Thursday, May 6, 2010

Learning While You Dream

This article from the New York Times focuses on a recent study published in Current Biology. the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center recently conducted a study focusing on the role of sleep and dreams on learning and problem solving.

The study focuses on 99 volunteers who trained for an hour on a three-dimensional virtual maze. At the end of the hour, half of the participants were kept awake for 90 minutes but allowed to read or relax. The other half were allowed to sleep for 90 minutes but were awakened periodically and asked to describe their thoughts or dreams. After the 90 minutes were up, all participants were asked to tackle the puzzle again.

For participants who did not sleep, their second try at the puzzle yielded the same or worse results than the first hour. For participants allowed to sleep, the study registered marginal improvement, though not statistically significant results. However, the 4 participants who reported dreaming about the maze cut their completion time in half, and their final scores were ten times better than those who had slept and not dreamed. All 4 participants who dreamed were recorded as struggling with the maze during the first hour.

Researchers included several reasons they speculated that those who dreamed improved their scores.
  • When topics grip people at an emotional level, the brain is forced to continue the process even when the person is asleep.
  • The brain is tuned to find associations you don't notice when awake.
Researchers also made recommendations based on their study.
  • If a person wants to improve the likelihood they will dream about a topic, the best way is to become emotionally invested in it.
  • Researchers also recommend future studies on ways to format information that will increase the ability to induce dreams.

An Intentional Modeling Process to Teach Professional Behavior: Students' Clinical Observations of Preceptors

In this article, the author describes an innovative approach to role modeling called the Students' Clinical Observations of Preceptors (SCOOP) used to teach medical students professionalism and communication skills during their clinical training. This method is innovative because it reverses the traditional direction of structured observations.

The author argues that on a personal and collegial level, professionalism is reflected when physicians practice integrity, honesty, accountability, respect for the expertise of others, self-reflection motivated by a drive toward self-improvement, and awareness of their own limitations. Although medical school report some formal training in professionalism such as isolated didactic presentations during preclinical courses, to courses integrated throughout the entire medical school curriculum, the "informal" and "hidden"curriculum may exert more influence than the formal curriculum in the moral and professional development
of students and residents.

Role modeling is an effective way to teach the "intangibles"; however, it must incorporate two key components: intentional modeling of important learning goals, and focused observation
on the part of the learner. Students' Clinical Observations of Preceptors (SCOOP) provides an observation framework for students that reverses the roles of preceptors and learners in Structured Clinical Observations (SCO).

SCOOP is performed as follows:
The preceptor informs the student that there will be no questions about the content or clinical reasoning reflected in the interaction allowing the student to better focus onthe process, skills, and behaviors being intentionally modeled.

The student is given a check list of clinical skills and behaviors such as such as medical interview skills, relationship skills, and approaches to the physical examination to focus their observations. This framework also helps preceptors place their behaviors in a meaningful context for students.

After the observation commences, the preceptor will ask the student a series of questions to open discussion regarding their observations.

This process is beneficial to the preceptors because it improves their self monitoring and is beneficial to the students because they learn directly from faculty members who deal with uncertainty, deliver difficult information, or recognize areas for professional

This type of learning (role-modeling) can be applied to the field of intelligence because new analysts can benefit from observing the way "mentors" deal with uncertainty, deliver difficult information, or recognize areas for professional improvement. What the article did not mention; however, is outlining the way physicians think or how they diagnose. In order for this to be more effective for analysts, it would be important for mentors to explain their methods and thought processes via decision trees or an alternative tool in addition to displaying professional behavior.

Jones W, Hanson J, Longacre J. An Intentional Modeling Process to Teach Professional Behavior: Students' Clinical Observations of Preceptors. Teaching & Learning in Medicine [serial online]. Summer2004 2004;16(3):264-269. Available from: Academic Search Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed May 6, 2010.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Police Recruit Training: Facilitating Learning Between the Academy & Field Training

This article, coming from the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, discusses how new police recruits learn in two very different environments. "Police recruit training occurs across multiple learning activities; it begins in the classroom and ends with hands-on field experience." According to the author there is plenty of literature that focuses on each individual activity assuming that knowledge will transfer between settings, however this is not necessarily the case. There is a growing realization within the law enforcement (LE) community that organizations need to hone in on how learning extends across activities (i.e. - from the classroom to the field).

This study was conducted at a regional police academy in Michigan that is the training headquarters for a medium-sized department with over 200 sworn officers. The author selected 10 cadets quasi-randomly and gathered data through observation and structured interviews. Furthermore, in the field the author rode along with the new recruit and his/her mentor in order to record, transcribe and code the ensuing dialog to see what the recruit had learned in the academy.

The Academy
In this study, the academy work consisted of primarily classroom lecture (a traditional lecture format), however there were other portions of the programs such as firearms proficiency, defensive tactics, first aid, driving strategies and police scenarios. The author notes that the traditional lecture format is the norm across the police academy world and that it follows a behaviorist line of teaching. Furthermore, "learning in the academy depends on lecture and less than 3% of basic training is spent on alternative forms of instruction".

Many leading scholars note that this pen and paper form of learning is outdated and that perhaps a "problem-based approach" would be a better method. This method focuses on using critical thinking skills to remedy real-world problems. According to the author this method stresses an "andragogical approach" which assumes learners are self-directed. Many of the recruits studied, drew upon previous experience in police work to supplement their learning.

Another possible method of teaching that is similar to the andragogical approach is the "constructivist approach". This approach is learner centered, involves reciprocal learning and peer collaboration to teach in an effective manner. In the constructivist approach, the teacher acts as a facilitator who guides individuals/groups in problem-solving and critical-thinking exercises using real-world scenarios.

Field Training
The author notes that learning in the field is much different than in the classroom. In most programs, probationary officers train for 16 weeks, rotating through 3 phases with many different field training officers. This form of learning closely resembles an apprenticeship where the new officer gradually transitions into the role of a full-time officer. This allows the new officer to bridge the knowledge gap between the academy and what actually happens on the streets. The author notes that one finding of his is that the training officers generally take the new officer's knowledge for granted and some training officers even dismissed the significance of the academy as a training tool.

The author stresses the need for LE to overcome the divide between the academy and the field. One way to do that is to use a learner-centered, constructivist approach which will "ensure that recruits engage in learning with which they identify".

For any further information on the study, please see "Police Recruit Training: Facilitating Learning Between the Academy & Field Training" in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, written by Steven Hundersmarck accessed through Academic Search Complete.

How Do People Learn? What Organizations Should Do To Create Better Training Programs Based on Modern Learning Theory

This article, written by Chris Christensen, is a guide that he suggests corporations should follow (regardless of their industry) in order to provide proper training to their employees that will lead to learning. Based on modern learning studies, Christensen discusses ten (out of fourteen) key principles that he believes every corporate training program (CTP) should adopt.

1. Change the Learner's Mental Models
  • In this step, the trainer is simply trying to open the learner's mind to new ideas; the learner's mind needs to be "unfrozen, then changed, and finally the new mental model must then be refrozen."
2. Training is Only One Part of a Behavior Change Program
  • CTP are only a means to an end, therefore training employees itself does not lead to changed behavior. Other elements necessary include clearly defined objectives, rewards for making desired changes, and accountability for displaying the wanted behavior.
3. People Can't Overcome Their Weaknesses
  • CTP should not focus solely on identifying individuals' weaknesses and training them to overcome those weaknesses. Instead, identifying strengths and training individuals to build upon those to compensate for weaknesses would be more effective.
4. Apply Learning Immediately
  • Christensen suggests adopting a "Just-In-Time (JIT)" training strategy that allows trainees who learn new skills to apply them to their daily tasks immediately. He argues that if CTP does not allow trainees to apply these new skills immediately it could lower morale and lead to negative views of the employer.
5. Training Must Improve the Business
  • Donald Kirkpatrick developed a four-level scale to measure the effectiveness of a CTP
  • Level 1 - Did the trainee feel there was value in the training?
  • Level 2 - Was knowledge or skill acquired by the trainee?
  • Level 3 - Did an improvement in the trainee's behavior result from the training?
  • Level 4 - Did the training increase the quality of the business' performance?
  • Most corporations have some mechanism for achieving Level 1, but Levels 2-4 are mostly conducted at an academic level, but should be adopted by corporations.
6. Pay Attention to Short Attention Spans
  • In designing a CTP, corporations should take care as to not overload their trainees. That is, do not schedule an eight-hour training session to be completed in only one day. Most of the trainees will have stopped paying attention by the end of the day and effort could be wasted. Instead, although not as cost-effective, corporations should break these sessions down into, say, four two-hour sessions which would be more effective.
7. Employ the Same Technological Tools and Practices in Training that are Used in Work
  • The idea here is quite simple: train the employees in the EXACT same environment that they conduct their day-to-day tasks. For example, if the employees undergoing training normally teleconference every day, then conduct the training via teleconference, and so forth.
8. Employ "Different Strokes for Different Folks"
  • Not everybody learns the same way, some people are visual learners and others may be auditory or kinesthetic learners. In addition, some people may learn in multiple ways and switch between styles (visual to auditory, etc.) Therefore, CTP trainers should employ these three types of learning styles into their teaching methods which would ensure that each student is learning.
9. Training Must Entertain
  • CTP should include a variety of techniques and material that keep the students engaged. After all, if a student is not interested in the class, it's quite likely that very little or no learning took place.
10. Trainers Must Be Experts
  • In the corporate world, most trainees expect trainers to be experts in the subject matter in addition to being a good instructor. That is, a trainer should have experience applying whatever it is he or she may be teaching to others.
In reading this article, it became quite apparent that Christensen believes that learners in the corporate setting have a much more difficult time acquiring new information than students in an academic setting. I believe that the first step, opening the minds, is the most important that any learner/student must accomplish if he or she is going to be learn anything at all.

Implicit Learning: A New Frontier in Cognitive Psychology

Dr. Darlene Howard, Davis Family Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Georgetown University, investigates how the human mind absorbs subtle patterns and learns about the world indirectly in the article Implicit Learning: A New Frontier in Cognitive Psychology.


Howard and her colleagues in the Cognitive Aging Lab seek to unlock the secrets of implicit learning. Borrowing observation techniques from other areas of research and developing their own behavioral measurements, Howard and her collaborators use carefully designed testing situations to monitor the outcomes of the indirect absorption of patterns and information, allowing researchers to effectively quantify implicit learning

Questions Howard was looking to answer:
Two major questions for this population are :

1) Whether implicit learning declines with age and

2) How implicit learning can be facilitated at all ages.

Imagine a person in their seventies selling their home of 30 years and moving to a retirement home. In the familiar home, they know from experience how to operate the oven and how to get from their bedroom to the bathroom. How quickly can they adjust in the new retirement home? What is the best way for them to effectively familiarize themselves with their new environment? Howard’s research can help reveal the underlying mechanisms of such learning to determine not only how the learning takes place but whether there may be more effective ways of teaching people essential tasks.

Initially, Howard’s research and other studies suggested that during healthy aging declarative, conscious memory declined, while implicit learning was spared. Consider a comparison between a young college student and an elderly person, both moving to a new home: The elderly person is likely to have a hard time memorizing her new phone number while the college student can remember it easily. This is because the task of declarative learning—explicitly memorizing the phone number—is often more difficult for the elderly.

However, both the college student and the elderly person, after a few days of routine, would likely have little trouble going to the correct cabinet to retrieve a water glass without giving it much thought. At least this would be so if implicit learning didn’t decline with aging.


Howard’s more recent work indicates that while some forms of implicit learning are spared during aging, others are not. Her research has shown that there are multiple forms of implicit learning relying on different brain regions, which may be affected differently by aging. Howard and her collaborators are working to understand how aging affects these different learning systems.

The long-range implications of her research could lead to methods of teaching and learning that effectively help aging persons impaired by aging-induced neurological changes. “We want to understand which implicit learning systems are spared with aging and which aren’t,” Howard says of her intention. “We are working to understand how these are related to the changes in the brain that occur in the course of aging. And most important, we want eventually to figure out what can be done to help people of all ages adapt to changing environments, because this is an essential component of successful aging.”

Game design and learning: a conjectural analysis of how massively multiple online role-playing games (MMORPGs) foster intrinsic motivation

In this scholarly article published in 2007, the author - Michele Dickey provides an analysis of how the structure of massively multiple online role-playing games (MMORPGs) might influence the design of interactive learning and game based learning environments.

The author primarily looks at how "character design" and "narrative environment" - the two key elements of MMORPGs can support intrinsic motivation which might foster learning.

The assumption behind interactive learning environments is that, learning happens by interacting with information, tools and materials as well as by collaborating with other learners. The author states that computer / video games fundamentally have these features and MMORPGs (such as World of Warcraft, ToonTown) more so; because MMORPGs are persistent, networked, interactive narrative environments where players collaborate, strategize, plan and interact with objects, resources and other players.

Character Design:
By having the freedom to choose a character and determine its specific traits and characters, the author argues (by referencing several research studies) that it is essentially a form of role playing in a simulated environment. To quote a 1995 study on Multi-User Dungeons - predecessor to MMORPGs "virtual environments allow users to experiment in a safe, non-threatening environment and to expand, explore and reflect on different aspects of themselves".

The players also have an emotional connection to their characters as they invest significant amounts of time and make critical choices in developing their character (by the addition of skills, capabilities or adornments) which is in a sense, the player taking on a particular role.

Narrative environment:
The narrative environment in a MMORPG fosters exploration. Players continually explore various regions to find quest givers, characters, objects and tools related to completing small quests which can help them advance in the game. Players often make critical choices about the most economical way to complete a variety of small quests. The author goes on to list the various types of small quests ( such as "Collection quests", "Bounty quests") and how they aid in acquiring knowledge and learning.

To illustrate:

Research has identified and characterized four different types of knowledge:

- Declarative: Knowledge of facts, data and principles
- Procedural: Knowledge of how to perform a task / action / process
- Strategic: Awareness of applying knowledge, principles and experiences to various situations
- Metacognitive: Reflection and regulation of one's thinking during an activity

The author explains that a bounty quest for instance - which requires the player / players to defeat a character / characters are often challenging and requires players to analyze their character's strengths and weaknesses and to balance those against the environmental factors they may encounter - helps in gaining "strategic knowledge".

In a bounty quest the player continuously applies the knowledge gained from exploration / interaction or experience from past quests to succeed in this new situation thus enhancing strategic knowledge.

The author goes on to explain in detail the various types of knowledge and their equivalent quest types in her article which, can be accessed here.


This article is well researched and does make a solid case for using MMORPGs as a tool for learning. The way the author has classified the different types of quests and mapped them to knowledge domains is particularly interesting and does corroborate personal experiences with such games.

Apart from all this, MMORPGs as a tool for learning would certainly be more fun.

Teaching Smart People How to Learn

In this article, the author Chris Argyris puts it simply, "because many professionals are almost always successful at what they do, they rarely experience failure. And because they have rarely failed, they have never learned how to learn from failure." He basically says that when these individuals are wrong, they become defensive, screen out criticism, and blame anyone and everyone but themselves. In short, their ability to learn shuts down precisely at the moment they need it the most.

Getting people to learn is largely a matter of motivation. When people have the right attitudes and commitment, learning automatically follows. So companies focus on creating new organizational structures—compensation programs, performance reviews, corporate cultures, and the like—that are designed to create motivated and committed employees.

For 15 years, the author of this article studied professionals and their learning habits. He determined that as long as efforts at learning and change focused on external organizational factors - such as job redesign, compensation programs, performance review, and leadership training—the professionals were enthusiastically learning. However, as soon as the focus turned to the professional's own performance, their motivation and commitment to excellence was gone. Argyris determined that this occurred because the professionals were threatened by the prospect of critically examining their own role in the organization, making them feel vulnerable. This resulted in defensive reasoning.

To counter defensive reasoning, Argyris suggests the professionals need to learn how to reason productively. People can be taught how to recognize the reasoning they use when they design and implement their actions. They can begin to identify the inconsistencies between their perceived and actual theories of action. Once they have an understanding of what they do and how they do it, the professionals will learn more efficiently and effectively.


The effects of active learning on students' memories for course content

This article published in Active Learning in Higher Education determines active learning techniques and their relation to the course content retained by students in a higher education setting. Two studies performed by the author identified that students cited memory of activities which actively engaged them and forced them to reflect upon concepts.

Study 1
A group of 250 undergraduate students enrolled in three different courses at private Midwestern liberal arts college were provided with a survey on the last day of class. Participants were enrolled in introductory courses. The participants were instructed to write down ten things they remembered from the course. The survey instructed the participants to freely report anything that they remembered. The survey was left anonymous. The participant responses were coded for their level of understanding and the frequencies were summarized. Results showed that the videos and in class active exercises were most cited in the participant free responses.

Study 2
A group of 64 undergraduate students enrolled in three different courses at private Midwestern liberal arts college were provided with a survey on the last day of class. The participants were enrolled in advanced courses. The participants were instructed to write down ten things they remembered from the course. The survey instructed the participants to freely report anything that they remembered. The survey was not anonymous. The participant responses were coded for their level of understanding and the frequencies were summarized. Results showed that the videos and in class active exercises were most cited in the participant free responses just like those found in the introductory courses.

The effects of active learning on students' memories for course content
Cherney, Isabelle D.
Active Learning in Higher Education, Jul 2008; vol. 9: pp. 152-171

Cultural Orientations and Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning is learning in which student input is sought during instruction. The use of class discussions and group projects is an example of this type of learning. Recent literature suggests that collaborative learning has advantages over a more traditional lecture presentation. The authors of this article explored whether collaborative learning was superior to traditional methods. They also wanted to know if collaborative learning is equally effective across students from all cultural learning orientations and across all learning styles. The authors defined cultural orientation as being either collectivist, or focused on the group, or individualistic with an emphais on the needs of the individual.

The authors gave a survey to 100 students enrolled in an introductory communication theory course during the end of the fall and spring terms at a university in Western NY. The courses were taught using a mix of 75% traditional lectures and 25% collaborative learning. The survey assessed student's cultural orientations, learning styles, and their reported level of satisfaction with the collaborative learning exercises. Experimentors also compared student grades on tests from the sections taught via collaboration to those from sections taught in a lecture format.

The results indicated that collaborative learning was more effective than lecture methods for students regardless of learning style or cultural orientation. However, the more individualistic students reported lower satisfaction levels with collaboration than their more collectivist peers. As lower student satisfaction resulted in lower group grades, it is important to try to improve class members' satisfaction during the learning process. The authors suggest ways to make collaborative learning more palatable to individulatistic participants by grouping students based on those that share the same cultural orientation, giving clear guidlines, and by assigning individual grades to each member of a group.


Learning to Learn

This paper, written by professors Karl R. Wirth and Dexter Perkins, focuses on significant learning and its applications to learning in higher education and , more specifically, its applications to the field of geology.

In addition to being able to recall information and ideas, one also needs to be able to apply one's knowledge or skills to new situations; this is application. This includes learning to engage in new kinds of thinking (critical, creative, practical) as well as certain skills (communication, playing an instrument, etc.). The learning categories here are: foundational knowlege, application, integration, human dimension, caring, and learning how to learn.

Effective Learning and Learning Styles
The best learning occurs when students are engaged in active learning. Cooperative learning is an important component of active learning. The key step to effective learning is identifying your learning style. After that, you can improve learning by translating material from other modes into a mode that best fits you. Since there are many different ways of modeling learning, it is important to be aware of your own learning style preferences so that you can make the necessary adjustments to maximize your learning.

  • Aids in becoming an intentional learner - an integrative thinker who sees connections in seemingly disparate information to inform his/her decisions.
  • Aids in becoming a self-directed learner - someone who is highly motivated, independent, and strives towards self-direction and autonomy
  • Active learning improves student knowledge retention, conceptual understanding, engagement, and attitudes about learning.
  • Cooperative learning improves individual achievement, metacognitive thought, willingness to assume difficult tasks, persistence, motivation, and transfer of learning to new situations.
  • Learning improves brain function


  • Becoming/being an intentional learner takes deliberate effort and continual reflection.

Monday, May 3, 2010

More Effective Learning - A Simple Technique


Steve Gillman, in an article on (Intelligent Life on the Web), writes how current methods of learning maybe aren't the most effective ways to learn. The first method to improving learning is by teaching. Gillman writes that by teaching others, we grasp a better understanding of something ourselves.

Helps improve your learning of a topic
It may be tough to find people willing to listen/learn
It takes time to learn about a topic, and then teach it to others

Gillman then discusses how "vividly imagining" yourself teaching can improve your learning even more. By first teaching a friend about a topic you are trying to learn, you can gain a better understanding of the topic. If you then vividly imagine yourself teaching the topic you are learning about, you will become better at learning the topic.
Your vivid teaching lessons go faster than real ones and have less interruptions.


Behavioral and Psychosocial Considerations in Intelligence Analysis: A Preliminary review of Literature on Critical Thinking Skills

This article is a review of published literature in the fields of psychology, education, and intelligence analysis to look for any information related to the link between critical thinking skills and an improvement in intelligence analysis. From the review, the 2nd LT Chin Ki Tam found that as of October 2008 there was very little information related to the link between critical thinking and the improvement of intelligence analysis. The problem begins, similar to intelligence itself, with a lack of one true definition of critical thinking.

In response to the tasking from the Air Combat Command that came of a January 2008 meeting at Langley Air Force Base, the 711 Human Performance Wing Continuous Learning Branch looked into existing literature in psychology, education, and intelligence. The goal was to combine the information to provide a picture of whether the teaching of critical thinking truly improves intelligence analysis.

The results of this literature review show that there is no consensus on the definition of critical thinking nor is there a consensus on what exactly is a “critical thinking skill” and which skills a person should utilize to conduct critical thinking.
The results of a Delphi study conducted in Feb. 1988 to November 1989 show that six skills are necessary for critical thinking. They are: Interpretation, Analysis, Evaluation, Inference, Explanation, and Self-Regulation.
Beyond all the literature related to what exactly critical thinking is, only a few people have written about how critical thinking and intelligence analysis correlate. One of these authors is Dick Heuer in his book, Psychology of Intelligence Analysis. He writes about cognitive bias. He defines these biases as: selectivity bias, availability bias, absence of evidence bias, confirmation bias, overconfidence bias, oversensitivity to consistency bias, and discredited evidence bias as the biases that lead to flawed intelligence analysis.
In addition to all the information related to what critical thinking is and how it relates to intelligence analysis there is another problem of how people learn. The article talks about how people have different learning styles and that critical thinking in one domain in no necessarily transferable to another domain. Without tackling the problems associated with learning it is difficult to apply such thinking techniques to intelligence analysis.

Correlation and Current Intelligence Curriculum
Research has yet to be conducted to show whether or not critical thinking truly improves intelligence analysis however different agencies within the US Government have begun to institute programs designed to help with the development of critical thinking skills. The CIA, NSA, and DIA have all begun a training program for analysts designed to improve critical thinking skills. The most novel of which is DIA working to utilize gaming as a way to improve intelligence analysis however they only invested $2.6 million for the development of three games. This drastically limits the ability to be truly high quality learning tools when one considers that the average XBOX game costs between $3 million - $5 million to produce from start to finish and the average XBOX 360 or PS3 game costs around $10 million to produce. (Edwards, 2006)

Although the intelligence community has invested heavily in the improvement of cognitive thinking skills, there is no evidence that directly links the improvement in these skills to the improvement of intelligence analysis. It would be a great help in the future if studies were designed to show whether there is an improvement. These studies would go a long way in justifying more or less money being put into the budgets of such training programs for future analysts.

Edwards, R. (2006, May 5). The economics of game publishing. Retrieved May 3, 2010, from IGN website:

Learning Techniques

A lot of work has been done over the past few decades about how people learn. This document suggests a list of techniques that may make learning more effective.

  1. You can learn anything if you have a goal that requires it.
  2. Learning how to learn is the core skill.
  3. Anyone can learn faster by structuring the information.
  4. Intelligence is not fixed.
  5. Knowledge and skills overcome obstacles.
  6. Everything to which you were paying attention, either consciously or unconsciously , will be remembered permanently.

There are a number of stages to learn:

The Right States of Mind

There are six aspects for this:

  1. Find a personal reason to want to learn this materials.
  2. Translate these reasons into motivation
  3. Find a way to make the materials relevant to you
  4. Have positive expectation
  5. Have a calm mind

A Variety of Ways of Inputs

  • Play to your strengths in term of how you process information.
  • Make a general outline of what you are learning.
  • Ask what do I already know about this.
  • Break the materials into small chucks.
  • Summarise the material out loud

Exploring from different Angles

There are 7 type of intelligences:

  1. Linguistic intelligence-Describe the materials out lout.
  2. Logical-mathematical intelligence-Use a flowchart or diagram.
  3. Spatial intelligence-Make an image of the material.
  4. Musicale intelligence-Play background intelligence as you learn.
  5. Interpersonal intelligence-Teach someone else.
  6. Intrapersonal intelligence-ruminate on the material.
  7. Bodily intelligence-Use index cards.


Decide to remember, take regular breaks, Review notes regularly, etc.

Showing you Know

Demonstrating to yourself that you really do understand and remember increases your learning.

Reviewing and Reflecting in the Process

After every learning session, review the process you follow.

Implicit sequence learning in a search task

The purpose of this study was to see how the selection process is affected by task demands; that everyday skills rely on implicit sequence learning where learning happens unintentionally and the effects are beyond the learners’ ability to report on exactly what they learned. The researchers’ intent was to investigate whether learning about a sequence of stimuli appearing as part of a complex scene can be different from responding to a single target.


Participants were presented with eight digits distributed pseudo-randomly over 16 possible locations arranged on an invisible 4X4 matrix. The targets followed a sequence that learners could exploit to improve performance. The researchers compared sequence learning under this seemingly demanding task with two different control conditions in which the perceptual load was lower. In a first control group, perceptual load was decreased by removing the distracters, but the target appeared at the same variable locations, in order to analyze whether the spatial uncertainty could produce any effect independent from perceptual load.

In the second control group, the researchers removed both factors by presenting the targets alone at the center of the screen. Because the search conditions were expected to hinder the achievement of explicit learning, they arranged a known sequence rather than a probabilistic procedure.


A total of 90 students participated in the experiment and a total of 30 participants were assigned to each condition: central, variable location, and search.

The stimuli consisted of a set of colored digits over a grey background. Target stimuli were even numbers presented in random colors. In the central condition, the target was presented alone at the center of the screen. In the search condition, the target appeared on each trial at one of the 16 locations defined by an invisible 4X4matrix. The location of the target was decided pseudo-randomly on each trial, with the only constraint that all 16 possible locations should be sampled before any of them was repeated. The distracters were seven instances of the same odd number, randomly chosen for each trial from the numbers 1, 3, 5, 7. The seven distracters plus the target stimulus were colored and located pseudo-randomly, so that two of them were drawn in each possible color and two items were located at each one of the matrix quadrants. At the end of the experimental blocks, participants performed a cued generation task, designed to measure their ability to predict the more likely successor.


The study showed that implicit sequence learning does not depend on the resources demanded by the selection task. The results indicate that implicit sequence learning is resistant to selection demands, and that presenting the targets at variable locations can be useful to control for the acquisition of explicit learning.

The full results of the experiment can be accessed through Academic Search Complete: Implicit sequence learning in a search task by Luis Jime´nez and Gustavo A. Va´zquez. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2008.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Inductive Learning: Effective Media Training that Isn’t Boring

Found at:

Inductive Learning: Effective Media Training that Isn’t Boring
By: Brent Diggins
PR Account Executive | Mindspace

Inductive learning, the process of learning through first-hand experience, is essential to producing an ingrained media training session that is fun for participants. Compared with deductive learning,learning through instructor “telling,” inductive learning has been proven in many academic studies to be a more effective teaching method, and is especially effective in short-term learning situations.Perhaps the best attribute of inductive learning is that the participation can be astoundingly fun,and everyone will appreciate that.


1) Practical—Today’s fast paced people
don’t want to be lectured to. They want to
actively participate and be hands-on. As
people are participating in a variety of simulated
exercises, they will be able to walk out
of the room and right into an interview.

2) Shared Learning—Unlike deductive
learning, an inductive media relations
program gives participants the opportunity
to learn from watching, critiquing and
analyzing others. Watching video of good,
bad and mixed-bag interviews under the
tutelage of a media trainer gives participants
the perspective of an interview they would
not have otherwise.

3) Fun—Actively participating in inductive
learning options like role playing, mock press
conferences and journalist roles makes media
training fun for participants. Further, putting
together an inductive program is creative,
fun and without boundaries.


1.)Can be time consuming
2.)Can potentially lead the audience astray from the topic if not properly monitored by an administrator.

Inductive Learning Techniques:
The best way to showcase a solid inductive learning-based
media training program is to combine your end-goals and media training rule-of-thumbs with your creativity. Here are three great inductive learning techniques and methods:

1) Role Play and Scenarios
2) Watch Video and Critique
3) Hold a Mock Pres Conference

This article was written by a Public Relations Account Executive with a teacher or manager in mind. It gave techniques that one could use if there was an audience that needed to be kept engaged in the subject they were being presented, so that the audience could learn more effectively.