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Learning 3 pillars

I'm thinking of an infographic about the 3 pillars of proper learning.

This is the approach behind this website's as well: combining all 3 of them, and only writing on things where all 3 of them are present.

Each single one could be framed / marketed like the best approach:

  • "I've got tons of experience in this" / X portion of my students say it works
  • "This is science-backed"
  • "It all adds up, it just makes sense, prove it wrong if you can"

but in truth, they are all severely lacking as tools of greater enlightenment when standing on their own.

Even removing any single one of them severely limits your ability to understand, strategize, as well as your effectiveness in teaching and helping others.

It's a bit of a complex topic to put on a single image, so I will explain it properly in the "about section".
But I still want to use a single-overview image.

Feedback / ideas?

If you got anything, please don't hold back on the "tough love" :).

 

 

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

It may take me some time to draft out my thoughts properly in this area!
Very passionate about learning how to learn better.

I have definitely been "pies in the skies", "ivory tower blinded" and "fooled by randomness".

My personal mistakes

Pies in the skies: self-analysing a sales script instead of picking up the phone to get immediate feedback
Ivory tower blinded: I work on machine learning projects. Sometimes I spend too much time on the data. Lose sight of the forest for the trees.
Fool by randomness: Thinking entrepreneurship is all about execution and hands-on experience. Should have read books and learnt from others. Certainly, some planning and strategising would go a long way too.

And many more mistakes.

Product Management

I have been reading books on product management.
Reading this book now.
How to Create Tech Products Customers Love

One field of product management is product discovery, which is all about learning what to build in your product to achieve a particular outcome.
A large part is how to validate your hypotheses with data and experience in terms of building products.

The other portion of product management is product delivery.
How do you deliver on building your product to solve this outcome?

Product discovery and product delivery go hand-in-hand.
You have to do both at the same time.
What they have in common is the outcome. So always set your outcome first.

This is where Google's objectives and key results framework come in.
Set an outcome via objectives, and define key results that define these objectives via metrics.

You may be thinking why am I talking about building products.
Because I have used these principles of product management in other areas of my life.
Especially learning.

How To Apply Principles of Product Management in Learning

For a new subject, you may not even know where to start.
How do you set an outcome?

Your outcome can be defined in context of the discovery phase.
For example, in power dynamics,

Objectives

Next 2 weeks.
Study, learn and analyse to find your top 3 areas of weaknesses you would like to prioritise in
For example,

    • Assertiveness
    • Negotiation
    • Handling covert agression
    • Leadership

Key Results

Keep a journal. (quote from Power University)
Every day, take note of all the situations which you personally felt you could do better. (Gathering experience into data)
Note down which niche of power dynamics each situation would require. (Structure and label your data)

Total up the number of situations which you feel you need to do better for each niche of power dynamics.
Find the top 3 niches with the highest score. Could be

  1. Assertiveness
  2. Leadership
  3. Negotiation

 

Now for the delivery phase.

Objectives

Next 2 weeks.
Sharpen and apply your skills in these niches of power dynamics in various daily situations.
For example,

    • Assertiveness
    • Leadership
    • Negotiation

Key Results

Go to Power University, and study the relevant sections carefully.
Jot down notes for the tactics and strategies to handle these social situations.

Use the same journal.
Every day, take note of all the situations requiring power dynamic skills in these niches.
Note down the situations where you did well and where you did not do well.

Come to the ThePowerMoves forum to check for past case studies.
Open new threads if case studies are not present.
Reflect and learn.

Track if the proportion of situations where you applied these new skills well increases over the 2 weeks.
At the end of 2 weeks, reassess based on your records if you did well in

  1. Assertiveness
  2. Leadership
  3. Negotiation

In practise, the discovery and delivery phase often goes hand-in-hand.
I have outlined them separately for clarity.
You can define them in parallel as goals for the next 2 weeks.
I use 2 weeks because I like the concept of sprints in agile management.

 

Other Possible Useful Skills

  1. Divergent thinking - Exploring ideas, new ways of doing things, thinking more randomly
  2. Convergent thinking - More towards analysis (as mentioned above)
  3. Lateral thinking - Connecting the dots between topics and subjects

A combination of thinking methods certainly helps in being more creative.
Also comes more naturally when I do more meditation.

I would like to request for "tough love" as well!

 

This is such a crucial topic, and as you both said – a bit hard to condense in a post.

 

I notice myself being a lot like the philosopher, and there lays certainly my strenght, and of course lingers the weakness that comes with it as well. But as long as we are aware of where we stand I think it helps us to minimize the downsides and excel in our strenghts.

 

It may be worth to emphasize that we are quite different, and that even two people who excel in systemic thinking may differ immensely in what level or layer they like to tackle – as we are constantly shifting between different layers of knowledge, some of them far more fundamental than others.

 

Different Layers

It’s interesting to learn and theorize about the learning process itself, reminds me of a computer that updates something very fundamental – like the processor firmware (is like looking into even better ways to learn new things) vs updating something of the very outer layer – like the browser (is like improving your dancing skills for example).

 

Both of these have their place and importance. Deeper layer doesn’t necessarily always mean better, though I thinks it’s very important to look into all of these layers and make sure the fundament is absolutely rock solid.

 

If the browser isn’t good, the ressources that are provided aren’t used efficently and may be wasted – like a sharp mind being stuck in as situation without good stimulation to use the intelligence on – wasted potential.

 

And if only the outer layer is great, but the fundamentals aren’t, the whole thing may run very uneffectively and unstable, like someone being drunk in a philosophy lecture about logic and constantly on the edge of vomitting not much potential in this situation.

 

I would like to introduce another concept other than the level of fundamentality that seems very crucial to me, to be able to think (and also learn) properly:

Negative knowledge and Positve knowlegde.

 

 

Negative knowledge

Is knowlegde that is added but then removes something harmful from us, the best example is probably studying human biases and argumentative fallacies. Very crucial and fundamental because it changes your whole ability to analyze and may shift your perspective on many things afterwards.

 

Positive knowledge

Now this is more clear I think, knowledge that is added, and then gives a new approach or insights to something, that maybe even offers a whole new perspective on things.

For exmple looking into how computers operate on their different levels (very much recommended, sharpens one's own mind immensely, and I haven't come across on any other topic in which the density of sheer brilliance is as extreme as there, unbelievable what was achieved in this sector even decades ago).

 

Both of these will be able clear the fog of ignarance, error and naiveté but go in many ways hand in hand. PU is a great example of this process, it first clears us of many false or fuzzy beliefs and concepts and provides new perspectives and knowledge to apply.

 

And to get back to the op, it’s constant process that I think should be alternated – just like a computer that updates the browser as well as it updates the more fundamental levels.

And I think that applies to us as well, although the more fundamental things usually don’t need to be looked into as regularly.

 

 

I think it’s very usefull to look where we stand on these approaches (atleast for now, as we may go through phases) and we can all gain from each other by being aware of these and take what’s missing in us and give what’s strong in us.

 

Great, great wisdom here, I'm stuck with the paradox of choice, and wouldn't even know what to quote :).

I renamed that first infographic "failure of the 3 pillars", and made this one for the positive form:

I also passed the first infographic to a designer, if he does a good job, I might upgrade this one above as well.

Wrote a first-draft article in the meanwhile, linked here, and references you guys:

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Great, great wisdom here, I'm stuck with the paradox of choice, and wouldn't even know what to quote :).

Couldn't receive a more sophisticated compliment. : )

The article is exceptional, but I am biased. (learning from the article's advice on critical thinking)
Maybe Learning University? (another biased request due to my passions)

I have quite a lot of thoughts, which I may spin out into different threads.
Still a work in progress on Google Docs.
My Thoughts On Learning 3 Pillars
It's not concise, so I'm leaving the content on Google Docs for now.
Feel free for anyone to edit and add your thoughts.

I am particularly interested in discussing bias.
My thoughts are on page 3 of the Google Docs under Bias-Variance Tradeoff.
It builds upon the concepts of abstractions & assumptions from the article & Anon's perspective of learning in layers.

Very deep stuff, Matthew, thank you for sharing!

It'll take some more to more deeply process this.

Some notes:

I do segregate the concepts of personal learning from adding knowledge to people in the broader sense.
Because finding what works for me is slightly different from finding what works for a wider scope of people.

Yes, that makes a lot of sense.

I think it makes sense to separate knowledge in:

  1. Knowledge sharing: where the teacher must be able at system-level, and able to apply the general concept to different people / environments
  2. Knowledge acquiring / using for self: where the system level, albeit still critical, can be more individual-limited

I kinda of put the two together.
Even for the learner, it's useful being able to assess teachers, since picking the right or wrong teacher can make the world of difference.

But then again, I am selfish so I tend to enjoy finding what works for myself.

That makes total sense as a learner.

It's a good question actually to ask oneself to assess a teacher: "ok, maybe this teacher has had the results to succeed in the area he specializes in, but does he have what it takes to teach me how to do the same?".

Some people reach high levels of mastery through repeated success in different environments.
Their intuition is unbreakable.
They can advise me what to do in certain situations.
But, when I ask them about general questions and principles, they are unable to answer.
So it seems possible to reach high levels of mastery in a specific domain without understanding the principles behind.

I agree.

The post straddles in between learning and teaching.

You can teach without understanding the principles, too, but the teaching will be more limited to the environment in which you succeeded, and less applicable to different people, since you're teaching what worked for you, and not "how to apply general concepts of success".

BIAS
This concept stems from the study of statistics. In coming out with a theory, mental model, we need to abstract and find patterns in information. By the very nature of abstraction, information and details are lost. How you lose this information influences the bias of the model that you come up with. And also the variance.

That whole paragraph on bias/variance is genius.

Great wisdom.

I totally missed on that train actually bt referring only to "personal bias".

If you will streamline that part, can add it to the post with a note as "Matthew's expert opinion" on this topic.
Or I can link it to your wonderful analysis.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Matthew Whitewood on December 1, 2020, 2:22 pm

I would like to request for "tough love" as well!

Quote from Matthew Whitewood on December 4, 2020, 8:06 am

I am particularly interested in discussing bias.
My thoughts are on page 3 of the Google Docs under Bias-Variance Tradeoff.
It builds upon the concepts of abstractions & assumptions from the article & Anon's perspective of learning in layers.

 

I have a bit of tough love ? aka criticism – obviously feel free to critizice what I wrote (or how I wrote it) as well (not only restricted on this topic of course).

 

You took a lot of time and effort and wrote a coherent and complex text that goes through several important points and has quite some insights, but part of it could be an example for focussing on a less important layer – and respectively gain only relatively minor results (the 80/20 rule comes to mind).

 

What you wrote on Bias-Variance Tradeoff may be true for a part of the fields of sociology, economics, psychology and some more, but I think that this is mostly unimportant and not useful or applicable in your day to day life.

 

No doubt that there are countless possibilities for problems in planning, gathering and interpreting statistics, but I think there are far more important things to go through, to have a fundament and far bigger returns of invested time.

 

 

Further, apparently we have two different concepts in mind when talking about ‘biases’, so there seems to be a missunderstanding.

You wrote for example “Is Bias Bad? Why cutting down bias may not be good?”, and

“Bias stems from assumptions. Assumptions are bad when they do not largely apply to your given set of situations.”

 

You seem to strictly refer to statistical biases, and what I referred to with ‘bias’ were fundamental errors in our thinking, especially inherent ones, for example the halo effect, the appeal to nature, anchoring, status-quo bias, social proof, etc.

 

But also related concepts like fallacies, e.g. the middle ground fallacy, the sunk cost fallacy, circular reasoning, etc.

Errors that we absolutely need to be aware of because otherwise we simply aren’t clear or consistent in our own ability to interpret, judge and conclude rationally.

And without that, what use are the specifics and problems of setting up statistics? (Might be a bit of a strawman here.)

 

 

I want to stress the importance of going to the very fundament at least once, and what I can highly recommend in this context is to go to the bias- and the fallacy-article on wikipedia (if you speak another language it might make sense to read it in that one too), go through them one by one – and save the most important ones for yourself for later re-reading and ordered according to their respective impact/importance.

I think this is so crucial that every critical thinker has to go through such a process eventually to be aware of his own blind fields (what I wrote kind of assumes that you haven’t already gone through such a process, so I might be totally wrong).

 

“String theory is one of them. Why do you need so many dimensions to explain physical phenomena? The maxim of “The simpler the better”, “Keep it simple”.”

Yes -keep it simple- is very important and seems to apply to so many things in life – and that’s kind of the rationale behind this response as well, as it strook me as a bit of an overcomplication. Though I know you want to be reputable, exact and reliable, so I completely get where you are coming from.

 

Awesome feedback Lucio!
Thanks for taking the time to analyse my thoughts even though it is a work in progress.

It's a good question actually to ask oneself to assess a teacher: "ok, maybe this teacher has had the results to succeed in the area he specializes in, but does he have what it takes to teach me how to do the same?".

This is a really concise way to evaluate a mentor or teacher.
And also evaluate my ability to teach someone on a topic.

This does explain why many experts do not become good coaches and are bad at codifying their knowledge in their domain.
Something to think about. What makes a good teacher?
Also one-to-one teaching (personal coaching) vs sharing knowledge with lots of people (Power University) are different.
Maybe it is self-selecting, but Power University is concise and seems to work for people on this forum.

A good teacher seems to have a combination of

  1. Domain knowledge
  2. Empathy
  3. Communication skills
  4. Ability to formulate general principles while concurrently share specific examples to build the learner's intuition
  5. Good learner - a good teacher has to constantly revise his understanding
  6. Observation skills - observe how others learn the domain

If you will streamline that part, can add it to the post with a note as "Matthew's expert opinion" on this topic.
Or I can link it to your wonderful analysis.

Certainly, I will take the time to think about this topic and streamline my writing further.
Still a work in progress.
Thank you for offering to credit as always.
Very generous and always appreciated.

________________________________________________________________________

Anon, I appreciate the feedback.
Thank you for taking the time to analyse my writing and write up a detailed response.
We could dig deeper into these points and explore further.

You took a lot of time and effort and wrote a coherent and complex text that goes through several important points and has quite some insights, but part of it could be an example for focussing on a less important layer – and respectively gain only relatively minor results (the 80/20 rule comes to mind).

This could be due to how we approach analysis and communication.
I would certainly be open to a more productive way of understanding what to focus on.

I was going through Lucio's article while reflecting and typing out my thoughts.
Still a work in progress.
I like to dump my thoughts at length before distilling my writing into a more concise form.
For me, it takes less time to write 6 pages and explore all angles than trying to write 1 page to summarise my thoughts holistically.
So I chose to put it on Google Docs and share it before distilling my writing into the key points.

Personally, quite an important topic for me.
I choose the learner or teacher hat depending on the circumstances.
And understanding bias/variance allows me to appreciate the limitations of the mental model that I put on.

You seem to strictly refer to statistical biases, and what I referred to with ‘bias’ were fundamental errors in our thinking, especially inherent ones, for example the halo effect, the appeal to nature, anchoring, status-quo bias, social proof, etc.

My interpretation of Anon's perspective seems like we are on the same page.
I was drawing a parallel between statistical bias and biases in general.
Because both can result in fundamental errors in the model, which Anon mentioned for biases in thinking.

When I choose a particular mental model to operate under, I am making certain assumptions and introducing bias into my thinking.
For example, when I go to work, I put on my mental model of workplace strategies to operate effectively in the workplace.
And this mental model is formed from data (observations, studies, etc), personal experience, and how I abstract those into strategies & theories.
All these factors to form this mental model cause bias and variance.

I have included to a much lesser extent, for example, my dating, friendship, and relationship experiences into my workplace mental model.
I do this to form a tighter mental model on how to behave and act on workplace power dynamics.
For example, I would not flirt with my bosses or colleagues in a great majority of situations.

I can choose the right course of action with

  1. greater precision (less variance) on my actions, getting the nuances right, and
  2. greater accuracy, which means choosing the appropriate, average behaviour on the cooperative-competitive spectrum.
    In the workplace, choosing rightly to act more competitive more of the time.

But this results in bias, a fundamental error in my thinking if I was going out on a date.
My bias would cause me to be too serious, stifled, competitive.
I should be fun, playful, and more collaborative like in dancing.
In statistics, this is known as systematic error.

I could reduce my bias across all social situations significantly by wearing a more general mental model in the workplace.
So that I can carry this mental model into dating for example.
I only equip myself with the basics (albeit still very effective) like social exchange theory, frame control, submission-aggression, etc.
However, I would miss out on the nuances of the dynamics of the workplace and also in dating.

Worse, I may end up being too collaborative and lose out on promotions at work to my colleagues.
The general social dynamics model ends up being biased in the workplace context.
A systematic error of choosing how to behave on the collaborative-competitive spectrum.
Which is why many courses on general social dynamics do not sufficiently address the dark dynamics of the corporate world.

Humans are fluid, so we unconsciously switch mental models most of the time.
We can even swap out mental models in a split of a second.
Having friendly, fun small talk, followed by a serious business negotiation for example.

The mark of a social master is in

  1. the fluidity of swapping mental models, and
  2. the accuracy and depth of these mental models

On Anon's point, we need to be aware of our potential biases such as the halo effect, the appeal to nature, anchoring, status-quo bias, social proof, etc.
And we should learn the situations in which these biases do not act in our favour, and, as Anon has said, serve as fundamental errors in our thinking.

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on December 2, 2020, 10:34 pm

Great, great wisdom here, I'm stuck with the paradox of choice, and wouldn't even know what to quote :).

Thank you very much for pointing me to this book. I finished listening to it yesterday. I think it's a fundamental book for self-development. As we use the meta-skill of making choices on a daily basis.

Thanks a lot!

Glad you liked it John, and the ramifications on happiness are also important.

Especially for those of us who are "maxifiers", we not only have a tendency to waste too much time on smaller choices, but we are also less happy with them.

Once you're aware of it though, you can change it.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?