How Do YOU Learn

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					How We Learn & Remember

                          Mike Walker
           UNIV-1011: University Success
                    September 13, 2007
Learning Outcomes
  explore the questions
     What is learning?
     How do we learn?
  examine several theories of learning
  examine levels of learning, understanding &
  discuss the roles in the learning process of
     attitude
     the brain & information processing
     memory
Part I -
How Do We Learn?
Learning Theories & Theorists
How Do We Learn?
  Were we taught to learn?
  Did we have learning class as babies?
  What is the process by which we are
  presented with new tasks or
  information then demonstrate a skill or
  write a paper?
  How might learning happen?
Theories of Learning
  tabula rasa or “blank slate”
      John Locke
      Essay Concerning Human
       Understanding, 1690
      simply that the mind is like an empty
       vessel waiting to be filled
Learning Theories – Activity #1
  Break into groups & scan the handout
  Briefly identify the major philosophy or
  components of the theory, i.e. how does the
  theory say that we learn?
     Name of the theory
     Name of associated theorists (if identified)
     Time theory was popular (if identified)
     Brief overview of the theory and the core belief
      (main points - one paragraph)
  Theories of Learning*
       tabula rasa or “blank               Jean Piaget*       (1896-
       slate”                              1980)

         John Locke
                                              4 Developmental Stages
                                              based on the idea that
           Essay Concerning Human
                                               the developing child
            Understanding, 1690
                                               builds cognitive
           simply that the mind is            structures--in other
            like an empty vessel               words, mental "maps,"
            waiting to be filled               schemes, or networked
                                               concepts for
                                               understanding and
                                               responding to physical
                                               experiences within his or
(*source Online:       her environment.
Theories of Learning*
  Behaviorism*                    Control Theory*
     B. F. Skinner                  William Glasser
     a theory of animal and         behavior is never caused
      human learning that only        by a response to an
      focuses on objectively          outside stimulus. Instead,
      observable behaviors and        the control theory states
      discounts mental                that behavior is inspired
      activities. Behavior            by what a person wants
      theorists define learning       most at any given time:
      as nothing more than the        survival, love, power,
      acquisition of new              freedom, or any other
      behavior.                       basic human need.
Theories of Learning*
Observational Learning*              Social Cognition*
   Albert Bandura                      L. S. Vygotsky
   a social learning theory which      a social cognition
    states that occurs when an           learning model asserts
    observer's behavior changes          that culture is the prime
    after viewing the behavior of        determinant of individual
    a model.                             development. Humans
                                         are the only species to
                                         have created culture, and
                                         every human child
                                         develops in the context
                                         of a culture.
Theories of Learning*
  Brain-based                     Neuroscience*
  Learning*                       The nervous system and the
  This learning theory is based   brain are the physical
  on the structure and function   foundation of the human
  of the brain. As long as the    learning process.
  brain is not prohibited from    Neuroscience links our
  fulfilling its normal           observations about cognitive
  processes, learning will        behavior with the actual
                                  physical processes that
                                  support such behavior. This
                                  theory is still "young" and is
                                  undergoing rapid,
                                  controversial development.
Theories of Learning*
  Right Brain vs. Left           Learning Styles*
  Brain*                         This approach to learning
  This theory of the structure   emphasizes the fact that
  and functions of the mind      individuals perceive and
  suggests that the two          process information in very
  different sides of the brain   different ways. The learning
  control two different          styles theory implies that
  "modes" of thinking. It also   how much individuals learn
  suggests that each of us       has more to do with whether
  prefers one mode over the      the educational experience is
  other.                         geared toward their
                                 particular style of learning
                                 than whether or not they are
Theories of Learning*
Multiple Intelligences*              Constructivism* (current
This theory of human                 theory in favour)
intelligence, developed by           a philosophy of learning founded
psychologist Howard Gardner,         on the premise that, by reflecting
suggests there are at least          on our experiences, we construct
seven ways that people have of       our own understanding of the
perceiving and understanding         world we live in. Each of us
the world. Gardner labels each       generates our own "rules" and
of these ways a distinct             "mental models," which we use to
"intelligence"--in other words, a    make sense of our experiences.
set of skills allowing individuals   Learning, therefore, is simply the
to find and resolve genuine          process of adjusting our mental
problems they face.                  models to accommodate new
Guiding Principles of Constructivism:

   Learning is a search for          In order to teach well, we
   meaning. Therefore, learning      must understand the mental
   must start with the issues        models that students use to
   around which students are         perceive the world and the
   actively trying to construct      assumptions they make to
   meaning.                          support those models.
   Meaning requires                  The purpose of learning is for
   understanding wholes as well      an individual to construct his
   as parts. And parts must be       or her own meaning, not just
   understood in the context of      memorize the "right" answers
   wholes. Therefore, the learning   and regurgitate someone
   process focuses on primary        else's meaning.
   concepts, not isolated facts.
How you learned . . .

  Many (perhaps most) of the things
  that you do everyday, some which
  are cognitively complex, were not
          learned in school.
Things you didn’t learn in school

   Walk and run           Draw a picture
   Talk -- at least one   Plant a garden
   language               Baby-sit
   Ride a bike            Build models or
   Swim                   crafts
   Give directions        Interact with others
   Bake cookies

   You are already an expert learner!
However, learning in a new
environment may require . . .

    new skills
 & new attitudes

 Some minds are
  like concrete:
    mixed and
 permanently set
So ask yourself regularly:

“… so how’s it
workin’ for ya?”
If you keep doing what
  you’re doing you will
 keep getting what you
      are getting!
                 Ingrid   image source:
Learn to enrich your life
  In addition to all of the perks associated with
     Better career
     Better wages
     Higher social status
     Etc.
  learning can enrich the most simple aspects
  of daily life.
  Look at the following painting…
Nude Descending a

 Painted in 1912 by
 Marcel Duchamp
 (1897 - 1968)
  “ . . . symbolic
 painting. . . a dynamic
 form of cubism”
 Now look at the
Your learning may surprise and delight you
   at the most unexpected moments!!
Basic Precept

                Your mind is like
                 a parachute -- it
                    only works
                 when it’s open.
Part II -
Learning & the Brain
How might these theories apply to
The Potential of Your Brain
  Trillions & trillions   Three basic
  of brain cells          learning modalities
  100 billion neurons     Eight intelligences
  in “thinking brain”
  20,000 possible
  between neurons
  Three brains in one
  Two sides to the
The Triune Brain
                   Reptilian (lower)
                      basic body function
                      fight or flight
                   Limbic (middle)
                      mammalian
                      regulates immune &
                       hormone systems,
                       sexuality, emotion &
                   Cortical (higher)
                      reason, use language,
                       plan, think abstractly
Our Auto Pilot
  The brain helps us to learn, naturally
  and intuitively
     Demonstration #1
     Demonstration #2
Demo #1 - Count the F’s

    In-class activity only!
Demo #2 - Count the triangles?

     In-class activity only!
Our Auto Pilot
  The brain helps us to learn, naturally
  and intuitively
  Our brain wants to help us make sense
  of the world - achieve equilibrium
  Learning occurs because of
  disequilibrium - discomfort or
  a ‘sense of wonder’ is natural
However . . .

  the brain is also a tool that we
        consciously use
     to learn and express our
How do we think . . .

Information Processing
A Simple Model of Learning &
Information Processing
                   Sensory Input
                       Decoding
                         Changing sight, sound,
                          smell, taste and touch
                          into nerve impulses
                       May include Storage
                        and/or Retrieval
                        processes (memory)
                       Encoding
                         Changing nerve
                          impulses into sound or
                   Physical Output
A Visual IP Model - Learning
and Memory
Info Processing: the Analogy
        Brain           Computer
  The Senses        Input devices
     see              scanner
     hear             microphone
     touch            keyboard/mouse
     smell/taste      modem
        Brain            Computer
  Working Memory      RAM
  Central Processor      4MB or 128MB
     neuro-network   Central Processor
                         286 or Pentium IV?
        Brain            Computer
  Long-Term Memory   Hard Drive
         Brain             Computer
  Encoding/Decoding,   Operating system
  Absorption/             DOS or Windows
  Retrieval            Software
     abilities           Notepad or Word
     practice
     learned skills
     strategies
        Brain          Computer
 Physical Output   Output Devices
    auditory         monitor
    kinesthetic      printer
    tactile          speakers
    affective        modem
Where the analogy ends
  functioning computers have perfect memories - few
  of us do
  a computer’s processing is linear and fixed; the
  human brain is self-organizing, “the structure of the
  brain's neuron connections is loose, flexible,
  "webbed," overlapping, and redundant”1
  therefore, computers process information effectively
  but cannot make meaning (Constructivism) - we
  have the flexibility of human thought

    1. Source 0nline:
Part III -
How do We Remember?

   Learning & Memory
What is Memory?
Poetically . . .

  Memory is history
recorded in our brain,
memory is a painter, it
paints pictures of the
 past and of the day.
            Grandma Moses
             American Painter

         Image source online:
What is Memory?
                          chemical connections
                           between neurons
                           caused by strong
                          created by action,
  Memory: neural           sensory or emotional
traces in your brain
                          sustained by
Where is Memory?
                   Reptilian (lower)
                      basic body function
                      in the cerebellum
                      skill memory
                   Limbic (middle)
                      mammalian
                      hippocampus
                      long-term memory
                   Cortical (higher)
                      prefrontal cortex
                      working memory
Types of Memory
     exact copy, lasts for a second or less
     “What was that sound?”
 Short-term/Working Memory
     temporary storage, 10 to 20 seconds
     typically 7 items – telephone number
     taking notes, solving a math problem, answering
      an exam question
     hopefully permanent
     relies on storage and retrieval
Working Memory & Learning                       Demo #3

  Copy this; I’ll time you; put your hand up when
  you’re done:
            Can you copy? It’s not hard.
             Look, I’m finished already!
            Now, please copy this using
             your non-dominant hand?!
  A LD may involve Grapho-Motor processing deficits
  and a LD may involve Memory deficits
      Demonstrates role of Working Memory in
      Cognitive vs Associative tasks
  causing a writing disability.
I like this quote:

 The true art of memory is the
        art of attention.

                     Samuel Johnson
The Three Rs of Memory
 Registration (Encoding)*
    something comes to your attention that has
 Retention (Storage)*
    a conscious decision to remember followed by a
     strategy to make it happen
 Recall (Retrieval)*
    ability to remember usually linked to
     strategy/technique used in retention
    *text book processes are similar
Another IP Model - Attention
and Memory
What do we remember?
  Demo #4
     Primacy effect
     Recency effect
     Frequency effect
     Distinctiveness effect
     Organization effect
     Reconstruction effect
One Technique to Remember

  Activity #5
  Half of the class - heads down
  Read the following list - I’ll give you 15
Demo 5

   In-class activity only!
How do we forget?
 Herman Ebbinghaus, 1885
 subjects memorize a list
 of meaningless, three
 letter words
 tracked how quickly his
 subjects forgot the words
 became known as the
 Ebbinghaus or Forgetting
                           Graphic Source:
Ebbinghaus Curve:
                                                               Forgetting curve would start

How do we forget?
                                                               here if we could remember
                                                                everything after a lecture

                                                            However, you have the potential to
                                                            forget less PLUS remember more if
                                                            you review immediately after class

                             The Forgetting Curve

 % Remembered

                80                                                           After Class
                60                                                           Beat the Curve

                 Class   10 min. 24 hours 1 week             1 month
                            Forgetting curve would actually start
                            here as we typically remember only
                           about 75% at the end of a lecture – so
                                 we have less to remember
Overcoming the Curve
                              Immediately        24 hours    1 week later      1 month later
                               after class         later     (or sooner)        (or sooner)

                 80                                                         Ebbinghaus
 Remembered %

                 70                                                         Review 1
                 60                                                         Review 2
                                                                            Review 3
                 40                                                         Review 4
                 20                                                   Notice how less
                 10                                                   is forgotten after
                                                                      each review!!
                  Class 10 min. 24 hrs.      1 wk.   1 mo.
Overcoming the Forgetting Curve
Analogy: the Fishing Trip
So Review
  10 min - After class (or in evening) by completing,
  organizing & comprehending (rewriting, typing)
  notes (e.g. Cornell right column)
  24 hr – Next day, before Ebbinghaus kicks in, reread
  notes, condense to main ideas & create questions
  (e.g. Cornell left column)
  1 week - Before class the following week or earlier,
  review and self-test your recall (e.g. Cornell, cover
  right column & self-test from left)
  Therefore, when you prepare to study for your
  midterms and finals, you have already reviewed the
  material a minimum of 3 times
Improving Your Memory
  Read pages 181 to 189 from your text and
  implement these strategies!
     Have purpose and intention
     Understand what you memorize
     Recite, rehearse & write
     Study during short, frequent sessions
     Limit and organize material
        Separate main points from unimportant details
        Divide material into manageable sections
     Practice the middle
     Create groupings
        70547434614333
        (705) 474 3464 ext. 4333
Improving Your Memory
  Use Visual Aids
     flash cards, mind maps
  Use a tape recorder
     Auditory flash card
  Use Critical Thinking
     process the info, relate it to prior knowledge
  Use Mnemonic Devices
     Create visual images & associations (RR & phil)
     Mental walk strategy (shopping list)
     Create acronyms (HOMES, SCUBA)
     Use songs or rhymes (30 days, P of W)
Improving Your Memory
  Relax                Practice output
  Be active            Review early and
  Use many             regularly
  intelligences        Develop memory
  Organize your time   aids
  Chunk material       Practice, practice,
  Create strong        practice
  associations         Sleep on it
Summary: Memory Aids/Techniques

  Basic                     Advanced
     flash cards           (* See Mind Tools web site)
     mind maps                 Memory Peg System
     mnemonic devices -        Linking System
      auditory and visual       Location Method
     rhymes, rhythms,           (Roman Room)
      songs                     Rhyming Method
Internet Resources - Memory
 Interactive Online Workshops from Virginia Tech
 Mind Tools-Memory Techniques & Mnemonics
 Study Guides & Strategies - Using Memory Effectively
 The Memory Page
 Exploratorium: The Memory Exhibition
 Your Amazing Brain
Keys to Success online resources

  Type in
   will take you to
  Click on
      Chapter 6: Listening, Note Taking, and Memory
In Summary…
   Brain Based Learning video (5:24)

   How to Treat Your Brain Well
      1. Tolerate Confusion
      2. Read for Meaning
      3. Feed Your Brain
      4. Get Good Sleep
      5. Natural Light & Exercise

            Go to Brain Based Learning
For next Thursday’s class
   Read Chapter 3 – Learning Styles (pp. 63 – 76)
   Complete the 2 learning style inventories:
      Pathways to Learning (Multiple Intelligences)
      Personality Spectrum (based on MBTI)
        *!* pay attention to page 68 – about scoring
        One exercise is RATE the other RANK
   be prepared to discuss how these results
   might relate to your course, program, and
   career choices
... so, what did we learn today?

  What is learning?/How do we learn?
     theories of learning - 12 theories
     Constructivism – learning is making meaning
  Attitude & opening our minds to learning
  The Brain - our primary learning tool
     a bit about how it functions, automatically
     a bit about how it helps us learn
... so, what did we learn today?
  Levels of information processing
  & thinking from the
     intuitive to the
     consciously cognitive - Bloom’s Taxonomy
  Memory and how it works
     demonstrated
       one memory system (of many)
       two memory techniques (of many)
     looked at many memory strategies
... so, what did we learn today?

  Where to find out more
      from our textbook
      from the web
  Collect “Why Am I Here” Assignments