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Is attention and effort the key to success?

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Fig. 1 Attention and Effort. Available as a pdf.

THIS is what I adore about the Internet and eBooks. I can do what comes naturally to me, follow my natural inclinations, just as I did when studying as an undergraduate. The huge difference was that finding and ordering a book from the stacks of the Bodliean took between 2 hours and 2 days. I get impatient today if downloading 250 page PDF to an ipad takes longer than a minute – if I think I could boil the kettle it is too long.

I no longer read a non-fiction book from cover to cover in the conventional sense – I see no point at all in putting off references ’til the end. In ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ Kahneman gives an author and title – I start to Goolge the phrase or author and it not only finishes off my search descriptor but finds what I want. Should I be able to download as a PDF a book (or is it a paper) published in 1973?

My reading process now looks like the essary writing plan my brilliant Geography teacher gave me back in Lower Sixth.


Fig.2 How an essay should look – the stem is the instroduction and conclusion, the stamen is the essay title and the petals the six or seven points you need to make. After Mr D ‘Dusty’ Rhodes, the R.G.S. 1979.

Learning Design looks like this

Gagn├ęs events of instruction:

1. Gaining attention . The scene opener, even the preview or title sequence.

2. Informing the learner of the objective . Laying out your stall

3. Stimulating recall of prerequisite learning . Tapping into what has already been understood – creating empathy.

4. Presenting the stimulus material . Presenting the case, offering evidence that might impress or inspire, that could be controversial and memorable.

5. Providing learning guidance. Offering a way through the maze, the thread through the labyrinth or the helping hand.

6. Eliciting the performance . Now it’s their turn.

7. Providing feedback . Sandwiched, constructive feedback on which to build.

8. Assessing the performance . How are targets going?

9. Enhancing retention and transfer . Did it stick, could they pass it on and so become the teacher?

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