Managing your brain to optimise learning and memory: Some notes

This is a short popular media piece I wrote a while back for the Memory Lab exhibition (2011) on managing your brain to optimise learning and memory. I dug it out after receiving a few emails on this topic regarding study advice. There are two general things you can do – manage your lifestyle, and manage… Read More

Many contrarian thoughts and bullet-points about MOOCs

I present some general and largely negative points against MOOCs (wiki: ‘A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aimed at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web‘) below.  Well, against the MOOC hype anyway. As a contra to what I say below: this Clay Shirky piece is fantastic on the hope for MOOCs; this piece by Shirkey gives a particular… Read More

Concurrent task performance enhances low-level visuomotor learning (a rare exception to the general rule that multitasking dramatically and seriously degrades performance).

Take-home message: a paradoxical result. Sometimes, when performing a very dull task, being forced to deploy extra attention to another simultaneously-performed task makes you better on the first task. This is a rare exception to the general rule that multitasking dramatically and seriously degrades performance (see this too; and also). Don’t text and drive: you’ll crash (this is kinda yuck and not… Read More

Prolonged rote learning produces delayed memory facilitation and metabolic changes in the hippocampus of the ageing human brain.

Take-home message: repeated practice with material that must be remembered facilitates remembering in an aged population in whom there is expected to be a degree of age-related memory loss. This practice produces changes in the brain in structures that support learning and memory. Think of it like this: memory can be exercised via practice, much… Read More