback is outcome feedback. This feedback can confirm whether or not you've reached a desired outcome. Imagine you're giving a public talk and the audience applauds at the end. That’s outcome feedback. It can be encouraging, but it’s hard to glean any more information from this type of feedback.

    Informational feedback gives you more to work with, by alerting you to the fact that you're doing something wrong. If you give a public talk and audience members walk out at a particular point, they're giving you informational feedback. This kind of feedback is useful for highlighting problem areas and isolating your mistakes.​

    By far the best kind of feedback is corrective feedback, which is feedback that tells you what you're doing wrong and how to fix it. Imagine giving a public talk where there is a professional speechwriter in the audience who gives you notes on what went well, what didn't, and how you can improve. The speechwriter is giving you corrective feedback, and this is far more instructive than outcome feedback.​

    When sorting through your feedback, focus on corrective feedback over informational feedback, and informational feedback over outcome feedback.

    How do you ensure you're receiving enough feedback in the first place? Start by remembering to fail for feedback. If you are not extending yourself to the point where you fail, you stop yourself from getting useful informational or corrective feedback. Pushing beyond your limits will elicit helpful feedback, and acting on that feedback will, in turn, extend your limits.

    Also, don't neglect to seek meta-feedback. It's important to seek feedback on how well your learning methods are working. A simple way to test your learning methods is to track your learning rate. For example, try timing how long it takes you to correctly complete a math problem. If your learning rate isn't tracking upward, act on this negative feedback by revisiting your learning methods.

    By eliciting feedback and prioritizing corrective and informational feedback, you can constantly adjust and improve your performance.
    #17     Dec 30, 2020
  8. expiated


    Smart, strategically-spaced memorization sessions ensure that what you learn really sticks.

    In 2016, Nigel Richards won the World French Scrabble Championships, despite not speaking French. There are 386,000 French words approved for Scrabble, and Richards committed them to memory. That's extreme ultralearning!

    Your ultralearning project might not require so much memorization, but you'll probably need to memorize some facts, formulas or procedures.

    So, how do you learn things so that they "stick"?

    The most productive strategy you can employ is to settle on a memorization system and incorporate it at regular, closely-spaced stages throughout your project. The key is to use a memorization system that's both easy to integrate into your project and well-suited to the type of project you've decided to tackle.

    It can be tempting to commit things to memory in one burst. If you do this, you may see short-term results. For long-term retention, though, it is best to avoid cramming. Make sure you space out your memorization sessions. But don't space them too far apart—if you leave it too long between memory-building sessions, you'll start to see diminishing returns. Ideally, make time for memorization a few days per week.

    If you're memorizing facts or simple concepts, deploy a Spaced Repetition System (SRS). Try flashcards, which test your knowledge of discrete chunks of information in a randomized way. Alternatively, use SRS software where 'randomization' is optimized by an algorithm.

    For more complex concepts, spaced repetition can be equally effective. Here, your focus should be on regularly repeating key processes rather than recalling information. To do this, switch out the flash cards for a refresher project: test your retention by regularly putting your skills into practice. You could even try overlearning: pushing yourself beyond your skill level.

    (This reminds me of a time when one of my colleagues [in the public schools] complained that her class performed very poorly on an annual standardized assessment when it came to the math section dealing with rulers. She remarked that she didn't understand why this was the case, stating that… "We covered this at the beginning of the year!" I was floored by her seeming to believe that all a teacher has to do is introduce a skill once and students will retain it forever.)

    Let's say you want to nail the basics of algebra. Pushing yourself to learn some intermediate formulas could actually help you retain beginner-level formulas more effectively. A 1991 study from Ohio Wesleyan University demonstrates that extending your learning into a higher skill set not only challenges your abilities, it also improves your retention of lower-level skills.

    (I use this all the time with my learners. But in the public schools, it meant I had to deal with administrators who got angry with me for not "sticking to the book," and with upper grade colleagues who got angry with me because they had "nothing to teach" students who came from my classes.)

    For more procedural projects, the most effective retention method is to simply remember by doing. Repeat a procedure enough times and your body will start to automate it.
    #18     Dec 31, 2020
  9. expiated


    Cultivating deep understanding is the surest path to finding your intuitive brilliance.

    Physicist Richard Feynman was known for his uncanny intuition; he had the knack of looking at a complex problem and seemingly plucking the solution out of thin air. The technical term for this ability is intuitive expertise, and it can seem rather mysterious to outside observers. But there is a perfectly rational explanation for Feynman's flashes of brilliance: his deep understanding of physics enabled him to intuit unexpected connections and patterns.

    Whatever subject you may be studying, it takes time and patience to build up the level of deep understanding on which intuitive expertise is built. But by employing a few simple strategies, you can accelerate the rate at which you acquire it.

    Start by getting back to basics. Feynman was famous for asking "stupid questions" and would frustrate his students by bombarding them with questions about basic concepts. However, Feynman knew something his students had yet to learn: Though it is possible to progress to complex concepts when you only have a vague understanding of foundational ones, it is impossible to become an intuitive expert until you know the foundational concepts of your field inside and out.

    A challenging learning experience can lead to a deeper grasp of the subject. That is why you should try to embrace the struggle. Resist taking shortcuts in your learning. If there are two ways to arrive at a solution, choose the longer, more involved one. Learning a few classic chess moves will probably improve your win rate in the short term, but a lengthier study of chess strategy is a better route to a deep understanding of the game.

    (So, students and/or parents who have a deep-seated aversion to struggle should NOT hire me as a tutor for the child in that this is probably not going to go well.)

    Try not to give up immediately when things get really challenging. Instead, implement a struggle timer. Force yourself to sit with every challenge or obstacle for at least ten minutes before you look for a simpler solution.

    Finally, deepen your understanding of core concepts by proving them for yourself. Look at the theorems, ideas and processes that expert practitioners in your field have formulated. Then try to prove them or replicate them for yourself. You're not trying to disprove those practitioners' work—you're trying to understand the procedure and thought patterns behind it.

    Accepting the truth of ideas just because experts say they're true gives you a shallow understanding of your subject. (And assuming your instructors did the same thing before you, it puts you in danger of joining or becoming one of the blind following the blind.) To achieve deep knowledge and intuitive expertise, it's better to work through those ideas for yourself. That way, you'll become one of those experts!
    #19     Jan 1, 2021
  10. expiated


    The list of motion capture systems to look into, from Post #13?
    ScreenHunter_9267 Jan. 01 09.02.jpg
    1. Chordata (You have to build your own system?)
    2. Glycon?
    3. Ikinema - Project Orion ($483 plus a bunch of other components you have to know to buy for a total of $1300.)
    4. IpiSoft is under $1000, but exactly what does it offer? (Has a 30-day free trial.)
    5. Rokoko ($2500) Is finger tracking now available? Offers facial tracking too, but for how much?
    6. Perception Neuron Pro ($4500) with no finger tracking
    7. Shadow Motion Capture System ($4000 plus another $200 a month for software license or another $4000 for lifetime.)
    8. Perception Neuron Studio by Noitom ($6000 without fingers gloves) There are earlier (less expensive) versions available as well, such as the one above and Perception Neuron 2.0 for $1,800 (possibly with finger tracking).
    9. Nansense $6,300 (but the total for everything required is $18,000 without discounts)
    10. Xsens (Motion Capture Suit) $12,000 to $32,000 (Plus, what is all the other stuff you need in order to operate it?)
    #20     Jan 1, 2021