learning plan

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Anne B

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Apr 20, 2020, 12:18:53 PM4/20/20
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I posted my current learning plan, an assessment of how I’m doing at my learning plan, and a summary of a week of my learning log. They are here:

https://aelanwave.wordpress.com/learning-plan

Comments welcome.

Elliot Temple

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Apr 20, 2020, 1:01:18 PM4/20/20
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That’s too many goals to focus achieving on at once.

Maybe have 2 categories:

1) general, big picture or long term goals

2) goals you’re currently directly focusing on achieving success at

it’d be better if it was clear how parts of the plan were meant to achieve goals. it’s be better if goals (at least the category 2 goals) had specific criteria for what constitutes success or failure.

then part of the assessment could be about success at goals.

in a sense, the “plan” section is type 2 goals – goals specific enough to do and evaluate whether you achieve – and the assessment is about success at those goals. but not exactly because the “plan” stuff is mostly reads like means to end rather than end goal. relating them more to bigger picture goals would help. also some of the plan things are more vague than others and there are too many. one of the results of too many is spread out efforts so nothing major gets finished for a long time.

Elliot Temple
www.curi.us

Elliot Temple

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Apr 20, 2020, 1:04:24 PM4/20/20
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Another thought. You assessed 14 things. And they’re almost all yes/success. And I’m guessing you’ve done fairly similarly for months consecutively. Lots of success like that ought to lead to some tangible results. So I think the goals (or plan which is actually separated from the stuff labelled goals, but the plan is more like your actual goals b/c it’s what you tried to accomplish and evaluated success at) aren’t oriented enough to tangible results.

Elliot Temple
www.curi.us

Anne B

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Apr 20, 2020, 8:00:08 PM4/20/20
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What do you mean by “tangible results”? Would the following be tangible results?:

- read all of Simply Scheme and do all the exercises

- make 20 idea trees

- use conflict clouds to solve 10 conflicts

- find 30 examples of second-handedness

- write 20,000 words on a particular topic

All of those are things where you know if you’ve done them or not.

But then I don’t know how to tell how much or what I’ve learned by doing things.


Elliot Temple

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Apr 20, 2020, 8:50:03 PM4/20/20
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Those are one type of tangible result, but they aren’t ways your life is noticeably better.

Elliot Temple
www.elliottemple.com

Anne B

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Apr 21, 2020, 7:28:18 PM4/21/20
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My current learning plan is more like a description of what I’ve been doing than a plan. I didn’t come up with the plan and then do it; I did it first and then wrote it down.

Today I’ve been working on a big MindNode tree of goals. The first level of nodes are big, broad goals that I might not achieve for a long time. Then as I get further down the branches the goals are smaller, more concrete, and more immediately achievable. The child nodes are things that help with their parent node or are necessary for their parent node. My idea is to make the whole tree, then pick a few things to focus on right now, some in the background and some in the foreground.

I could label goals (nodes) that I’ve already worked on and mostly done, goals that I’m currently working on, and goals that I might work on in the future. (Label with different colors? Different border shapes? Tags? Not sure yet.) Most of the nodes will have things that I might work on in the future.

The few things that I pick to work on now would be the basis of my learning plan.

Maybe I should include in my tree not just goals, but also things I could do to help with those goals.

Elliot Temple

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Apr 21, 2020, 9:45:24 PM4/21/20
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yeah, good, i think other people should work on that too. it’d help you figure out how to make a plan to achieve a few goals you choose to focus on, and it’d help you pick goals that you think will lead to bigger goals later.


> I could label goals (nodes) that I’ve already worked on and mostly done, goals that I’m currently working on, and goals that I might work on in the future. (Label with different colors? Different border shapes? Tags? Not sure yet.) Most of the nodes will have things that I might work on in the future.
>
> The few things that I pick to work on now would be the basis of my learning plan.
>
> Maybe I should include in my tree not just goals, but also things I could do to help with those goals.

yes, ideas about actions are important

Elliot Temple
www.elliottemple.com

Anne B

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Apr 22, 2020, 12:34:56 PM4/22/20
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Here’s my current tree of goals:

https://my.mindnode.com/LXqFwjMyCskSNm41Cop1cdxqNzK94BBAwawUj8ET

It seems disorganized to me. I can think of it as either a work in progress or a snapshot of my current somewhat confused thinking.

Next I’ll make a new learning plan, from the tree.

>> I could label goals (nodes) that I’ve already worked on and mostly done, goals that I’m currently working on, and goals that I might work on in the future. (Label with different colors? Different border shapes? Tags? Not sure yet.) Most of the nodes will have things that I might work on in the future.

I used tags.

>> The few things that I pick to work on now would be the basis of my learning plan.

My two goals to focus on now are studying Simply Scheme and making conflict clouds. I expect the Simply Scheme work to take many months. The conflict clouds are more of an experiment. I may just spend a short time trying them out or I may do more.

>> Maybe I should include in my tree not just goals, but also things I could do to help with those goals.
>
> yes, ideas about actions are important

This is part of the reason I think my tree is disorganized. It’s not always clear in my mind whether something is a goal or an action.



Elliot Temple

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Apr 22, 2020, 12:48:08 PM4/22/20
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tree is too high level IMO. doesn’t connect to learning plans.

e.g. it has “honesty” and “focus” as leaf nodes. those are major topics in their own right. what do they mean? you have to think them through before you consider this done. just throwing those words out isn’t meaningful. and despite the vague high level nodes, it also has a lot of stuff.

i suggest you try to flesh out one sub-tree and get way more specific so you can see what’s missing from all the other topics and what it takes to say something more substantive. (unless you’re unable.)



Elliot Temple
www.fallibleideas.com

Anne B

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Apr 22, 2020, 8:21:36 PM4/22/20
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Ahh. I see what you mean. I couldn’t make a learning plan out of this tree. I’d need to add lots more details.

> e.g. it has “honesty” and “focus” as leaf nodes. those are major topics in their own right. what do they mean? you have to think them through before you consider this done. just throwing those words out isn’t meaningful. and despite the vague high level nodes, it also has a lot of stuff.

Yeah, I didn’t consider this tree to be complete. It’s more of a general picture of things I’d like to learn, not a map of how to get there.

> i suggest you try to flesh out one sub-tree and get way more specific so you can see what’s missing from all the other topics and what it takes to say something more substantive. (unless you’re unable.)

This seems difficult. I don’t think I could plan out how to achieve a learning goal in much detail. Maybe I’d learn something by trying, or maybe not.

What level of subtree did you have in mind? Like a subtree about how to achieve the goal of learning what’s in Simply Scheme? Or a subtree of learning better reading? Or something else?

By “something more substantive” do you mean breaking a goal into smaller parts? Listing concrete things to be done to achieve the goal? I think I’d want both of those in order to use the information to make a learning plan.


So far I’ve been making little bits of progress on things that seem like they should eventually help with my long-term goals. So my learning plan consists of things that I think I can currently do and that I might enjoy doing and that seem like they should help with my broad long-term goals. There’s no detailed plan in my head that says what small things to do and what order to do them in in order to achieve a bigger goal. I’m not confident I could make such a plan but maybe I’m willing to try?

My other option is to go back to my current learning plan and organize it by listing some things as mostly already learned, some things as things that I’m trying to keep in mind in the background, and maybe two things that I want to focus on doing now. This seems like something I could do.

Anne B

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Apr 23, 2020, 8:57:50 AM4/23/20
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I should have said “another option” instead of “My other option”. There are lots of other options.


I added this note to my tree: "This tree shows that my ideas on goals are incomplete and not well organized. I think it was good to write them down and see that.”

I decided to leave the tree for now.

Instead of working further on a tree, I revised my learning plan. I’ll put that in a separate post.

Anne B

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Apr 23, 2020, 9:04:37 AM4/23/20
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Here’s the new version of my learning plan. I put some comments after it.

======

Broad, Long-Term Goals

Become more habitually careful about thinking, reading, writing.
Get better at learning.
Know more things (any topic).
Use my time more effectively.
Make better use of technology.
Enjoy learning.

Concrete Goals
Learn enough programming to decide if it’s something I’d want to do for a job.
Try to make a few conflict clouds. Try to resolve them.

Plan to achieve concrete goals

Spend at least an hour a day doing something in this plan. It’s okay to miss one day a week.
Continue studying Simply Scheme as I have been. Read the chapters, take notes on them, post my notes. Do the exercises. Post my answers. If I have questions, try to figure out the answers by thinking about them, doing research online or asking for help.
Read up on conflict clouds. Brainstorm ideas for conflict clouds. Make some. Post them. Discuss resolving them.

Things to keep in mind

Aim for a low error rate.
Remember that my learning is my responsibility.
Do postmortems on errors at least sometimes.
Aim for low frustration learning.
Notice my emotions.
Look things up.
Learn new technology when it seems like it might be useful.
Read carefully. Re-read when necessary.

Procedures

Post Simply Scheme work on my website.
Keep a journal. Write down what I do and what I think.
Read most of FI list and FI Discord and blogs by FI people.
Post to FI list or FI Discord or curi blog at least around once a day.
Once a week, read through the past two weeks of my journal.
Once a week, evaluate how well I’m following my plan.
Once a month, review this document. Post an updated version.

=======

The above is in bullet points in my version. I didn’t take the time to figure out how to get the bullet points to copy into an email.

I will actually do a lot more than what is in the above plan. Some of the non-plan activities will lead to important learning. Some of that learning will relate to my broad long-term goals, to other vaguely-conceived goals or to no goal. So what’s the point of having a plan? Why not just do stuff and learn stuff? I guess having a plan guarantees that at least some of my learning will be planned out in advance and evaluated. And it makes it harder to fool myself into thinking I’m making progress when I’m not.

Maybe I should evaluate my non-plan learning too? I think I can do some of that but not put too much effort into it.

Anne B

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Apr 23, 2020, 9:53:12 AM4/23/20
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Before the “learning plan” thread, I had noticed that I’ve been feeling way less frustration/helplessness/unhappiness about learning and about FI than I was a few months ago. I was thinking about writing a post about it. I don’t know why or how the big positive change happened, but it’s been a noticeable and good difference.

But then yesterday I realized that I was having my old kind of bad emotional reaction to the “learning plan” thread, especially when trying to reply to the last message I quoted above.

I recovered from the bad emotions after realizing they were happening. (It was under an hour, maybe under thirty minutes.) But it took me a long time to realize what was happening. I decided to go back and see if I could understand something about what went wrong and how.

I wrote down what my thoughts had been when I was upset:

- I don’t understand what was suggested to me
- I can’t do it
- I’ll never be able to do it
- I should be able to do it
- I’ll never be able to do anything new
- I’ll never make any progress
- I should quit FI

Wow, those thoughts escalated! I really felt the urge (briefly) to quit FI just because I didn’t understand one thing that Elliot suggested I do.

An emotion of extreme frustration is appropriate if “I’ll never make any progress” is true. The error wasn’t in the emotion; the error was in the unreasonably escalating thought progression.

Now it’s obvious to me that not understanding one thing doesn’t mean I won’t ever understand it. Not understanding one thing isn’t necessarily bad. Not understanding one thing don’t mean I won’t understand other things. Not being able to do things doesn’t mean I can’t learn to do those things. Not learning some things doesn’t mean not ever learning anything.

Tentative plan for the future: Remember that I tend to panic when someone suggests something directly to me that I don’t understand. (I don’t panic when I read/hear things I don’t understand that are not specifically about me.) I will try to realize sooner when this is happening and remind myself that it’s fine to not understand something.


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