Learning can be child’s play if you just know how.
These are quotes from an excellent article Old schooled: You never stop learning like a child.
The adult brain is far more malleable that we thought, and so learning can be child’s play if you know how.
Wulf’s work over the past decade shows that you should focus on the outcome of your actions rather than the intricacies of the movements. She applies this finding in her own life: as a keen golfer, she has found it is better to think about the swing of the club, for instance, rather than the position of her hands. “I’m always trying to find where best to focus my attention,” she says. Similarly, if you are learning to sing, then you should concentrate on the tone of the voice, rather than on the larynx or the placement of the tongue. Study after study shows that simply shifting your mindset in this way accelerates your learning– perhaps by encouraging the subconscious, automatic movements that mark proficiency.
countless studies have shown that testing doubles long-term recall, outperforming all other memory tactics.
If none of that helps you learn like a child, simply adopting the arrogance of youth may do no harm.
Adults can hamper progress with their own perfectionism: whereas children throw themselves into tasks, adults often agonise over the mechanics of the movements, trying to conceptualise exactly what is required. This could be one of our biggest downfalls. “Adults think so much more about what they are doing,” says Gabriele Wulf at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “Children just copy what they see.”
many researchers believe that an adult’s lifestyle may be the biggest obstacle. “A child’s sole occupation is learning to speak and move around,” says Ed Cooke, a cognitive scientist who has won many memory contests. “If an adult had that kind of time to spend on attentive learning, I’d be very disappointed if they didn’t do a good job.”
One study by Yang Zhang at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis that focused on the acquisition of foreign accents in adults suggests we may simply be suffering from poor tuition.