A Study Hack # 1 , how to get over MOOC freeze...
I now have over 1200 students enrolled across my courses, and what's interesting is how students plan to actually engage with the course, especially FREE courses, as sometimes value can be hard to determine from the plethora of FREE courses available.
When I undertook a profile of what courses students are enrolled on, the results reveal some interesting stats and in time I will publish some analytics over a sample set, but in summary some students are enrolled in upwards of 35 courses, one may surmise this is a caching exercise to make sure they don't miss out on Freebies turning to Paid , or courses being discontinued or even prices going up, nonetheless I would love to understand the psyche behind this collective thinking.
Anyway, this post is not about the collective, but a simple hack I use when studying or trying to get motivated to actually watch some lectures in a course I have enrolled on, and of course the next challenge is going beyond just watching to actually doing e.g. coding!
Anyway I got a positive response to the below hack I sent out a few days ago to my course cohort ...
Welcome to the course "SQL hitch hikers guide to writing SQL queries" , today I have a quick study hack for you and I will add more over time.
With our busy work, family, social lives how do we fit study into this busy life ?
Well, what works for me is to approach my study task as a box that is made up of lots of little boxes, which means rather than trying to unpack the whole box in one go (which can be daunting in the context of this busy life), I just remove one box and set it to one side, then open this little box and just focus on it's contents only, totally ignoring the big box (for now) !
Ok you say ! , but how do I translate this to my study for this course (or any other), well it's not too difficult.
The big box is the course you enrolled , right ? The little boxes are the course lectures !
So here's how I decide how I will look at the little boxes, I pick a time of day when I know there is not too much time pressure, maybe when the kids are off to bed, and my wife is reading a book, let's say that's a Wednesday evening, so I commit to myself that I will open the box (read Course) and then grab a little box out (read Lecture) .
How big is a little box, lets say 10 Minutes, wow 10 minutes is nothing in a day of 1,440 minutes and I examine the little box (read Lecture) , then I'm done, one box out of the big box and only x little boxes to go (but never focus on how much is left to do, you will discourage yourself e.g. I'm a runner and I never look at how long I have to run for, I just plan to get the next 1/2 km done, when I get there I think wow, made it, let's do another 1/2 K and so on , pretty soon my run is done and I feel awesome, albeit hot and tired) ...
So, what is the after effect of this planned box approach ? I look at it this way ...
1: I feel satisfied I completed my personal goal for the evening , especially as I enrolled on a course with intent to learn something new, and naturally if it helps my job performance, bonus.
2: I picked up a couple of fragments of knowledge and filed them away for later use.
3: My curiosity got the better of me as the little box (lecture) had something in it that made me want to look further into it's contents and try it out, so I played with coding for a bit.
4: Hmm, I suddenly had an urge to pick another little box out of the big box and check the content and examine it in more detail, and played with the coding for a bit, hey this was fun, not a chore, time flew away.
5: Heck, I just realised the house is quiet and dark, everyone is asleep, it's 1 am, I have work (or school) in the morning, off to bed.
... and the after effect continues to draw you in, it stops being a course then and becomes a learning adventure, a hunger.
So, in a nutshell, don't stress or look at the big box and think "Oh heck, did I get in over my head ?"
Just look at it as an unwrapping over time, no hurry, no rush, just enjoy, just learn step by step and you will find your mind wanting to return to the big box and eventually the big box is empty, just like my running every 1/2 Km , and eventually I arrive, I achieve, I feel great.
Did you know the hardest thing I find about running ? putting my running shoes on! but once they are on, I know I'm going to run and run I do, because I committed to it and once I have warmed up I'm in the zone.
A course of study is the same, putting the shoes on is the "log in and open the course" either at the start or where you left off last time and after a few minutes you are warmed up and in the study zone.
Mastering, Achieving, Knowledge, Experiencing, Rewarding , be a MAKER not a user !
Enjoy the course, mail me if any questions :) Have a great day wherever you are.