demystifying the learning process

saw this not-too-new 2017 article on mindshift introducing some ideas teachers can help students to see the (true) nature of learning, and help them develop useful habits of learning. these ideas were proposed by Barbara Oakley. ignore the title of the article cos to me, EVERYONE struggles, from time to time, and whether one would like to admit it or not.

some lines, including words from Oakley, in the article that caught my attention:

“…the common experience of students who reread their notes and think they know the material — only to enter a test and find that they cannot retrieve the information. ”

“students tend to equate speed with smarts, Oakley suggests sharing this metaphor: ‘There’s a race car brain and a hiker brain. They both get to the finish line, but not at the same time. The race car brain gets there really fast, but everything goes by in a blur. The hiker brain takes time. It hears birds singing, sees the rabbit trails, feels the leaves. It’s a very different experience and, in some ways, much richer and deeper. You don’t need to be a super swift learner. In fact, sometimes you can learn more deeply by going slowly.'”

“Learning is all about developing strong chains.” (cf. chunks)

“familiar metaphors allow a learner to draw on a concept they have already mastered and apply it to a new situation. Or as Oakley says, metaphors ‘rapidly on-board’ new ideas.”

“…’Pomodoro Technique.’ Developed by Francesco Cirillo, this strategy uses a timer to help the learner work and break at set intervals. First, choose a task to accomplish. Then, set a timer for 25 minutes and work until the timer goes off. At that point, take a five-minute break: stand up, walk around, take a drink of water, etc. After three or four 25-minute intervals, take a longer break (15 – 30 minutes) to recharge. “

“…I would tell students, you don’t just have to be stuck following your passion. You can broaden your passions enormously.”

one idea chunk came to my mind as i read the article: micro-learning. what myth(s) are pple propagating with this term and it’s associated ‘benefits’ for learning i wonder. is learning fast? how often is learning fast?

affordance 能供性

“affordance” 一词在最近的聊话中经常会涉及。但其实也不是最近的事,应该是12470在2014年开始时就已经常要接触到了。but i just realised i have not blogged an entry on this so very important term. so here we go:

affordance 华文我选择使用“能供性”作为翻译。affordance在我们涉及科技的谈话中,它其实是指 technological affordance. 但无论affordance也好,能供性也好,这两个词都还是太抽象了。如何解释得较容易理解和被接受,我尝试将能供性进行扩展,即:



增强版乐学善用互动平台 (aka iMTL)中的协作便利贴为学习提哪些可能呢?

  • 每个学生都能有机会发言了 (every student has a voice;从语言学习的角度,能够作语言输出是关键的)
  • 学生都针对同学的发言进行交流讨论 (meaning negotiation & meaning making in collaborative learning;从学习的角度,意义的理解的建构或许不是他人可以灌输的)
  • 你还想到其他的能供性吗? (:

i shall end this quick post here. 如果你在作报告或写论文需要整理文献出处,feel free to cite this post:

Tan, Y. H. (2018, May 17). Affordance 能供性 [Blog post]. Retrieved from


陈育焕. (2018, May 17). Affordance 能供性 [博文]. 取自

若要对affordance有进一步的了解,欢迎参考拙文中的说明 (:

lastly, 要谢谢 Thomas忠伟 for engaging in knowledge co-creation together at Keming Primary this afternoon, and inspiring this post (:

technological advances – intuitive AI

saw this TEDxPortland video shot last year only recently. while revisiting it that i noticed the opening words of the presenter:

“How many of you are creatives, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs, artists, or maybe you just have a really big imagination? Show of hands? … That’s most of you. I have some news for us creatives.”

what’s the significance of this short opening exchange?

i was quite surprised by some responses of people after they have watched the video, for example, “i feel scared”, “what if the machines are going to replace us”, “i admire those who are retiring soon”. but there again, these are quite normal too. however, i did not quite figure out the paradigm behind people with such responses. until, i revisited the video, and heard the opening exchange a second time.

my current hypothesis: people who produces such (downward spiral) responses are not knowledge creators. such words represent the mindset of industrial age production workers – routine, mass-production, clock-in-clock-out, predictability just to name a few. there’s no right or wrong judgment here. but in our business of preparing children for the knowledge age (or augmented age in the video), and where teachers’ beliefs influenced their actions, we need to think like and become a knowledge creator ourselves. what can we do to facilitate this shift in a major bulk of our teachers who learnt and grew up and laboured in the industrial age paradigm for a large part of their lives? how do we help teachers to shift into the creatives, designers, artists mode of thinking?

almost forget, here’s the video:


learning theories for teachers

thanks to si hui for pinging me on variation theory, and i chanced upon this piece of gem created by professors at HKU:

what teachers should know about learning theories website

it’s many hours of reading and hard work to produce this piece of excellent quick reference for teachers. extending this idea, we could perhaps create something similar for SLA/CL teachers, bringing together learning sciences and SLA works and making it accessible to our CL teachers (:


"当你思考科技与教学的关系时,无论是想选择某项科技、介入某个平台,只要你从学生学习的角度出发,怎么学如何学,或作’学习本位’(cf.教本位), 就不会差太远了。" (Tan, 2017)

to cite, if anyone is ever going to do that (:
Tan, Y. H. (2017). 当你思考科技与教学的关系时. Edublog.NET – A Singaporean Teacher’s Storeroom. Retrieved from