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Thoughts On Learning And Other Stuff

Posts: 4332
Location: Missoula, MT US Hardy:5a Annual Precipitation: 15" Wind:4.2mph Temperature:18-87F
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HI! It's been a little while since I made a long post. Events are currently reaching critical mass at the moment- lots of things going on. I just finished two weeks of AP exams- 8 exams in total, four per week. *sigh* As expected, nothing has improved. We are now doing a bunch of class projects which take a bunch of my time- part of why I'm up so early.

Anyhow, onto the story/thought I was going to share:

So, about seven or so months ago, I taught myself to rollerblade. It started like this: I go outside. I put my rollerblades on. I put my pads and helmet on. I get onto the sidewalk. *splat* I fell down,

Day two would proceed as thus: Go outside. Put on rollerblades, pads, and helmet. Go on sidewalk. *splat* Fall down again.

The next week or two would be the same as day one and two with gradual improvement, with eventually being able to travel about maybe 330 feet (1/16th a mile) without falling over.

I was stupid for not thinking of doing this earlier, but I got tired of circling the same place again and again. So, I looked on YouTube a video of someone rollerblading properly, and that day. I made the jump to going around the little neighborhood pond which is about 1/8th of a mile in circumference. It wasn't rainbows and sunshine, but it wasn't as bad as I would have thought it would be. I had pretended that I was the guy in the video, and I made improvement much faster.

And.... so, that brings me onto the second part of this story- the analysis:
How does this relate to learning? What does this have to do with what is currently going on right now?

From experience (first-hand- i.e. the story of rollerblading) and study, I have learned about different phases of learning, different techniques, and their applications in real life.

These are some of the phases I noticed:
-Phase 1:"I'm trying!" *splat*
-Phase 2: "Woa! I'm getting somewhere!" *splat* "Thought I knew what I was doing"
-Phase 3: "Cool! This ain't too hard!" *thirty minutes later* "I didn't think that would happen!"
-Phase 4: "This is a piece of cake!" *an hour later* *nothing happens* *it was a piece of cake*

Here's what I think was going on during each phase:
-Phase 1: trial and error- you learn the most by failing (and not being discouraged by it)
-Phase 2: sticking with what works
-Phase 3: becoming adventurous and testing new things (i.e. jerry-rigging old stuff to do new stuff)
-Phase 4: putting it all together to get what you want to do done

I mentioned the watching a video part because it correlates with what I have learned in AP Biology about mirror neurons. These neurons are specialized to fire and activate when you watch someone else do something. Say, I watch a video of someone brushing their teeth; my mirror neurons fire and mimc the though process I would need to brush my own teeth. The cool thing about this is that these neurons are jumping through the mirror for you (i.e. switching the perspectives). It is as if you were the one in the video brushing your own teeth. Pretty cool, eh?

As a result, I think by watching the video of the guy rollerblading, it may have increased the speed of my progress in learning to rollerblade.

Onto the second part of the analysis:

I mentioned that I "pretended to be the guy in the video". I think this was also important. By acting like I was someone who had experience, I may have forced myself to think differently and acquire the skills of that person through role-playing or acting essentially. This is part of why I think it is important, not just for children but for adults, too, to play role-playing games with each other. Like: I pretend to mom while you pretend to dad. The importance of these role-playing games is that they get people to shift their perspectives and act the way someone else would behave. And by changing perspectives, one learns what a role entails and how to perform that role well.

How this applies to the real world:

I do hear the phrase that "nothing can substitute for hands-on" experience get tossed around a lot. This may be true for many things, which it probably might be; however, I do not think that online learning should be looked down upon because "nothing can substitute for hands-on experience." I think online learning combined with some at-home practice can get pretty-darned close. First, understanding what you're trying to get done is a good starting point: reading books, watching videos, listening to podcasts, or what not that relates to the matter at hand. Secondly, watching other people do the task you're trying to learn is helpful. Thirdly, trying to do it yourself.

Also, failure is not something to be afraid of, ashamed of, or worried about. It should be expected and welcomed, in my opinion.

This is part of what I think separates me from my brother. He gets very upset when he "fails" at something. The way I like to think of it is that as long as I learned something from the event, it is all fine. Also, if I have no expectations, then there is no self-fulfilling prophecy to fulfill.

Just keep calm and carry on.

By no means do I think that I have all the answers. I just thought this would be an interesting though to share with the permies communities, and as Confucius might say, "Think for your damn self!"- with the utmost respect, of course.Thoughts? Ideas?
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Hey Dave,

I pray college is going great for you. It's been too long since you posted around here.
Awhile back I found this youtube video that might help someone else on learning. There is this guy that mentioned in a book about the time it takes to become expert at any given task. The hours were 10,000 to become an expert. The thing is, competency in a task or subject is a tiny fraction of that 10,000 hours. The video is about learning in 20 hours.
. I wish I was on my laptop so I could have embedded that video.
Mother Tree
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Location: Portugal
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Thanks for sharing that video, Mike. I've embedded it below.

Fire me boy! Cool, soothing, shameless self promotion:
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