Improving Learning

Learning is the hardest step in the knowledge loop. How many of us say something like “I wish I could play the guitar,” but either never do anything about it or give up after a short period? Learning is hard, and we should try to make it easier, more fun and more social. There has been plenty of recent progress here: for example, Duolingo has made language learning more accessible by breaking it down into small units that are customized to each learner.

I am personally excited about helping to create two particular projects. One is an integrated platform for learning math, programming, engineering and science. These areas of knowledge are closely related, yet the way we teach them is often oddly disconnected. The other project is a compendium of the principles of knowledge. We have so much knowledge that it seems impossible to know more than a tiny fraction of it all, but this is partly an illusion because much of it is a variation or an application of a much smaller set of underlying principles. Collecting and explaining these will make knowledge more accessible and help to unify areas that seem unrelated.

While the COVID-19 crisis has come at a terrible cost, it has also accelerated innovation in learning. Many parents are discovering that home schooling their children, whether individually or in small groups, may be a viable option. There are many ways to encourage learning that is based on fostering our innate curiosity, from simply learning something new oneself to inventing and building new systems.

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