Teaching how to learn

A not-so-random thought that came to me while watching this video from Tim Ferriss on how to learn anything: there’s got to be a better way to teach how to learn. One of the expressed goals of the university, especially small, liberal arts colleges, is to create “life long learners.” This seems somewhat ironic, as a common exclamation of relief from graduates is that they no longer have to take more classes. The brave new world we’re entering is going to require constant learners, and it’s unfortunate that the current system is taking away the passion required to be one.

Here’s the idea in a graf: the core classes students would take focus exclusively on how to learn. Ferriss’ video spoke to me on the importance of this, if nothing else. Whether it’s one class or series of three, the professor in this new university would educate on a completely random subject with the explicit understanding it wasn’t about the material you were learning, but rather how you were learning it. The meat of the curriculum would be tips, styles, and strategies for being a successful independent and networked learner. Once this foundation was in place, it would just be a matter of putting the student on material for whichever subject they wanted to tackle. There’s plenty of that on the web.


salas April 24, 2009 Reply

I love the Study Hacks blog by Cal Newport — his stated goal is to help people ace college without over-stressing, but many of his strategies can be applied to learning in general.

Daniel April 24, 2009 Reply

Thanks for the recommendation! I’m now a subscriber.

Leave a Reply