Fixing Our “Faulty Mental Models” of Learning
A great article in UCLA Magazine about research on how to learn:
“Robert A. Bjork, director of the UCLA Bjork Learning and Forgetting Lab, conducts studies comparing the relative effectiveness of different learning approaches, as well as surveys on what people believe about their own learning. And it turns out that most of us are going about it the wrong way.
‘What we know from research to be the functional architecture of human learning and memory doesn’t appear to be understood by the user,’ Bjork says. ‘So we walk around with a faulty mental model.’ You might think we would have figured out what works best through trial and error, but the paradox is that we tend to falsely assume we’re learning more when we follow the conventional strategies.
Bjork says that’s probably because we don’t distinguish between learning and performance. If we cram the night before for a big test or job interview, for example, we might do well but, as most any college student can tell you, whatever we learned from a night of cramming information into our head is far less likely to stick much past the test.
Bjork and others in his field say there are effective ways to make long-term knowledge gains—important in a world in which we’re increasingly responsible for our own learning inside and outside the classroom.” Read more here.
The article highlights a point I make often: We are very poor judges of how well we’re learning and how well we’ll remember. That’s why we need the science of learning—because our intuition on these matters is unreliable.