Reflections on Education

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Thinking outside the box: "The SWOT analysis"

Task - planning strategies.

Click on: Learning English for a job

SWOT analysis is an analytical method used to identify and categorize significant internal (Strengths and Weaknesses) and external (Opportunities and Threats) factors in a particular field. You can do this analysis, as you want to start learning a new study, as you need to choose the best method to learn a subject. It helps you develop your career in a way that takes best advantage of your talents, abilities and opportunities.

If you hesitate to start learning a new study (the process is the same to choose the best method to learn whatever subject):


•                What are your skills?
•                What do you do well?
•                What relevant resources do you have access to?

Be realistic. If you are having any difficulty with this, try writing down a list of what you are willing to do to be successful in this task and your characteristics.
In looking at your strengths, think about them in relation to your expectations.


•                What could you improve?
•                What habits do you need to change?
•                What should you avoid?

Again, be realist. Ask yourself and other people for your weakness. Others may perceive weakness that you don’t see, for example procrastination.


•                What are the advantages of learning this new study?
•                What is your motivation for learning whatever you chose? Just to advance
your career or to help others for example?

Opportunities can come from new focus, putting aside benefits –they can’t be the main motivators, and thinking about the human side of your learning.


•                What obstacles do you face?
•                What are your course deadlines?
•                Is this study very expensive?

Carrying out this analysis will often be illuminating - both in terms of pointing out what needs to be done, and in putting problems into perspective.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Einstellung Effect II - Task

Task - planning strategies.

Tackling the Einstellung Effect - Thinking outside the box

Google Microsoft Chrome Art oneblog ©Federico Fieni 2008

Thinking outside the box means approaching issues in new, creative ways; in ways you've never thought before.

Thinking outside the box gives you the opportunity to learn how to think on your feet while learning how to tackle challenging problems.

There are some awesome techniques such as the "mind maps", "SWOT analysis", "decisional balance", "Edward de Bono's six thinking hats", etc.

The Focus and the Diffuse modes are used by these techniques. First, they  focus on the situation -analyzing it, and then you become more creative -getting a wild idea. Let's see how to think outside the box.

Mind maps


Mind mapping is a powerful graphical technique for visualizing connections between several ideas or some information. It's a visual thinking tool where each idea or fact is written down and then linked by lines or curves to its following or previous idea or fact, thus creating a web of relationship. Its goal is to focus attention, and to capture and frame knowledge to facilitate learning and sharing of ideas and concepts. 


Mind maps keep you in whole brain thinking and let you see the big picture -how all the different thoughts are connected to one another. 

Mind maps help you to:
  • clarify new subjects, 
  • consolidate information from different research sources, 
  • simplify complex ideas, 
  • recall information and 
  • allow being creative.
Here's an example:

by Inspiration®
Planning and thinking. Start your learning with a mind map! 

For further information and inspiration, check out these mind map galleries and other resources, which illustrate the many ways you can use mind maps in your life:

Posts about "SWOT analysis" and "Edward de Bono's six thinking hats" are coming soon.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Bring your Presentations to Life with Storytelling

How to improve your presentations with storytelling.

The benefits of a bilingual brain

It’s obvious that knowing more than one language can make certain things easier — like traveling or watching movies without subtitles. But are there other advantages to having a bilingual (or multilingual) brain? Mia Nacamulli details the three types of bilingual brains and shows how knowing more than one language keeps your brain healthy, complex and actively engaged.

The Einstellung Effect I - Situation

Situation – identify relevant issues or problems.

If Einstellung is a German word that means an attitude to, the Einstellung Effect  is defined as the predisposition to solve an issue applying a strategy you already have in mind that has previously worked, but may not let you find out more appropriate methods of solving the current problem. This might happen because you believe you already know the best solution, even though you have not evaluated new tactics. Then, you get stuck in a particular approach.

Let's see an example: You have a 3 gallon and a 5-gallon jug that you can fill from a fountain of water. But the problem is how to get 4 gallons using the 3 gallons and the 5-gallon jug.

The trick is to realize that:

5-3 =2
5 - (3-2) = 4

That is:
Action                                 Amount After Action
                                             3 gallon jug               5 gallon jug

Fill 5 gallon jug                         0                               5

Fill up 3 gallon jug with
water from 5 gallon jug             3                              2

Pour out 3 gallon jug                 0                              2

Transfer water from 5 gallon
jug to 3 gallon jug                        2                              0

Fill up 5 gallon jug                       2                              5

Transfer water from 5 gallon
jug to 3 gallon jug                           3                           4

That's not the only way to do that. What's yours?

Happy learning!

Result – achieve your project, successfully.

Test yourself. Flash cards are effective tools to improve your learning. They help you to memorize facts quickly.

Once you've given your cards a good try, put them away. Wait and take them out again before you go to sleep. Remember that sleep consolidates memory. And bear in mind that material that you do not review is easier to forget.  

Achieving your results successfully requires spaced repetition, that is, spreading out your learning a little every day.

3 Practical Tips

Action - taking new actions. Step out of your comfort zone.

Don't be afraid of change. Cyclone Series

Your comfort zone is a state within you feel safe and in control. It includes any type of habit -everyday activities, that keeps you at gradually low anxiety level.

The learning zone is the area of innovation, exploration, and adventure. This zone is not a comfortable place, but it is a stimulating one. At your studies, it could be handing a project in a new way.

The panic zone is the area of discomfort and discouragement. You may be in your panic zone when you study something for an exam in the last minute. Like the comfort zone, you can't make progress in the panic zone.

We'll see 3 practical tips that are going to help you keeping in the learning zone, comfortably with no panic.

  • The Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro technique -twenty-five-minute timer- can be particularly useful in breaking up your response to cues. Focus intently for those twenty-five minutes and after the timer goes off, give yourself a small, fun reward. The Pomodoro technique avoids the potential distraction.
Don't miss the following absolutely amazing video on this technique.

  • Eat your frogs first in the morning. Do the hardest and most disliked tasks first, as soon as you wake up. Start with a task you dislike or one which you feel will be difficult. At the end of the day, you will be happy with how much you have achieved. This is an incredibly productive strategy. The reasons for it are a) you have more energy in the early morning, b) if you start with the task you enjoy, then you'll do the ones you dislike in a negative mood.
  • Clip art courtesy Microsoft Corporation
  • The importance of sleep in learning.  Sleep helps to renewal our brain and get rid of toxic products in it. It's like a housecleaning. Research suggests that sleep helps learning and memory. Too little sleep seems to be the reason for not thinking very clearly the next day and not focusing attention and learn efficiently. Sleep has three functions: acquisition - the introduction of new information into the brain, consolidation -the process by which the memory gets stable and recall -the ability to access information after it has been stored.
 Brain during sleep animation © 2014 Kevin Mendez