Monday, 30 April 2007

The Importance of Learning Slowly

Currently I'm working as a Teaching and Learning Coach and I know it takes me time to think things through if I am to get a deeper understanding, which is why I titled my blog 'Slow learning'. I'm always on the lookout for material about thinking and recently I came across a blog post by Gary Woodill titled The Importance of Learning Slowly , which is a review of Manfred Spitzer's book The Mind within the Net: models of learning, thinking, and acting. From Gary Woodill's review:

Manfred Spitzer’s The Mind within the Net is one of the best non-technical narratives on how minds work using the neural network model. Some of these explanations are startling, while others reinforce positions of strong advocates of individual freedom and the power of informal learning, such as Stephen Downes, George Siemens, and Jay Cross.

Like neural networks, the brain is based on vector algebra, rather than numerical computations. Vectors have strength and direction, and many vectors, representing multiple inputs, unite to form a result. The result in the brain is strengthening or weakening of a set of neural connections, a relatively slow process. While a single event can have an impact, it usually takes many events to have a relatively permanent change in the brain (aka “learning”) and to extract general features and generate rules from experience.

So there you go.

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