Sunday, November 16, 2008

Don't be too hard on yourself!

I have a tendency to focus on my weaknesses and not acknowledge my strengths. This makes me pressure myself more than the average person would. I am always thinking about what I need to do and were I am lacking and when people try to subtly or overtly make me feel inadequate I grant them permission by trying to see some right even when there is none in their misdoings.
  • A lot of times when people try to hurt you it's because they have been hurt.
  • When people try to bring you down they usually see potential and are often afraid of the fruit that it may bear.
Love your self, take pride in your strengths, acknowledge your weaknesses and balance where you can but don't dwell on them where it becomes paralyzing. Here is a quote from by Marianne Williamson from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Sometimes life is full of so many negatives we need some encouragement, share some of your encouraging stories, quotes....

More on Instructional Design

I have posted on "What is Instructional Design?" already. However I found this video only 8 minutes long and I think it covers some salient points about the ADDIE model (The foundation of all Instructional Design models), how it is important for training and how to go about using it. Have a look!

How to Embed YouTube videos in PowerPoint 2003 and 2007

Forgive me if I am behind the times on this one, but I am quite sure I am not the only one. I am working on a presentation and I found some YouTube videos that would make the presentation interesting and cater for different learning styles :)...had to rub that in. I find it very inconvenient to link using a URL to YouTube and then play the video from there. I have seen presentations where the video plays from the slide, so I did my usual Google search and found some great instructions which I tried and it worked! So thought I might share for those of you who did not know like me!

Live Your You Tube Video in PowerPoint Presentation This is really good as it gives instructions for 2003 and 2007. It also gives instructions for two options embedding video and using the internet to play or downloading video and then inserting it if you won't have internet connection or just don't want to use the internet.

Video showing how to do live embed for 2003

Video showing how to do live embed for 2007: (The volume is a bit low...just turn up your sound... but it's good)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Learning How To Learn

I have been procrastinating in posting on this topic, and I have been directed back to it on several occasions. For starters my friend just started Law school and he has been making a concerted effort to put measures in place so that he can steer his own learning based on his preferred learning style and the nature of the subject matter. The big term in education /psychology for this is metacognition. The prefix meta means about self… person’s in technology may be familiar with the term meta data, which is data about data. I think this definition captures it well: Meta: A prefix meaning one level of description higher. If X is some concept then meta-X is data about, or processes operating on, X.

So what is metacognition?

Metacognition emerges from the school of cognitive psychology. It consists of two basic processes occurring simultaneously: monitoring your progress as you learn, and making changes and adapting your strategies if you perceive you are not doing so well.


My first formal exposure to the term metacognition was at The University of the West Indies in Jamaica, where for my Managing Learning Difficulties class we were told that when learners are encouraged to reflect on the learning process it makes learning easier and they take control. So we used strategies like modeling and think aloud, thus making learners aware of the thinking/cognitive process. A lot of processes that seem natural to us are very difficult for learners in difficulty and they have to explicitly learn them. I used metacognitive strategies during teaching practice and they worked great.
Personally I don't soak up information very well unless I can relate to it. So whenever I am learning something new I try to find some area where it can be applied so it can be relevant to me. Because I am conscious of the way I learn and think I have been able to manipulate my formal learning experiences to work in my favour.

Metacognition is for everyone even though the strategies have proved helpful to learners in difficulty. Eric Digest outlines 3 basic metacognition steps in their article Developing Metacognition:
1. Connecting new information to former knowledge.
2. Selecting thinking strategies deliberately.
3. Planning, monitoring, and evaluating thinking processes.

Metacognition is very important and is best cultivated from early. Once students realize that they can control and determine their own learning they are no longer solely dependent on the teacher. For example: If a teacher mostly talks in class and a student realizes that listening is not effective but when they make notes or do diagrams it helps them; even though the teacher doesn’t give diagrams that student will still learn as he/she has discovered what works and can regulate their own learning.

Parents and teachers should make a concerted effort to develop these skills in children/students this will create a thinking and adaptable workforce which is what the 21st century demands. As adults it’s not to late to start practicing some of these strategies you will find learning becomes easier and in some cases fun.

For more metacognition strategies see
Julie Halter's article:
“KNOWING HOW TO LEARN, and knowing which strategies work best, are valuable skills that differentiate expert learners from novice learner

Aside: Last week I did a strengths assessment from Gallup through the book Strengths Finder 2.0. And one of my top five themes was Learner; I guess I got this metacognition thing going.

Learner Theme Description: People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.

  • What strategies have you used to help you learn?
  • Do you find that some strategies are good in some learning situations and not in others?
  • Share some of your strategies and learning experiences!