The science of deliberate practice

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “practice makes perfect” is “said to encourage someone to continue to do something many times, so that they will learn to do it very well.” But does practice really make perfect? We tend to see practice as tireless repetition of the same task, where the goal is to progressively become …

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Constructive criticism: how to give and receive feedback

Whether in our personal or professional lives, we are constantly giving and receiving feedback. Some of the feedback is subtle, often unconscious, and some of it is proactive. Being able to receive and to offer constructive feedback is an essential skill in building meaningful social relationships.  In addition, research suggests that meaningful feedback is crucial …

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Fail like a scientist

Working on a new project, learning a new skill, trying a new experience—getting out of your comfort zone can be both exciting and frightening. Our fear of failure can be driven by many factors, including a fixed mindset or a fear of being judged. How can you overcome this fear? By learning to fail like …

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Productive cognitive load: make the most of your working memory

There’s only so much we can hold into our working memory—the system our brain uses to temporarily hold information while we manipulate it. The amount of working memory we use at any given moment is called the cognitive load. While both are theoretical concepts used in psychology and neuroscience, they have profound implications when it …

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The power of spaced repetition

Many startups are offering learning products based on dubious claims. While the neuroscience of learning is pretty well understood in terms of underlying biological mechanisms, very few interventions have been proven to have a positive impact on these processes. In a sea of unproven strategies, spaced repetition is the strongest evidence-based learning technique. The concept …

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Self-education: how to leverage the end of credentialism

The average lifespan of a technical skill is roughly 18 months. The world is moving fast. Anything you learn today may become obsolete tomorrow. It may feel discouraging—why bother acquiring a new skill if it will soon be useless?—but it shouldn’t be. The fact is it has never been easier to teach yourself anything. In …

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WIP: the case for sharing your work in public

Should you share your work in public? Lots of research has been conducted to determine whether sharing your goals in public was a good thing or a bad thing. Some studies show that people are more likely to do stuff if they keep their intentions private. Basically, goal sharing may give us the same psychological …

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Interleaving: rethink the way you learn

Most schools use blocked practice to teach students: it’s an approach that consists in practicing a single skill over and over, with repetition being the key, and little to no variance. With blocked practice, you wait until you feel comfortable with a topic before moving onto the next one. This is how most curriculums are …

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Active reading: how to become a better reader

Highly effective readers use a collection of mental processes called active reading in order to retain more of the information and make the new acquired knowledge more useful. Reading in a passive way isn’t an effective way to understand and learn. In order to stay focused and retain more information, it’s important to be highly …

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