donderdag 14 juli 2016

Life long learning

One of the regular topics on this irregular blog is learning. For virtually every professional, but especially those with a link to IT, lifelong learning is a MUST. And with MUST I mean AAN=An Absolute Necessity.

1) AAN
Let me give you an example of what may happen when you don't spend time learning. It comes from the practice of our oldest daughter, Margreet, who is doing het master in education. She was asked to evaluate the introduction and coaching of new teachers at a confederation of schools. The management of the confederation organized individual coaching, but also offered a training course given by a 1-person institute. This training course received very bad reviews. Part of the required evaluation was finding out why.

During the evaluation, one of teh findings was that the person giving the course knew a number of (fairly known) models, which the young teachers all had learned at school. Now that may have been a signal that both school curriculum and training course offered the most modern insights, but alas that was not the case. The training course might still have been valuable if it had been aimed at the application of theoretical knowledge in everyday practice, but it didnt even offer that. My personal conclusion is that the trainer had failed to keep learning. She had not learned from modern insights, and she had not learned from the reactions of her students.

2) Learning and exercise
Having stated again the necessity again, here are two fairly modern insights in learning. The first is a finding by van Dongen et al, titled "Physical exercise performed four hours after learning improves memorey retention and increases hippocampal pattern simularity during retrieval".

As the title already says, the reserachers found that you remember your learning better if you do physical exercise some four hours after the learning session.
The question which immmediately popped up in my thoughts was: how can I implement this in my 40 hour workday? This is al nice and fine when I have a training day: in the evening I go and do a session of jogging. But how can I do that when I have worked all day and have an evening training? No easy solution here.

3) Cinnamon
Cinnamon, especially Ceylon Cinnamon, might enhance learning ability. Kallipada Pahanand and Floyd A. Davix found that cinnamon consumption by mice enhanced their learning ability. They tested this with mice, not humans, which seems to offer a nice area of research. Note that Chinese cinnamon contains small quantities of a liver toxic, so search for Ceylon cinnamon if you want to use yourself as a human guinea pig.

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