Friday Finds — Learning Outloud, Science of Happiness, 85% Rule for Learning

“When one looks at the scientific evidence about how the brain learns and at the design of our education system, one is forced to conclude that the system actively retards education.”

Daisy Christodoulou

Happy Friday! This is Mike, your diligent curator, and this is another carefully curated set of the best things to read, watch and listen to from the intersection of learning, design, and technology. Today, I’m taking a few moments to remind myself that no matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly. So ‘just breathe’! Thanks for reading and have a great day! 

What I’m Listening to:  Today is a Vance Joy and friends kind of day. Kind of an indie, folk, pop vibe that is suiting me very well so far. What do you think?


Last week’s most clicked item:
Video & Image Tips From Top Creators

The 85% Rule for Learning

Learning, it seems, is optimized for both humans and machines when we succeed around 85% of the time. From a recent paper by Wilson, Shenhav, Straccia and Cohen:

In many situations we find that there is a sweet spot in which training is neither too easy nor too hard, and where learning progresses most quickly. […] For all of these stochastic gradient-descent based learning algorithms, we find that the optimal error rate for training is around 15.87% or, conversely, that the optimal training accuracy is about 85%.

If you’re always successful, it’s hard to know what to improve. If you constantly fail, you won’t learn what works. Only when we have a mixture of success and failure can we draw a contrast between good and bad strategies.


Behavioral Scientist’s Summer Book List 2022

This is a collection of the most compelling behavioral science books of this year. There are 26 titles for you to wander and explore. You’ll find books that illuminate new research and those that investigate complex social issues. Others offer a chance to look into the past or imagine a distant future. There are practical titles that might help you “get it done” in your personal life or engineer a breakthrough at work.


Learning Outloud

How do you learn? What kind of teaching is most effective for your learning? Answering the first question matters more than the second, because you can  – and should – be in charge of your learning. Dr. Karen Caldwell has been a learner and teacher her entire life, but she didn’t have answers to these two questions for most of her life.

Watch Video


The Science of Happiness

Check out this free online course exploring the roots of a happy, meaningful life. Taught by the GGSC’s Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas, The Science of Happiness zeroes in on a fundamental finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social ties and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the greater good.


How to loop a sequence of PowerPoint animations

This is a simple technique to loop sequences of animations in PowerPoint from Jamie Garroch of BrightCarbon. Click the image above to watch the video and see it in action. Yes, that is built entirely in PowerPoint!

  • Facilitator School has loads of great tools & templates – Do yourself a favor and make time to browse this collection. You’ll be glad you did!
  • PDF Candy is a big set of online tools for working with PDFs
  • Typemat — Convert any public google drive folder to a blog or doc site
  • Signature Hound is a free option for creating great looking email signatures
  • BigPoll is a free quick poll maker platform with real-time results and modern UI.


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As always, if you’re enjoying this letter, I’d love it if you shared it with a friend or two. If you’re enjoying this newsletter, I’d love it if you shared it with a friend. You can send them here to sign up.

And should you come across anything interesting this week, send it my way! I always love finding new things to read or watch.

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Looking for a previous edition? Check out the archives 

Published by Mike Taylor

Born with a life-long passion for learning, I have the great fortune to work at the intersection of learning, design, technology & collaboration.

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