Mindful Learning

I borrowed a great book from my host in Golden Bay. Ellen Langer’s The Power of Mindful Learning. She intelligently challenges some of the assumptions made about how we learn – assumptions I’d summarise as being about rote learning and “paying attention”.

She looks at how offering rewards classifying activities as “work” and promising tests can all conspire to reduce – rather than enhance – the efficiency of learning. There are multiple examples of the value of encouraging multiple perspectives as a way of improving engagement. Right up Evelyn‘s street I’d think.

One of many entertaining anecdotes was about a university professor who departed from the standard practice of recruiting research subjects with fees. He got his assistant to walk the streets of New York with a billboard announcing that today people could participate in Professor so-and-so’s research for free. And got lots of volunteers. This is a trivial but amusing example of why marketers might be interested in this book.

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