The Learning Collection

Learning is the most fundamental of skills. It is required for acquiring knowledge and developing all other skills. Learning is also the driver of personal and societal change. For individuals, lifelong learning is the key not only to ensuring continued employability but also to personal well-being and self-fulfillment. For broader society, learning is an important factor in finding solutions to our most intractable challenges. The modern world is unprecedented in its rapid economic, technological and social change. Formal schooling can no longer provide the requisite knowledge, skills, and competence to remain relevant and competitive for a lifetime. To keep up, people need to become lifelong learners. Unfortunately, most people have never learned how to learn effectively. Learning science has identified strategies that can significantly improve an individual's ability to learn. Most people are either unaware of these strategies or mistakenly think that their ineffective strategies actually work. The Learning Collection takes a close look at various aspects of learning, beginning with an exploration of the drivers making learning more important than ever. A major focus is reviewing the latest findings of the science of learning and the strategies that have proven most effective at improving learning outcomes. The collection currently has three streams: Lifelong Learning — Why Everyone Needs a Learning HabitThe Learning Mindset — Fostering Motivation, Curiosity and a Growth Mindset Learning Strategies — Applying the Insights from Learning Science in Everyday Life Coming soon-ish: Work has also begun on streams exploring learning theories and cognition. Lifelong Learning — Why Everyone Needs a Learning Habit Learning is an increasingly important skill for individuals and the societies they live in. This stream explores the drivers that are making learning essential for everyone. The modern world is unprecedented in its rapid economic, technological and social change. Formal schooling can no longer provide the requisite knowledge, skills, and competence to remain relevant and competitive for a lifetime. In today's changing world, learning needs to be a lifelong habit. The Learning Mindset — Fostering Motivation, Curiosity and a Growth Mindset The ability to learn effectively and achieve great things depends to no small degree on a person's beliefs and mindset. A fixed mindset or a belief that talent is innate can impede learning. With a growth mindset, individuals believe that they can improve their knowledge and skills through effort. This belief opens the door for curiosity and intrinsic motivation. These, in turn, energize the learning process and propel individuals to great achievements. Learning Strategies — Applying the Insights from Learning Science in Everyday Life We are in the midst of an extraordinary outpouring of scientific work concerning the mind and brain. Academics from several disciplines are attempting to discover how and why certain aspects of learning may lead to a more or less favorable result. Learning science has identified strategies that can significantly improve an individual's ability to learn. Most people, however, continue to use ineffective strategies. Few people are aware of the new insights regarding learning strategies. This stream identifies the most effective learning strategies and explores how they can be applied to everyday learning.

Phil von Heydebreck
19 Dec 2019

Key Learning Concepts — Visualized

While working through the literature on learning science and learning strategies, I frequently searched for good visualizations of the key concepts. Unfortunately, I was not always able to find what I was looking for. The images were often poor quality or contained errors. For whatever reason, I wasn't happy with the images I was finding. So I started to make my own. I already published the first two of them in a blog post about lifelong learning. The next one I created was an overview of the different types of learning strategies that can be used to improve learning. There are many different strategies. The categorization into four types helps to identify what the aim of the different strategies is. Examples of the different learning strategies are listed in the bottom row. The next one was about metacognition. Metacognition is an important concept in learning. "Meta" in this context means "about itself" — it's self-referential. So metacognition means "cognition about cognition". It is an awareness of one's own thinking and learning process and an ability to influence that process. Bloom's taxonomy is a visualization of the different cognitive processes that occur during learning. It is very frequently depicted as a pyramid. However, the originators of the taxonomy did not envisage it that way. The pyramid is not ideal because it suggests that one cognitive process builds on the other, which is not necessarily what occurs during learning. There are many versions of the forgetting curve. They all seem to be based on the insights of Hermann Ebbinghaus, who was a pioneer of the study of memory and tracked his ability to remember nonsense syllables. Many of the curves I saw seemed oversimplified, so I went back to Ebbinghaus' original data. What Ebbinghaus' measured was the time he needed to re-learn nonsense syllables after specific intervals. The graph shows the percentage of savings in time for him to re-learn them plotted over time. Ebbinghaus believed that the percentage savings indicated how many of the nonsense syllables had been retained in memory. Learning researchers have found that practice is more effective is activities are mixed together randomly than if similar skills or concepts are practiced together as a group before moving on to the next. The baseball example is illustrative: a batter could practice hitting one fastball after another before moving on to practicing curveballs. Alternatively, the pitcher could throw a random mix of pitches to the batter. Researchers have shown that this mixing different skills or concepts leads to better learning — they call it interleaving. Mindset theory suggests that a learner's beliefs about his or her personal attributes can significantly influence learning outcomes. A growth mindset is a belief that effort can lead to improvement. Researchers believe that people with a growth mindset achieve better learning and performance than people with a fixed mindset. The topic of goal orientation is related to mindsets. There are two main dimensions avoidance-approach and mastery-performance. Researchers have found that goal orientation can affect performance. Approach is striving to achieve a specific outcome. Approach tends to lead to better outcomes than avoidance or trying not to do worse. The main difference between mastery and performance goals is their point of reference. Mastery goals attempt to improve on one's previous performance, while performance goals measure achievement relative to the performance of others.

Phil von Heydebreck
16 Dec 2019

Reminders help you cultivate a learning habit

A surprising amount of human behavior is automatic, meaning that we don't think consciously about why we are doing it. Used in the right way, such habits can be powerful tools to achieve our long term goals. Trickle aspires to be your hub for self-directed learning and it works best if you develop a learning habit. That means coming back to regularly to learn new things and allowing significant pools of knowledge to develop over time. When trying to develop a new habit it is essential to make use of cues. A cue is a reliable signal that can be used as triggers for the aspired new behavior. A cue can be a location, person, time of day, emotional state or something you already do reliably. Maybe you were feeling tired and went to brush your teeth. Or you needed a break and went to get a coffee. Learning habits need cues too. Even with the best of intentions, it can be hard to remember to make time for learning, especially in the beginning. That's why, we are introducing email reminders for Trickle. Automatic emails have a bad reputation, rightfully so as we probably all struggle to manage our inboxes and our attention on a daily basis. But this is a feature that many of our testers have actually asked for. Because even with the best of intentions of starting a learning habit, it’s easy to forget. And in our current state of development, emails are the most reliable way to give you a cue when it’s time to come back to Trickle. There are currently four types of email that you can receive from Trickle: Daily drip reminder: A preview of your next drip delivered to their inbox daily as a prompt to continue your learning habit.Streak reminder: Get notified when your learning streak breaks. If you are learning a stream and a complete day passes without you opening a single new drip, you'll get this mail the following day. Reading only a single drip per day helps you tremendously to build up a habit, so try to make sure to keep your streak active. Start again reminder: If you haven’t read drips for a few days, you’ll get a start again reminder on Sunday. Use this as a cue to consider investing time in your growth again. And if now is not the right time, just delete the mail, let the week pass and reconsider next Sunday. A great day to start again.Trickle news: And while we are at it, you can choose to receive infrequent news and updates from Trickle when we release a new version or a major features. Expect no more than just a few messages a year.

Achim Rothe
27 Nov 2019

Collecting Sources with Trickle

We’re launching a new feature on Trickle that gives you the power to create your own streams and add sources to them. Here’s why we’re excited about this feature:  Lifelong learners rarely rely on a single source of information. We know that you’re probably reading articles, listening to podcasts and watching videos all over the internet. Some of us have developed a system for collecting and organizing these sources, for example using browser bookmarks or saving whole articles to Evernote. But let’s be honest, these methods are not optimized for learning.  We want Trickle to be the place where people can collect sources and organize their learning into streams and share what they’ve learned with other people. Let’s say you were obsessed with a topic like Minimalism or 17th Century Piracy. Create a stream to cover that topic and start saving sources to it. Over time you will build up a collection o great material, inspiration, learnings, quotes, images, etc. Add comments and share your stream with others.  This is the first step in creating a full suite of authoring tools that will include creating drips and publishing streams for other users to read.  We hope you’re excited about this as we are. Try it out now.

Achim Rothe
12 Nov 2019