Monday, July 18th, 2016
Learning is the process of moving information from out there —from a textbook, a company report, a musical score — to in here, inside our heads, and making that knowledge our own.
How we learn shapes what we know and what we can do. Our knowledge and our abilities are largely determined not by our IQ or some other fixed measure of intelligence, but by the effectiveness of our learning process: call it our learning quotient.
The science of learning is focused on understanding how people learn. It is a relatively new discipline born of an agglomeration of fields: cognitive science, psychology, philosophy and neuroscience.
When it comes to human organs, none is quite so mysterious as the brain. For centuries, humans have had numerous misconceptions and misunderstandings about how the organ works, grows, and shapes our ability to learn and develop.
The brain is a machine with limited resources for processing the enormous quantity of information received by the senses. As a result, attention is extremely selective and the brain must rely on all sorts of shortcuts if it is to cope effectively. Brains operate on the “use it or lose it” principle, so we have to learn something when we need it and not before.
20% of your blood is in the brain and it’s a myth that we only use 5-10% of the brain – we use it all. Different parts of the brain specialise in different tasks so we can engage in more than one task at the same time, as long as each uses a different part of the brain.
Summing-up: Greater understanding of our brain’s functioning, abilities, and limitations allows us to constantly improve the productivity of our study sessions, working hours (and after hours), and teaching skills. The science of learning studies how we can learn.