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Teaching Grows Into 21st Century

Education is going through a long awaited transformation due to advances in technology and discoveries in brain sciences-neuroscience and cognitive science. One of the major developments is in learning units that are created with an understanding of how brain processes, stores, and retrieves information. This understanding is informed by the research in neuroscience and cognitive science.
Past decade has seen a deeper understanding by scientists of how our brain works. This new knowledge about our brain has turned many of long standing beliefs about teaching upside down. It follows that the traditional method of sequential teaching does not lead to long lasting deep learning that is required for solving complex and practical problems. Students are often fed information that is stored in their working memory until the exams and it is flushed out of the working memory after the exams. Once flushed out this information is no more accessible to the student.

The memory unit called long-term memory by memory researchers is the key to deep learning that is required for real progress in a student's education. Unless information, skills, and processes are stored in the long-term memory student will find it difficult to learn new knowledge, retrieve and apply the information and skills they have supposedly gained, and will fail to solve complex problems that are often hallmark of various competitive exams. Most of us have been through the experiences where we thought we had learned something only to find during the revision that everything felt new again! Using brain research terminology this could be seen as a failure of information movement from working memory into the long term memory. The translation requires biochemical changes in brain that do not happen in sufficient manner with many of the sequential pattern of teaching followed by most of the educational institutions today. show more

There is a better way of learning and most likely you are not using it!

I find it difficult to focus and study for long hours. I am unable to understand Math and English. I avoid studying until the last moment. I studied hard for my exam but I don't remember most of it. These are complains we are all familiar with. What if I told you that there is a way to avoid these problems! Would it not become easy to succeed in any exam if you just followed that way!

Last two decades have seen an explosive growth in Information and Communication Technology. Today we have come to take for granted services such as Facebook, Google, Whats-app, Video Streaming services like YouTube, and a lot more. Oh! yes, of course who can forget ubiquitous smartphones. These services and devices were simply inconceivable for most of us only a decade back.

Even though the fruits of modern science and technology are being enjoyed by ever larger world population it is noteworthy that the quality and breadth of services significantly vary among different regions of the world. Some of the variation is definitely due to different level of infrastructure that often takes large investments and years to complete. Variations in other fields such as education are harder to explain.

In words of Professor Jeffrey D. Karpicke of Duke University - one of the top ranked Universities in the USA and world- "What's surprising is that a lot of learners use ineffective and inefficient strategies. In my laboratory, for example, we have surveyed college students about their learning. They most commonly use the strategy of repeated reading- simply reading through books or notes over and over. We and other researchers have found that this passive and shallow strategy often produces minimal or no learning. We call this "labor in vain"- students are putting in labor but not getting anywhere. We don't engage in passive rereading because we are dumb or lazy. We do it because we fall prey to a cognitive illusion. When we read material over and over, the material becomes familiar and fluent, meaning it is easy for our minds to process. We then think that this easy processing is a sign that we have learned something well, even though we have not." show more