Make Learning Meaningful: What is Foundational Knowledge?

Figure 1: Learner-centered revision of L. Dee Fink’s taxonomy of significant learning that includes two new categories of significant learning (Faith and Belief plus Body Awareness and Physical Health) that are quite important in human life.

Our mission at The Learning Code is to encourage, support, and inspire you to create value in your college education. We know that you can succeed in your classes, earn your degree, and build a foundation for a career that you love. The Learning Code community is here to help you in that journey. However, we can only show you the door. You’re the one that needs to walk through it. To really build the type of college education that you value, you need to take ownership over your own learning. As we’ve stated previously, learning is all about change. To create significant learning experiences in college, you need to change the way you think about yourself, your goals, and your own learning. This includes developing a nuanced understanding of what it means to learn and figuring out the type of learning you want to do. In this post, we explore foundational knowledge which is one of eight different types of learning that you can create in college. This post is part of our Make Learning Meaningful series. The next seven posts in this series explore seven other types of learning you can engage in as you navigate your college degree. By expanding your understanding of what it means to learn, you can more easily seek out the types of learning you believe are right for your life and your future.

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Get Paid to Learn: Six Practices to Earn Scholarships

Our mission at The Learning Code is to empower you to thrive in college and beyond. We want to support you in becoming a strategic deep learner. But we know that one of the most difficult and frustrating aspects of college is the expensive price tag attached to the college experience. This Get Paid to Learn series is designed to help you earn money to pay for college. We want to help you graduate with minimal or no student debt. We want to guide you to find ways to get paid to learn and to prepare for the next stages of your life. This blog post highlights six practices you can use to earn scholarships, internships, fellowships, paid work-study programs, and other opportunities aligned with your academic and career interests.

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Get Paid to Learn: Advocate for Change

In the Get Paid to Learn series, I share ideas about how you can get paid to learn. In each post in this series, I explore strategies you can use to earn scholarships, internships, and get financial aid as you navigate your college experience. My hope is to help you minimize your college debt, alleviate your financial stress associated with paying for college, and stay focused on your learning. In my ten years as a student in higher education, I earned more than $300,000 of scholarships, internships, research fellowships, and financial support. During my last eight years as a full-time college professor, I have helped many students earn tens of thousands of dollars in scholarship money. Throughout this mentorship process, I’ve develop strategies you can use to get paid to learn. I plan to share these resources and ideas with you so that you can earn scholarship money. In this first post of our series, we explore one idea that underpins all this work on helping you earn scholarship money. That ideas is simple: in the richest nation in the world, you should not have to earn scholarships to pay for your education. Tuition should be free and we should subsidize your living costs while you work to finish your college degree. The Get Paid to Learn Series is designed as a stop-gap measure to help current generations of students while we work to advocate for larger system transformation for the future.

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Progress Through the Five Stages of Deep Learning

In this article, we expand our previous discussion of the five stages of deep learning. Specifically, we explore techniques you can use to accelerate your progress through each stage of your learning. Moving from stage 0 into stage 1 requires different type of practice routines than moving from stage 1 into stage 2, and so on. With each bit of progress, the learning skills you employ need to adapt to your growing level of expertise. Here, we explore what you can do to propel your transition from your current stage of learning into the next stages of your development.

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The five stages of deep learning

In this post, we develop a model for five stages of deep learning. Remember that we defined learning as a process that leads to change. The 5-phase model we explore in this article helps identify distinct stages in this process of deep learning. This model will help you figure out how to push your learning deeper and develop your expertise in any skill or knowledge that you want to master.

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A model for deep learning

Our mission at The Learning Code is to help you thrive in your college classes and to support you in completing your college degree. We hope to ignite your passion, stimulate your curiosity, and strengthen your belief in yourself. One of our major goals is to encourage you to become a strategic deep learner so that you can learn anything you want and master any skill. We believe that the more effective you are in exercising your expertise as a deep learner, the more freedom you enjoy. Under the right circumstances, we know that you can leverage your proficiency as a deep learner to earn straight A’s in your college classes, make money via scholarships, develop a value-based vision for your future, grow meaningful relationships that bring happiness into your life, build a career that you love, and change your communities to reflect your most cherished desires for a brighter world. In fact, we believe that the most valuable skill you can develop while earning your college degree is that of strategic deep learning. The best way to do this is to find a master coach in your target area who can guide you to become a strategic deep learner. However, the U.S. college education system makes it nearly impossible for most college students to engage in and sustain deep learning over long periods of time. As we’ve discussed before, the current policies that govern our college systems all but guarantee that most college students will have close-to-zero meaningful, long-term relationships with master coaches who are invested in their success. Our work at The Learning Code is designed to fill this gap and help you develop yourself as a strategic deep learner. In this post, we explore a model for deep learning that you can use to improve your learning skills in any of your college classes.

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Why is deep learning so hard?

It is not easy to figure out how to learn deeply. In the early stages of developing your identity as a deep learner, one of the smoothest ways to engage in deep learning is to seek out skilled coaches who understand the principles behind deep learning. If the mentors you find are good coaches and have many years of practice in the art of teaching, they will likely have collected effective techniques to guide you in deep learning and effective repetition. Assuming these teachers are willing and able to act as your mentor, you can leverage their guidance simply by following their directions. In this scenario, all you have to do is give your best effort on pre-designed activities that specifically engage you in deep learning. Sadly, this “simple” solution of finding master coaches who are also content experts is out of reach for most novice learners. This is especially true in the context of the US higher education system. In this post, we explore some substantial barriers to seeking out expert coaching while earning your college degree.

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What is deep learning?

Our mission at The Learning Code is to help you make your learning meaningful, achievable, and purposeful. We focus our energy on supporting students who want to earn a college degree in the United States. We do so by using three powerful tactics. First, we share with you research-based principles of learning. These principles are founded on cutting-edge cognitive science results to explain how learning works. Second, we feature student stories and battle-tested learning practices that show how to implement these learning principles in your college classes. The learning practices we share with you are designed to inspire you engage in deep learning and also to help you strategically navigate a college education system that is severely flawed. Third, and perhaps most importantly, we work to support you in developing effective help-seeking behaviors so that you can create your own learning teams to facilitate your success in each of your college classes. In this post, we define what it means to engage in deep learning. This post sets a foundation for a later work we will do to explore barriers to deep learning in the US higher education system. All of this will help us develop targeted strategies that you can use to thrive in your college classes. In other words, we are focused on empowering you to become a strategic deep learner and to successfully complete your college degree in spite of institutional barriers that get in the way of your learning.

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Antiracist Learning: Start with Small Steps

Part of our mission at the learning code is to empower you to advocate for system transformation in honor of the next generation of learners. The process of transforming the college education system starts by identifying and acknowledging problematic policies in your classes, institutions, and governments. From that perspective, I can think of nothing more pernicious for learning in college than the historical and living legacies of racist ideas and racist policies in the United States. When we engage in the struggle to re-design our higher education systems by centering antiracist policies, we work to make learning achievable and meaningful for every student who wants to earn a college degree. Learning how to be antiracist and how to advocate for antiracist policies does not happen automatically. To grow these skills, we must engage in deliberate effort. In this post, we explore a few antiracist learning practices.

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What is deep reading?

Reading is one of the most magical activities designed by the human mind. The written word provides a time travel machine in which ideas that exist in an author’s brain can jump across space and time to invigorate the brain of the reader. Reading also allows us to accelerate our learning by leveraging the expertise of the author. A good author might spend hundreds or even thousands of hours over multiple years researching, synthesizing, drafting, editing, publishing, and revising her work. That literature might be built on a whole collection of other writings that represent tens of thousands of hours from other authors. As readers, we reap the benefits of this labor without having to pay the upfront cost. When we read, we leverage work that was created on a time scale measured in years for a cost that can be measured in hours. With this in mind, one of the most powerful practices you can use to develop your learning skills is the habit of reading. This habit is particularly important in learning how to build a career that you love. In this blog post, we explore four different types of reading. This work sets a foundation for others posts on the subjects of learning, personal growth, and professional development.

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