Lately I’ve been doing a Coursera course called: “Learning how to Learn” by Barbara Oakley and Terrence Sejnowski. The course is about learning strategies including how to manage memory, procrastination and a lot of other different topics. It’s been going well and I think it is a good class. The thing that I’ve probably not enjoyed about it is that it can get very meta. The class discusses the diffuse mode compared to the focused mode of thinking, which is all well and good but when you’re entering the diffuse mode your brain says “oh I’m in the diffuse mode now” and that can throw you out of it because you can become conscious of it and enter the focused mode of thinking about the diffuse mode, otherwise, it’s good!
I enjoy the length of the videos, they’re shorter and around 1-4 minutes compared to the hour-long lecture style videos that some other courses do. I find it easier to focus, watch and learn from these shorter videos.
Part of this involved her interviewing a guy called Scott Young and he is trying to learn four languages in a year. This is better than most people do in a year. He’s doing it entirely by immersion. Scott is very much into learning as well, he does a lot of additional learning and was able to compress the entire 4 year Computer Science course from MIT into a 1 year self-paced course. He spoke about using the MIT Open Courseware to test himself. This gave me the thought of trying to get exams off the MIT Open Courseware website as well as the SACE website. Every year SACE puts up the last year’s exam questions as well as solutions. They offer so many subjects and they’re all free to use for your own purposes (non-commercial).
So, I’ve downloaded the German language exam. My theory here with all these exams is to give them a go, check my answers against the answer set and see how I went. The plan here is that any time I run into a problem I will research it and eventually I will have a good working knowledge of the topic. I think this will be better than researching and reading about the topic but never actually using anything. This will be far more question/answer focused. I’ve downloaded part of the beginners reading exam and will have a go in the next few days and report back.