Discovering the Characteristics of Effective Learning with Experts Peter C. Brown & Jonathan Levi

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Peter C. Brown: There's no limit to our ability to learn.
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“When learning is easy, it doesn't stick.”
— Peter C. Brown
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As someone who specializes in accelerated learning, I’m really excited about this week's guest, Peter C. Brown. After retiring from management consulting, he has published a number of books on money making ventures for nonprofits, jumping the job track, and most recently, a book entitled “Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.” In fact, his book and mine are consistently battling it out for the top spot on Amazon’s list of best books about learning, so you know, i just had to reach out to him and compare notes on how the strategies for successful long-term learning versus those for accelerated learning compare.

I have to say, it was an absolute blast to speak to someone who is equally passionate about effective learning as I am. I really enjoyed the opportunity to pick the brain of someone intimately familiar with the research and see how he and I have coalesced or differed in our prescriptions to successful learning. The episode offers a ton of incredible takeaways both for students of my course and for those who have never even heard of it – telling you the key elements of successful and effective learning for the long term. I just know you’ll enjoy listening to the episode as much as I enjoyed recording it.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Peter C. Brown's journey from management consulting to writing and publishing
  • The research of Peter's co-authors, memory experts Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel
  • Common misconceptions on the characteristics of effective learning
  • The relationship between difficulty and retention when it comes to learning
  • Spaced repetition systems such as Leitner Boxes, and why they're so effective
  • The parallels between physical fitness training and effective learning
  • Where modern academic environments fail to adhere to the characteristics of effective learning
  • How important is testing for effective and sustained learning?
  • What the research tells us about the brain, short term memory, and long term memory
  • How to structure effective practice and learning for long-term success
  • Do we need to understand the basics of learning science to take advantage of them?
  • Visual and emotional “markers,” as discussed in Jonathan's book
  • The differences between Peter's book and Jonathan's
  • What are the few habits that ensure effective and successful learning?
  • What are the few habits that Peter C. Brown believes to be “game-changers” in life? 
  • How the characteristics of effective learning made the seemingly miraculous Hudson river landing possible
  • Mental rehearsal and it's efficacy for learning
  • How do sleep, dreaming, and lucid dreaming relate to effective learning?
  • What is Peter C. Brown working on next?

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Favorite Quotes from Peter C. Brown:

“For true expertise or mastery, your practice – and you need a lot of it – must exceed current ability.”
“You want the learning well embedded and connected in the mind to what you already know, and you want many different ways of finding it later when you need it.”
“All new learning builds on existing learning.”
“For me… the game-changer is not to try and figure it out, but to start to do it.”
“There's no end to our ability to learn, if we want to make the effort to do it.




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