The Art & Science of Learning

(INTEG 120)

Course Description

There are three sets of related learning objectives in this course. First, you will be introduced to state-of-the-art scientific research on learning and cognitive adaptability, and you will begin using this research to become more intentional learners and knowledge integrators. Second, you will learn about how the mind processes information, and will begin developing new habits to facilitate clear and critical thinking in complex, messy, and stressful circumstances. Finally, you will learn how to see the social networks you are embedded in, and how they shape what you think, know, and do. You will use this knowledge to identify opportunities for learning and for knowledge integration. We will end by putting all of these pieces together into explicit frameworks and strategies for learning and the integration and synthesis of different types of knowledge. To accomplish these learning objectives, (1) we will engage with work by cognitive scientists, social scientists, and network scientists, and (2) you will complete a series of assignments designed to develop knowledge integration skills through “deliberate practice.” This course is just the beginning, but by the end of it, you will have at your disposal several skills for thinking and behaving in integrative ways.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this class, you should be able to:

  • describe a wide-range of strategies for effective learning, memory formation, and skill acquisition, and clearly explain the scientific evidence behind those strategies
  • differentiate between “fixed” and “growth” mindsets and their effects on learning
  • identify instances of “fixed” and “growth” mindsets in your own learning
  • rigorously assess your own learning strategies and adopt new practices to help yourself improve
  • differentiate between System 1 and System 2 thinking, and explain how these two modes of thinking shape the way we engage with and learn from the information around us
  • explain how social networks shape how and what we learn, think, and do
  • describe a variety of strategies for intentionally incorporating learning into teamwork