Nicky Case Talk Summary

This is my notes from a talk that I attended by in March. I took notes on the lecture, as well as some prompted questions I got during her talk.

  • Why do we lose that sense of learning as an adult? It would be great if everyone was learning new things, but at one point did we settle for cheap thrills. The best things to do is to go for activities that have dual purpose, or kill two birds with one stone.
  • For novice learners, passive is better than active. Advanced learners - > active is better than passive. Expertise reversal. This makes sense, but I don’t know if the boundary between expert learner and passive learner is clear. For example, let’s say that you’re a programmer. But if you programmed before and you want to pick up a functional programming language, should you just hack away, or get your fundamentals down? I think you should do both at the same time and reinforce as you go.
  • Working memory is the bottleneck. 4+-1 chunks. Make sense. Similar to CPU/computer caching. Why do we have this 4+-1 chunks? What is the explanation for this number?
  • Memory is determined by patterns and summarizing.
  • Advanced learner already has the nets and the foundations to create new learning. This is true.
  • Weak learners working memory becomes overwhelmed.
  • Look into cognitive load theory
  • How can we apply all this theory to programming/coding? You don’t really read a lot of code on a daily basis.
  • Pair the right content load with the right brain. This also depends on the resting status of your brain.
  • I liked building a ship inside a bottle picture. There’s definitely something deep about this, which I may explore a bit later.
  • You should build one neural connection at a time strategy. The ideal gap for a learner is one connection away.
  • All learning must require connection to things already known. Do not build from scratch.
  • Effective learning requires a reasonable difficulty level set. You can’t just throw the learner into the far deep end out of nowhere.

I’m very interested in the learning process in general. One of the biggest things that we should work on is allowing students to make tons of mistakes, as many of them as possible without fear. I think we learn from making mistakes. For me, I remember the times I’ve screwed up more than my major successes. It’s NOT because I always screw up.

Other books to look into:

Why students like school? Daniel Willingham

Marvin Minsky Society of Minds