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The e-CRAM method of learning.

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The e-CRAM method is a way to learn things in a relatively simple and effective way. It is based on simple PDCA model which is changed to include motivation and environmental factors. It reduces the emphasis we place on planning and perfection. It gives Motivational aspects a central stage. It also gives an easy way to motivate oneself. It is a result of years of experience in constantly learning new things in IT. It can be applied to learn anything.

It is a way to destroy artificial complexity.

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The e-CRAM method of learning.

  1. 1. A method of learning to tame complexity v1.0 Mainak Biswas
  2. 2. ▪ Also known as the “The Onion Method” (TOM) of learning. ▪ Onion is an analogy for Knowledge. ▪ E-CRAM stands for Environment-Concepts, Relations, Analogy, Motivation. ▪ Set of principles which acts as your guide. ▪ Set of steps using which you can learn better. ▪ Created from experience of appearing for TOGAF certification, learning driving, doing MBA and general education till now. ▪ First released on Medium on 25 June 2019. ▪ Sounds like exam cram. ▪ By Mainak Biswas.
  3. 3. ▪ There are nine principles, ▪ That is till now, in future, there could be more. ▪ Slides next describes the principles.
  4. 4. ▪ The top most entrepreneur or the best footballer will be uncomfortable if suddenly they are asked to steer a ship amidst a turbulent ocean. ▪ New things frightens us, brings down confidence. ▪ Confidence comes from knowing the forest. Forest/Environment = E of E-CRAM ▪ Always keep sight of the forest. Like why are you reading? Do you need to read? ▪ Most of the education you have or will have is to make you tame and make you robotic.
  5. 5. ▪ Will Research ever stop? ▪ You may not understand all things at first. And even on the last day there will be more to learn. Hence we have class/grade 1 – 12 to BSC MSC PHD Post Doc and more research that people will do in future. Learning is infinite. ▪ The only thing definite is the Onion, the more the learnt, the more dense the Onion is. Density is where Onion derives its strength from. ▪ P5, P6 are other aspects which gives strength to the Onion, Association ▪ Keep learning.
  6. 6. ▪ There shall always be flaws. ▪ There is little point in striving for perfection. ▪ Success is not about perfection. Perfection does not gives success. ▪ Dislocation causes materials to be more harder. ▪ Success is appreciation of both the – “knowledge of what does not work” and “the ability to do what works”.
  7. 7. ▪ Signal vs Noise – Explain things in the fewest words possible. ▪ The core layers of the Onion are the concepts, the nouns and verbs or any aspects of what you are learning. ▪ Concepts – is C within the E-CRAM acronym. ▪ Understand them to a level you can, the deeper the better. ▪ Explain them to as many people you can and to yourself.
  8. 8. ▪ Concepts by themselves are of no use. ▪ Relate the concepts to other concepts which you are learning. ▪ Relate them in as many ways as possible. ▪ Relations – is R within the E-CRAM acronym. ▪ Explain these to others as much as possible. ▪ Memorising is making these relations easily retrievable by your head. ▪ These connections make the Onion hard. ▪ These connections make the Onion reusable.
  9. 9. ▪ Any hard thing or unknown thing becomes easy to learn when you are able to find an analogy of it with things already known to you. ▪ Find Analogy to the concepts you learning with things you already know. ▪ Analogy – is A within the E-CRAM acronym. ▪ By that you know where it fits, and how different is it? ▪ That is the reason we said PDCA. Assuming PDCA is known by you. It makes you less afraid of this model.The downside of this is you this it reduces your interest in the model !
  10. 10. ▪ In schools we use them often. ▪ The we next use them when we teach our kids. ▪ Why are they seldom found in adult teaching? ▪ Like – Match the following, Questions & Answers, Fill in the blanks, Diagrams, precis writings.
  11. 11. ▪ Motivational theories did very little to give motivation to the unmotivated. ▪ The desire to leave everything (say) materialistic is still a desire. ▪ People get motivated by fame, money, sex and many other things. ▪ Know your candy, ▪ Follow your candy. ▪ Does what you are doing help you in obtaining your candy? ▪ Motivation – is M within the E-CRAM acronym.
  12. 12. ▪ We don’t need no education – Pink Floyd – has an inner meaning. ▪ Education liberates, ▪ Education also chains you as the intentions of the educator may not be right. ▪ Education taken insensibly makes you robotic. ▪ Any framework , set of rules, the moment they prevent you from experimenting, rips you of your right to first hand experience. ▪ Serendipity should have a place in your learning cycle. ▪ Entrepreneurial success has a lot to do with not following the framework. ▪ Lateral thinking is the white label name for this type of behaviour.
  13. 13. ▪ There are four stages of learning. ▪ Slides next tell us about the stages. ▪ It also tells us how we use the e-CRAM model in practice.
  14. 14. ▪ The stages to be proposed are similar to PDCA - PLAN, DO, CHECK, ACT. ▪ Lessons learnt from Experience is added to it.There is an intention to make it as holistic as possible.There is a want to stay away from making you a Robot. Issues of PDCA ▪ Issue is over “planning” and under “doing” never helped. ▪ Act was to more directed towards enhancing the “Do” in such a way that the Check produced more successful result. ▪ Motivation, Confidence, Environment, Politics, which are also essential is not considered or may only be implicitly present.
  15. 15. The stages are as below and a short description is given. ▪ Stage 1 – Environment, Aim – Learn as much about the context of your subject. Get a 10000 feet overview and never miss that. ▪ Stage 2 – Plan – Plan what you shall do? ▪ Stage 3 – Do – Do it. ▪ Stage 4 – Check – Check if the progress is good. ▪ Stage 5 – Act – Act to make sure the progress increases
  16. 16. ▪ The Act stage does not specify how to act, what to do. ▪ The elements of motivation is not there. ▪ Why do we lose interest in studying a subject that we had started with so much hope? … Somewhere the motivation got lost. ▪ We thus replace act with Motivation – TOM proposes, that “Act in way which increases your motivation” Motivation is the key. ▪ One motivates himself towards a cause till the time one sees the candy. ▪ Also in that case, planning can be see as an subset of the motivation stage.You want to plan so that you can soon get the candy.
  17. 17. ▪ Finally the stages makes you robotic. ▪ What if you want to do the Check first. Sometimes before embarking on certification you appear for a mock test to check where you are. ▪ Planning – the act of planning is essentially following others foot steps. ▪ Planning rips you of the experience of failure or trying something with what you already know. ▪ So even Do can be the first stage. ▪ We thus drop the notion of stage altogether. It is upto the user to follow their path. ▪ And hence the model of TOM is
  18. 18. and Knowledge is an Onion Doing creates the Onion the C,R,A parts of e-CRAM Context Awareness is the Environment you need to be aware of. Motivation is central to everything – Always see the candy.

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