What is learning?

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  1. Learning is a rather complicated process on a neurological level. It entails a patchwork of neurons interacting with each other and whenever there is a new experience new grooves are created in the cerebral cortex. As intimidating and sophisticated as this process is on a biological level, on the human level it is actually a lot more straightforward.

     

    When we encounter a new idea or a new experience, our brain's first instinct is to try to associat it with something that we already know. This is why it is important to have a broad array of experiences and ideas that one has come into contact with because it makes the learning process smoother and with fewer hurdles.

     

    Math is a subject that we can use to take full advantage of this feature of learning. Most things in math or I should say all things in math are based on things learned in the past. Whenever we learn something a strong portion of it is based on things we have learned before but those things are assembled in a new order or maybe with just one new item to top it off and this assemblage results in the new topic. It is important for the student when learning a new concept to be able to identify underlying concepts that they are already familiar with. This is the essence of new methods like the munch method being used by the Brooklyn Tutoring company . Of course, the student has to be guided through the process of understanding the new concept.

     

    Current modes of teaching are more cumbersome then the newly introduced and advanced methods. In the current mode, every new topic is presented as a brand new topic. For example, if a student has to learn 5 topics, they are presented as 5 entirely different topics. The teacher can, if they are interested in using new methodologies, capitalize on the similarities between the 5 topics and use the similarities to engage the student so that the student learns to lean on the understanding of old topics in order to learn new topics.

     

    Not only does this methodology speed up the learning process, it also helps retention. Aside from those previously mentioned benefits, the learning is deeper entrenched because the student is using existing knowledge to create new knowledge. Then the student is understanding that flow from one idea to the next is a matter of borrowing from existing ideas, which can be helpful in the future when learning any new topic. So not only has the student gained knowledge, but the student has gained a new way to learn on his or her own. This creates a lasting effect when dealing in any learning situation.

     

    There are subjects that will have a more difficult time implementing this methodology. When studying items like poetry or writing it is very difficult in the artistic field to use structured methodologies to support an artistic student. A lot of the proficiency that one gains as an artist has more to do with repetition and practice as well as the all-important inspiration, more so than rigid methods. But we believe that advanced methods can be tweaked to create advantage in artistic areas as well.

     

    We also believe that more studies should be done to answer the question regarding why certain pieces of information tend to stick to memory better than others. Possibly CAT scans could be performed while volunteers were being exposed to different pieces of information to see which ones create more brain activity than others, then a study could be launched to figure out what the pattern is between these pieces of information that create more brain activity. If the active element of these pieces of information, that make them more exciting to the brain, could be understood, then information dispersal or presentation could be manipulated to take advantage of these features so that recipients are better able to absorb the information and to greater effect.

     

    As with everything else, bad memory will become a thing of the past. In the future, we expect that each person will have access to auxiliary memory where ideas or concepts will be recorded as they are now on computer hard drives. In these instances, the persistence of memory will only be a function of the resilience and endurance of the storage materials. It is possible that the storage materials will be biologically based but computer interactive. Although this is science fiction at the moment, it is not too far off in the future.

     

    We hope to continue studying the components of learning and attempting to present ways to make the process more efficient on the practical level. It is our belief that greater understanding of the subject will lead to better learning outcomes for students now and going forward. We have seen a great deal of refinement of the Brooklyn Tutoring company's method and we will continue to update the reader on their progress with advanced methodologies.

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