Think of learning like familiarizing with a place

Think of learning like familiarizing with a place. If the first time you go to an area, you see a building, you learn about the building but does not know how the building fit into the big picture of the city, you don't know how to get from one building to another, you don't know how many of such buildings are in the city. 

This is the same when you come to learn about a subject. When you first learn a single word, a single formula or a single code, you do not know how it relates to the larger picture of the subject. So it is natural to feel lost. 

When you feel lost, you just keep walking around the area until a picture forms in your mind about the whole city. You may take two or three walks to get familiar, some may take 20 walk around the area, does'nt matter, if you need that long then it takes that long, the key is to keep walking the area until you get familiar. 

A good tour guide gives you key cues to help you remember how to get from one place to another, he ask you to pay attention to a certain signpost. Give you a mnemonic, a memory tool. He guides you around in a systematic way that is easier for the brain to internalize.

A not so skillful guide may know the area equally well, but he will just show you around the area in a haphazard way and does'nt provide you with the learning aids.. In that case, if you are not lucky enough to have a good guide or a guide at all, you have to invent your own mnemonics as you go along, don't go blindly with such a guide, slow the guide down and invite him to explain. 

Pedagogy of a great online learning course by Google

1) Suggest breaks to student when it is a long course

2) Videos of instructors talking to each other, sending uplifting audio visual signals. 

3) Laughters, smiles, a happy voice. 

4) Elaborate explanations in as simple terms as possible without assuming any prior knowledge of students. 

5)While handwriting that looks like typeface is easy to read, typeface itself makes the brain sleepy. 

6)For students with no self discipline, it is very bad to let them set their own schedule, you should define a reasonable deadline for them to complete certain tasks, this will motivate them to achieve. Even though there is no punishment, a statement from an 'authoritative' (though not neccessary fierce) figure that you need to do this by when often provides sufficient push. Be authoritative in the sense that people are confident that they will end up be good if they follow your instructions, your example must provide that confidence.

7) Insert manageable milestones, deadlines and breaks in lesson so that it does'nt feel like it takes forever to learn finish the course. 

How you teach determines whether students learn

I'm inspired to write this as I'm amazed by the online learning pedagogy the Google Udacity Android basics programming course:


Understanding human psychology and behavior is important to designing a product or service.

A product or service may deliver great benefits, however if it is not designed in a proper way then none of the benefits may be derived.


For example, a course may deliver great content, but because of poor design, it may be conducted at a timing when students are likely to feel fatigue, duration of course too long, unfriendly facilitators, a voice that makes student feel uncomfortable and long paragraphs that goes on and on without a break like this one.


It is not easy for the product or service developer to understand what makes the product or service hard to use because he is good with using it, therefore it will be good if he can get someone who have no knowledge of how to use the product or service at all to test out the product and give him feedback.


Getting a tester is costly, an alternative is to provide the beta of the product or service to users for free or at low cost in exchange for feedback. When users stop using the product there must be a reason, follow up to offer some incentive in exchange for a good feedback.


Suggest all teachers to be learners and all product developers to be users. Take the example of teacher, when you learn something totally new, you will also learn the challenges of a learner, which allows you to put yourself in the shoes of your students and refine your pedagogy.


Also use the products or services of other teachers to learn the good points in their teaching style.

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