Is meditation good for learning?

There is plenty of study data available that shows that meditation has very good and positive effects on the health of brain.Scientists agree that brain is a muscle that need exercise and training to keep it healthy. More and more research shows that meditation is a good exercise for brain.Meditation makes your ability to absorb and understand information better no matter what your age is.

That makes it a good tool for student to learn new courses and to get better grades.Meditation is very helpful to keep you calm and focused particularly in the exam times.

Research has shown that left side of brain deals with mathematical stuff and the right side with creativity.If you are using only one side of the brain, this will create an unbalance. It has been found that most successful people use both hemispheres of brain equally.Meditation helps to fix the unbalance of the brain.

Meditation also helps to stimulate those parts of brain which are used for information storage and retrieval.

On the whole, it can be said that meditation has limitless benefits and can be very helpful in learning.

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Jigsaw Strategy

Jigsaw is used to develop knowledge and figure out various ways to teach it to other students in a small group. First a small group studies a topic and learns it thoroughly and becomes an expert group. This expert group then breaks up and those students move over to other groups called “jigsaw group”, each jigsaw group consist of expert student who have gained through knowledge about the topic. After some time, these groups break up again to form new jigsaw groups.

The excellent thing about jigsaw group strategy is that when students assume the responsibility of a teacher, they lead the discussion and hence take up leadership roles. So It teaches the students to accept responsibility for learning something thoroughly.

I am going to use this strategy in my class.Jigsaw picture

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Mind Mapping

Mind Mapping is a useful technique that helps you learn more effectively, improves the way that you record information, and supports and enhances creative problem solving. By using Mind Maps, you can quickly identify and understand the structure of a subject.

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The five essential characteristics of Mind Mapping:

  • The main idea, subject or focus is crystallized in a central image.
  • The main themes radiatefrom the central image as ‘branches’.
  • The branches comprise a key image or key word drawn or printed on its associated line.
  • Topics of lesser importance are represented as ‘twigs’ of the relevant branch.
  • The branches form a connected nodal structure.

How to Make a Mind Map

  • Think of your general main theme and write that down in the center of the page. i.e. Food
  • Figure out sub-themes of your main concept and draw branches to them from the center, beginning to look like a spider web.
  • Make sure to use very short phrases or even single words.
  • Add images to invoke thought or get the message across better.
  • Try to think of at least two main points for each sub-theme you created and create branches out to those.



Quick tips for managing academic stress

Here are some of the tips to cope with the academic stress:

  1. Identify your sources of distress, e.g. Disinterest? Behind in work? Poor understanding of new material? Unclear expectations on assignments? ESL? Finances too tight? Lonely? Trying to do too many activities?
  2. Determine what sources of stress may be under your own control, and what isn’t. Aim to “control the controllables”.
  3. Anticipate stressful events and plan ahead:
  • Reduce or eliminate optional activities or responsibilities
  • Set priorities, deadlines and timelines to reach your targets
  • Build in extra time for unexpected events or to catch up.
  1. Change your “mind set” or attitude:
  • Ask yourself “are things really THAT bad? What’s the worst that can happen?”
  • Keep your perspective
  • Stop catastrophic thinking
  • Determine what is the most important thing to do right now?
  1. Change your behavior:
  • List your academic accomplishments each day…and acknowledge them.
  • Promote your health: eat well, sleep enough in the night, and exercise appropriately.
  • Break big tasks into small manageable steps.
  • Have some fun.
  1. Change your situation:
  • reduce e-distractions
  • study somewhere else
  • sleep earlier at night
  • review your course or program with your prof. or Career Services
  1. Learn relaxation techniquesor do yoga, T’ai Chi, go for a run, etc.
  2. Do what you know works for you- – use yourhealthy “stress buster”activities



Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed learning (SDL) is both a personal attribute and a process. It as a personal attribute refers to an individual predisposition towards learning and comfort with autonomy in the learning process. Knowles defined it as a process of SDL “ in which individual take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying human and material resources for learning, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating those learning outcomes” (1975, p.18).


Self-Directed Learning

Knowles (1975) also outlined the six-step process which forms the basis of a learning contract for learners and instructors. The six steps are:

  1. Climate setting, i.e. creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and support
  2. Diagnosing learning needs
  3. Formulating learning goals
  4. Identifying human and material resources for learning
  5. Choosing and implementing learning strategies
  6. Evaluating learning outcomes

Goals of SDL

Caffarella (2000) suggested that there are four goals likely to motivate learners to engage SDL:

  1. The aspiration to gain knowledge or develop skill – say you want to learn to speak Spanish
  2. Becoming more self-directed in learning- might mean that after you take Spanish classes, you are ready to strike out on your own by watching Spanish TV shows, or travelling to Spanish speaking countries.
  3. SDL can also inspire transformational learning.
  4. Finally, SDL can be emancipatory, supporting social justice and political action i.e. moving beyond the realm of individual learning.

SDL is becoming a prominent feature of continuing professional education in many fields including physical therapy, dental education, veterinary and medical education, and library science. These professions recognize the need for continuous, lifelong learning and are attempting to it into the curriculum. Higher education is another site where SDL has taken hold.

Self-directed training is also used in business and organizational settings as a strategy for competing in a globalizing, changing environment.


Adult Learning – Linking Theory and Practice – Sharan B. Merriam & Laura L. Bierema




6 Top Facts about Adult Learning

In adult learning theory, it is presumed that adults have specific learning requirements. The adult learning theory also suggests that the best learning environments are the ones that are collaborative and utilize a problem-based approach. It is important to note that not every student is in the adult learner stage. With this in mind, it is encouraged that students be made aware of the traits of adult learners, and aspire to gain a few of these characteristics.


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6 Main Characteristics of Adult Learners

There are 6 main characteristics of adult learners according to Malcolm Knowles (1980, 1984) who was one of the pioneers in this field.

  1. Adult learning is self-directed/autonomous

Adult learners are actively involved in the learning process such that they make choices relevant to their learning objectives. As such, adult learners also direct their learning goals with the guidance of their mentors. As an educator, it is important to facilitate the process of goal-setting. Students need to be given the freedom to assume responsibility for their own choices.

  1. Adult learning utilizes knowledge & life experiences

Under this approach educators encourage learners to connect their past experiences with their current knowledge-base and activities. Learners are taught ways to bring to their current placement past knowledge, opinions, and experiences. The educators must know how to relate the sum of learners’ experiences to the current learning experiences.

  1. Adult learning is goal-oriented

The motivation to learn is increased when the relevance of the “lesson” through real-life situations is clear, particularly in relation to the specific concerns of the learner. The need to acquire relevant and adequate knowledge is of high importance. With this in mind, adult learning is characterized as goal-oriented and intended learning outcomes should be clearly identified.

  1. Adult learning is relevancy-oriented

One of the best ways for adults to learn is by relating the assigned tasks to their own learning goals. If it is clear that the activities they are engaged into, directly contribute to achieving their personal learning objectives, then they will be inspired and motivated to engage in projects and successfully complete them.

  1. Adult learning highlights practicality

Placement is a means of helping students to apply the theoretical concepts learned inside the classroom into real-life situations. Learning is facilitated when appropriate ways of implementing theoretical knowledge in real life situations are made clear.

  1. Adult learning encourages collaboration

Adult learners thrive in collaborative relationships with their educators. When learners are considered by their instructors as colleagues, they become more productive. When their contributions are acknowledged, then they are willing to put out their best work.



6 Top Facts About Adult Learning Theory – eLearning Industry


Learning by Doing

“Schools are currently in need of radical change. We exist in a culture in which fact-based knowledge dominates traditional instruction. People who are good at “knowledge games” like Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy are considered smart. But, life requires us to do, more than it requires us to know, in order to function. There is only one effective way to teach someone how to do anything, and that is to let them do it”. (Schank, Berman, and Macpherson- Instructional-design Theories and Model).

The students in the colleges have the goal, but the goal is to get good grades. At the end of the term they pretend that they learned the stuff because they have good grades. But actually that knowledge is superfluous, shallow and short term. In actual world, the employer wants to know about your skill to perform the task, not how much your grades have. So it makes more sense to let the students learn by doing the tasks they will be required to do.

Schank, Berman, and Macpherson have developed a structure known as goal-based scenarios (GBSs). A GBS is learn-by-doing simulation in which students pursue a goal by practicing target skills and using relevant content knowledge to help them achieve their goal. GBSs can be either software environment or live role-play or both.

The problem with the traditional system is that we teach them just factual knowledge. The students are not learning skills. The learning goals are in the “know that” format, rather than “how to”. For example it is not sufficient to know about the boiler. This is the content knowledge. The student also need to know and practice how to use this content knowledge. If the students do not know what to do with that knowledge, they will forget quickly what they were taught.

The students should learn content and skills both to achieve goals. For example learning about a boiler in my course, about its different parts and how that look like is o.k to get good grades but this is not an intrinsically motivating goal.

GBS stresses on the experience of the process and what is the outcome of that process.

By doing you get an opportunity to learn by actually working on it and having an experience. If it does not go as you planned, you will get experience and try to improve it next time. You are learning from prior experiences, which is very effective to learn and to improve upon your skill.

This will help you to become expert. The experts do not necessarily mean experts in the professional sense. The experts are those people who can use knowledge and perform skills in a functional way to achieve their goals.

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(Schank, Berman, and Macpherson- Instructional-design Theories and Model).

Active Learning

The term active learning was introduced by the English scholar R W Revans (1907–2003).

Bonwell (1991) “states that in active learning, students participate in the process and students participate when they are doing something besides passively listening.”

Active learning gets the mind actively engaged. The students are doing the things and are thinking what they are doing. They are dynamic participants. They are reflecting not only on the process but also on the results of their learning. They connect the new information to their existing knowledge. An active learner analyses the information, and connect that to the information he already has. Learning is a process that analyses the new information and connects that to what is already known. So this process involves thinking, doing, discussing, and problem solving and reflecting.

To promote active learning “we must move aside, often and regularly” Weimer (2002) (p.74). But that does not mean that the teacher lose the total control of the class. As Miller and her colleagues warn that “a common mistake of teachers in adopting an active learning strategy is to relinquish structure along with control, and the common result is for students to feel frustrated and disoriented” (Miller, Trimbur & Wilkes, p. 17). The course objective, class size, student experience and teacher’s philosophy about teaching will influence the strategy to be adopted by him.

Be clear on the goals. “If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?” (Barkley p.94). The teacher’s job is to help students learn, if he does not know what the students would learn, it would be confusion and wastage of time.

Activate prior learning. Because the student connect the prior learning with the new information, encourage students to participate in those activities that activate prior learning. A think-pair-share activity can be used in which learners take a minute to ponder the previous lesson, discuss it with one or more of their peers later and finally to share it with the class in a formal discussion.

Learning is closely connected to the ability of a student to store, retain and retrieve the information later on. These three components help the information move from short term memory to long term memory. It is more likely the information will be stored permanently if it has emotional connection. The teacher can use images, videos, and story to connect the information to emotion.

The brain needs some reason to remember an information, better than just to pass the examination. Find out some reason that connect the topic to the world around us.



Elizabeth F Barkley – Student Engagement Techniques

How do we remember?

I remember when my dad brought for me beautiful shoes when I was in 2nd grade. I remember even the fine details of that moment, and of that feeling. It is amazing how the memory works.

The scientists divide the memory into categories based on the time the memory lasts. The short time memory and long term memory. Short time memories last only for milliseconds, and memories lasting for days, months and years is called long term memory. Long term memory store experiences and our stories of life. Short term memory are cleaned very soon and our brain is ready to store more.

Memories are formed through associations-  brains tie what we see, smell, listen, and our experiences together into a relationship.This relationship is the memory of that happening or experience.

Can we improve memory? Humans are good at remembering  complex chunks of information while computers are good at remembering many simple chunks of information.That means that we can remember something better if that makes sense to us  or if it is emotionally important to us.

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Creating my first blog….

I don’t know much about blogging, but I am trying to learn about it now… (my kids know better than me….). So here is my first blog about my workplace. My workplace is awesome place to work. When I go to my class for teaching my course, I feel excited, full of energy … I always tell my students, it is OK not to know but it is not OK not to learn. I teach electricity and boiler training (hands-on stuff)                                                                                           Creative Commons License
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