OU blog

Personal Blogs

Design Museum

Just thinking

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 28 May 2014, 16:00

Learning works if it makes you think; this is why most videos don't work. Watching TV you 'sit back' and turn off. How often does it make you think?

Books require some engagement - the activity is called reading. You think a bit of you takes notes. You think even more if you interpret what you read in a way that makes it your own. This is best achieved if there is a specific goal, typically to research and write a response to a problem addressed in an essay title. In the longer term to sit an exam or to write a longer piece, such as a thesis, or to give a presentation. To read without such application is to row your boat without a rudder. 

If in the past I've said that is it 'time and effort' that leads to learning, then I'd now reduce two words to one. Thinking = time + effort.

What do you think?

Permalink Add your comment
Share post

Comments

Picture of Jan Dering

New comment

I'm sure that your equation makes sense.

I've often found that after reading some study material I need to think of other things, then to come back to material once again. This often proves insightful, as my brain has still been thinking about what I read, while I was doing other things, and will have come up with new information and links to other parts of the study material.

I'm sure that the psychologists will have a term for it. But whatever,  it seems to work for me. smile

It is as if my brain needs the time to process the new information to make sense of it, then find the best links to what it already knows, in order for me to fully understand it. 

So that's my excuse for taking time off my study. tongueout

Design Museum

New comment

It's why we sleep. We have to give our brains a chance to register what we are doing, and feeling and experiencing. I believe that one of the best ways to learn is to read in chunks, falling asleep from time to time ... 

Picture of Jan Dering

New comment

I've tried to read O.U. Materials then fall asleep, but if I'm cosy I tend to fall asleep before much reading gets done, which is a bit a problem.

I find that if I skim read first, that helps as my mind is not fully switched on at this point, it's only after the second reading does my mind really seem to get to grips with what I want it to take in. 

So for me it's three reads and some quick note making. Only then do I truly understand the material I'm studying.

It's just a shame that I don't have my husbands memory. He reads a thing once and it's in his brain complete with understanding. 

Lucky Man!

He often asks me why I'm doing things again. I've tried studying different ways, but it just doesn't seem to sink in any other way.

Design Museum

New comment

Our different brains ... my father and daughter have this 'photographic memory' - they read it and retain it all in one sitting. I do think it has a little to do with focus/application. I am very distractable, so my mind very quickly wanders. A skim read, then a thorough read is what the OU recommends I think. My approach, if I want to use the content, is I have to take notes as I go along, or in an eBook then at least highlight and add notes. The second process is to turn highlights/notes into something that can act as a aide memoir. I find it so odd that I can then read this book a year or so later and take something totally different from it. The wonders of our very different brains - mind is always agog.

Picture of Jan Dering

New comment

Yes I would have to agree with you on that. My brain to can jump around a bit. Which is great for creative thinking, and linking different ideas, or areas of learning together. But when it comes to taking in knowledge, and making sense of it, it can be a problem. 

I make my first rough notes in a spider diagram, as this play's to my strengths.

Then I can flesh these notes out by adding more important information to them after my second reading. Which I guess you could say adds meat onto the bare bones of my knowledge.

I'm find it very interesting to see how other distant students study.

Thank you for sharing yours.