Which Issues Extra: Methodology or Motivation?

Within the earlier essay on this sequence, I complained about how we have been by no means taught how studying works. In consequence, we frequently guess at which strategies to make use of when learning. Generally, we guess badly.

As an instance, right here’s a query for you: when learning for a check, which issues extra, the tactic you employ, or how motivated you’re to study the fabric?

That query is a bit obscure, so let’s make it extra concrete. Suppose I learn out loud to you a listing of phrases. Now think about I gave you considered one of two methods to make use of: listening to every phrase and asking whether or not it contained the letter “e” or asking whether or not the phrase felt nice or not.

Now suppose I examined you beneath two circumstances: in a single situation I informed you that instantly after I learn the phrases, I’d check what number of you remembered. Within the different situation, I didn’t inform you concerning the check in any respect, I merely requested you to undergo the 2 completely different procedures whereas listening to the phrases.

Given the 2 circumstances: completely different strategies for studying or completely different quantities of motivation to check, which do you suppose made an even bigger distinction on check efficiency?

The reply could also be shocking: solely the tactic mattered, motivation didn’t matter a lot in any respect.

Why We Deceive Ourselves About What Works When Studying

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Maybe, you is perhaps considering, this check isn’t a good one. In spite of everything, having numerous motivation usually results in utilizing higher learning strategies. It additionally determines how a lot time you spend learning. In spite of everything, in case you aren’t motivated, you most likely received’t buckle down and study the fabric.

That is true. But when the above experiment stunned you, maybe you need to query how “apparent” many different items of learning lore are.

The truth is, college students incessantly misjudge the efficacy of their learning. In an experiment by Jeffrey Karpicke and Janell Blunt, they requested college students to learn a passage and examine with considered one of 4 completely different methods: idea mapping, repeated studying, single studying and free recall. Earlier than being examined, they requested how nicely they thought they’d do on the check.

The scholars couldn’t have been extra mistaken. Those that used free recall thought they’d carry out worst, however really carried out greatest! Repeated studying (a typical learning strategy) doesn’t work very nicely, nevertheless it results in excessive confidence.

How will we trick ourselves into utilizing strategies that don’t work? Psychologist Robert Bjork explains this as a quirk of how our minds work. Once we attempt to assess how nicely we’ve realized one thing, we will’t really see the neural rewiring happening. As an alternative, we will solely gauge how straightforward it’s to consider the fabric. This ease is usually correlated with studying—take into consideration data of your favourite tv present versus data of quantum physics. So the heuristic of substituting ease for studying isn’t all the time a foul one.

But this heuristic works poorly when evaluating learning methods as a result of the strategies that really feel more durable usually work higher, as indicated in Karpicke and Blunt’s examine.

Going Past Guessing

We have to transcend guessing in determining what works for studying. That is partly as a result of our intuitions are sometimes misleading: we substitute ease of processing for depth of studying, and we make motivation all-important—with out recognizing that tons of motivation can’t repair a awful methodology.

As an alternative, you want a system. It’s good to perceive how studying works, and how one can make greatest use of your time to make a distinction. In case you’re going to spend years of your life studying, you owe it to your self to put money into a system to study higher.

I am Christian Nnakuzierem Alozie (Kris Kuzie Alozie). A native of Eziama Nneato in Umunneochi LGA, Abia State, Nigeria. I am an inspirational writer and a motivational speaker. And above all, a lover of charity.

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