Grasp Book Summary By Sanjay Sarma, Luke Yoquinto

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Grasp, published in 2020, dives into the evolution of our education system and how it does (or does not) match up with our understanding of the brain.

Authors take a closer look at different techniques being tested and implemented to better-understand education today and how those techniques can be applied to the mainstream.

The book offers actionable insights on how teachers, students, administrators, and policymakers can work together to bridge the gap between research insights and implementation in practice.

Grasp Book

Book Name: Grasp (The Science Transforming How We Learn)

Author(s): Sanjay Sarma, Luke Yoquinto

Rating: 4.1/5

Reading Time: 19 Minutes

Categories: Education

Author Bio

Sanjay Sarma is a world-renowned educator, thought leader and the head of Open Learning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He has dedicated himself to the study of learning science, both in his role as a lecturer and professor of mechanical engineering.

In addition to this, he is also the co-author of The Inversion Factor: How to Thrive in the IoT Economy.

With a thorough understanding of education and technology, Sanjay Sarma provides readers with insight on how to build and grow their business in this era of digital transforamation.

How Traditional Schooling Is Failing Us And Techniques To Improve Learning And Education


Grasping the latest science on learning, coupled with how we can use it to do better in our schools is exactly what is discussed in Grasp Book.

From understanding the shortcomings of traditional education models such as standardized testing, to developing techniques that help you improve your own ability for learning and remembering; this book has everything you need to know about these topics.

In addition, learn about how new schools are harnessing curiosity and innovating in ways that will help to revolutionize how we educate our students and make it more meaningful.

With a grasp on the new science behind learning and enabling our education system to transform, Grasp Book gives you the insight you need.

The Power Of Cognitive Science: How We Can Unlearn And Re-Invent Education For The 21St Century

There is no doubt that education plays a key role in our lives, but it might surprise you to know that the way in which our schools are designed often is not based on what current cognitive science has uncovered about how our brains learn best.

Unfortunately, this has serious consequences for us as we have to pay a heavy price for this lack of knowledge when it comes to delivering education.

For instance, when students cram for a test or are asked to show proof of their intelligence through grades and standardized tests, they are not necessarily learning in the most effective way nor do their scores necessarily reflect an accurate representation of their intelligence.

This “winnowing” process employed by the educational system unfairly dismisses potential intellectuals who don’t fit into neat boxes and may consequently be ignored or dismissed despite possessing real potential.

This process disappoints us all not just because brilliant minds are passed up, but also because humanity as a whole misses out on potentially world-altering contributions due to these flawed criteria when identifying talent.

If we can fix this problem and create an educational system that truly meets the needs of the students rather than narrow-mindedly seek out “the best”, perhaps future generations would be able to tackle global problems like climate change more effectively and make revolutionary progress quicker than ever before.

We Need To Re-Learn How To Learn: Embrace Exploration, Context And Hands-On Challenges For Successful Education

It is often assumed that learning must be difficult and unpleasant, but this is not actually the case.

Learning does not have to cause pain or frustration; in fact, it works best when it doesn’t.

The key to successful learning is engaging with material and understanding the context, rather than simply memorizing information.

The proof of this lies in our own childhoods, when we explored and experimented without fear or worry about being judged by others.

If we approach education with a lighthearted spirit—one of exploration and curiosity—we are more likely to engage with material and foster an authentic interest in our studies.

We can also learn from successful educational environments, such as MIT’s Course 2.007 engineering class.

Here, students are challenged beyond mere theory while having fun though hands-on challenges and playful competitions—like building robots for a final exam!

Such experiences show that learning can also be enjoyable while still teaching meaningful concepts.

By enabling creative play and exploration within your own learning environment, you too can achieve successful education without feeling overwhelmed or unhappy.

The Benefits Of Spacing Learning And Embracing Forgetting To Improve Retention

Spacing Learning

When it comes to learning and retaining information, spacing is essential – yet our educational system largely overlooks this fact.

Many institutions rely on tests to evaluate students, often leaving students with the need to cram just before the exam.

The truth is that cramming is a poor way to learn long-term; research supports the point that spaced learning strengthens synapses more intensely than cramming.

To properly implement spaced learning in schools would be beneficial for all involved; pre-testing can compel students to call up information multiple times, and alternating different subjects in study schedules (‘interleaving’) has been found to help improve retention as well.

Furthermore, forgetting a little can also be useful for remember things over a longer term — thinking about something else for a while and then trying to recall it can lead to much better retention of facts than immediately repeating a name or bit of info when first heard.

Spacing learning has the potential to make education more effective and beneficial for everyone involved, so it’s unfortunate that our current educational system does not take into account these cognitive science insights more often.

Curiosity Can Supercharge Learning, But Instruction Is Needed To Harness Its Power

The power of curiosity has been widely acknowledged in the educational field as a tool to improve learning.

It all goes back to something we probably already experienced as children—when our brain realized it didn’t know something, it started to bubble with questions like what is it? What made it? And why is it here? When we investigate and explore with this natural curiosity, it can give us the motivation and drive necessary for long-term learning.

In terms of education, this has been seen by practitioners such as John Dewey and Maria Montessori who created environments that promoted student’s own interests.

Through these methods, research shows graduating students have shown greater success than those from standard schools in some cases.

On top of that many psychologists pushed the idea that knowledge wasn’t simply fed to students, but rather something they actively create themselves.

All this goes to show the true potential of using curiosity as a mechanism for enhanced learning.

While there are some drawbacks such as scalability and resources needed, when used correctly this age-old process of desiring to know more can be truly impactful in the modern classroom.

The Key To Effective Learning At Scale Is Combining Structured Instruction And Discovery Learning

When it comes to truly grasping and understanding a concept, structure and formal instruction can be essential.

For example, when one goes to the beach, they may observe many of the scientific properties at work while there.

Those properties, such as sand clumping together when wet, are novel discoveries but having a teacher explain why sand acts that way in a structured lesson setting helps fully understand the processes taking place for knowledge retention at large.

Several educational systems have been advocating for more flexible teaching styles that embrace structured learning with insights from cognitive science.

The ideological approach is seen in “42”, a private coding school.

Here contracts are accomplished upon projects completion without receiving any grades along the way.

A similar process is used at MIT through technology-enabled active learning (TEAL).

TEAL combines lectures, simulations, experiments and group work all in one experience–opening up curiosity gaps while forming ambitious students by removing the stereotype threat.

It is evident that an academic balance between discovery learning and structured instruction should be found in order to effectively learn at scale.

By leveraging curiosity, deploying technology and expanding on traditional techniques simultaneously , individuals can better comprehend knowledge around them with ease.

It’s Time To Use Technology To Transform Our Education System Into Something Better

Education System

We are living in a world filled with change, which is why it’s vital that we take this opportunity to reflect on how effective our current educational structures are and whether or not they’re actually doing us any good.

MIT’s Course 2.007 shows that it is both possible and necessary to combine the concepts of “mind and hand” when educating students, as opposed to just providing facts for rote memorization.

It would indeed be great if we could just replicate MIT’s classes in every school, but unfortunately this isn’t the case yet.

However, advances in technology have opened up new possibilities when it comes to improving education – though this option is far from a quick fix.

While e-learning can provide access to remote or underprivileged areas and involve fewer teachers, it needs to be used accurately or risk further disadvantaging those who lack resources and exposure.

Additionally, there is also the danger of unchecked monitoring and surveillance so care must be taken when deciding how best to use technology.

At the end of the day, real progress means taking action; developing new methods which will foster learning by enabling students with both knowledge and skill-sets would be an invaluable contribution in our journey for equitable education for all.

Ultimately, what we need is an overhaul of existing systems which addresses the inequities present in our educational structures today – an effort which can prove challenging yet incredibly rewarding if done correctly.

Wrap Up

The Grasp Book Summary has been an eye-opening study of how our abilities to learn can be improved by understanding modern science.

The key message from this book is that we can use technology and the powers of our own minds to master even the most challenging ideas.

The actionable advice that one can take away from this book is simple: the next time you’re trying to remember something, try allowing yourself to forget it for a bit first.

This technique is useful for encoding information more strongly in your memory and has been backed up by experiments from schools which have harnessed the power of curiosity and natural love of learning.

To sum up, this book helps us understand how our education systems need to be modified in order to make best use of these techniques and ensure they are used optimally by everyone.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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