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Episode 86

How Learning Really Works

Many of us are aware that we weren’t really taught how to learn (and usefully retain) knowledge at school, and as adults the lack of this skill often leads to frustration when trying to learn something new.

In this conversation with Dr. Theo Dawson we explore the central problem of the educational paradigm, how learning actually works, the relationship between context and performance, and how neural networks can inform learning.

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What we talk about:

03:45 Vertical versus horizontal learning
07:30 The central problem of the educational paradigm
12:16 How actually learning works
20:10 The dopamine opioid cycle
26:25 Context and performance
35:15 How babies and children learn
40:15 Automating learning skills
48:25 Neural networks and learning
59:23 Teach yourself to learn

Resources Mentioned:

Jean Piaget

Dynamic skill theory

About Theo

Theo Dawson

Dr. Theo Dawson is the Founder and Executive Director of Lectica, a company that makes diagnostic and formative learning tools for schools, colleges, and the workplace. These tools measure how well people work with their knowledge in real world contexts, identify "what comes next", and provide personalized learning recommendations. Lectica’s approach combines the learning sciences, the art of teaching, and richly diagnostic measurement to revolutionise how we learn important skills for successfully navigating an increasingly complex world.


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