What We Mean By Directness Here
- "Directness is the idea of learning being tied closely to the situation or context you want to use it in."
- "Directness is the hallmark of most ultralearning projects."
- "...the learning activities are always done with a connection to the context in which the skills learned will eventually be used."
You have to be careful to keep the directness issue in mind, because it's easy to fall into easier learning strategies, like watching videos of lectures instead of doing problems or, in my case, reading about Franco American experiences instead of the nitty gritty research skills that my character will actually need. Today I'm wondering if the Franco American business is necessary at all.
This was pretty interesting. Transference occurs when learning something in one situation, like high school, can be transferred to another, say, college or real life. Young says a lot of research indicates that not much of this happens with traditional education, and that that has been known for over a century. (Google "transfer of learning." It's a thing.)
Transfer happens all the time but not in organized, instructional ways. Young argues that transfer doesn't occur through traditional educational situations because formal learning is so indirect.
Our Case Study (and for all writers): Determine what I actually need and focus directly on that. Research can become a real rabbit hole for writers, in which we burn off a lot of time studying up on a subject and very little of what we've learned gets transferred to the page. It happens to me a lot.
Tactics For Direct Learning
Young describes four, but I'm only including the two that I think are best for our purposes. By which I mean, of course, my purposes.
1. Project-based learning. If you build your project around learning how to produce something, you ought to learn how to produce that thing, at least. Studying in general can give you a lot of background information that may not transfer to that one thing you want to produce.
A project for an intellectual topic might be a thesis paper. This does apply the general learning to the topic of the thesis, but sounds a lot like traditional learning to me.
Our Case Study: Planning to use my research in some kind of article/essay, rather than a thesis paper, in addition to the fiction I'm doing the research for, might be a way to make my learning project-based. Using the same research for more than one form of writing is not an unusual writing plan.
2. Immersive Learning. Surround yourself with a "target environment" in which the skill is practiced. This exposes you to situations in which the skill applies. Joining communities of people who are engaged in the same learning can have a similar impact. It encourages constant exposure.
Our Case Study: I started following #history and #historicalresearch on Twitter, with two Tweetdeck columns dedicated to these hashtags so I can find new info tweeted quickly. Not so helpful yet. I also am following historians who I think might tweet about the kinds of historical research that could be useful to me. I tried to join a couple of historical Facebook groups, one of which appears to have rejected me. (I'm in with the other one.) The rejecting group was academic and you had to give some information about yourself to convince them you were one of them. My undergraduate minor in history did not do the trick, nor were they moved by my interest in historical research for fiction. But, ha-ha on them, because this is still info for this blog post!
I also didn't take down the group's name and now can't find it on Facebook, which either illustrates an issue I have with doing research or indicates they are hiding from me. And may have been correct to pass on my request to join them.
What Has Reading This Book Done For You, Gail?
- Well, so far I've learned about metalearning, (Principle 1), and how it applies to what I'm doing. I've actually used the term in the first chapter of the project I'm working on.
- Then I've focused on what I actually need to learn, (Principle 2) and collected material for my study. In fact, I've done that a couple of times, because I changed my mind about what I should be focusing on. This is the kind of thing I would have done anyway. Though I've also been known to do mini-researches as I'm going along in a project and questions come up. My hope is that more organized research will mean I don't do that.
- This week I've been working on tying my research/learning to my project. I have to say, I find this kind of iffy. Directness seems as if it could have been tied in with focus. One mega principle instead of 2. But I probably wouldn't have joined that history Facebook group (the one that would have me) and following historians on Twitter (which is like putting a positive spin on stalking) without the reading I did in Ultralearning.
Yes, this does seem to be moving along slowly. I am working on a big submission issue this month as well as short-form work. I am not being focused and direct with this particular project.