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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Philosophy of Learning

I found this on a webpage from the MIT OpenCourseWare Calculus course.
Philosophy of Learning

1. Amount learned is proportional to time put in.
2. Best way to learn is to figure out ideas yourself or teach them to someone else.
3. Second best is to do so with hints from others like your friends or us.
4. Third best is to get the ideas from reading; but pause in your reading to think about them.
5. Fourth best: unacceptable: don't get them at all.
6. The object of a lecture is not so much to inform you of important facts, but rather to stimulate you to try to learn about some concept.
7. The object of the course is to empower you to use the concepts of calculus in any context.

I would like to make some comments on these points.
1. Of course. I nevertheless disagree.
- Finding the right time to study is very important. Study when you feel energetic, hungry to learn, wanting to know and agressive enough to tackle any hard problem thrown at you.
- Better study one hour each day than seven hours every Saturday. The brain somehow needs backup time to process new concepts learned.
2. Very true! The trick is to find 'things' to find out for yourself which add the knowledge required for the course you are taking. About the 'teaching', I guess he means that you can verify if you have mastered a subject by explaining it in your own words.
3, 4, 5. Yeah...
6. Lectures. Personally, I don't like lectures. They cost you a LOT of time. You either understand what's being told at a lecture ( and that's because you already mastered the subject ) or you simply don't understand what's being told which makes it all a big time-waster if not worse.
7. Yeah...

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