Knowledge Frameworks – A Challenge

In this post I talked about how difficulty of persuading people that something they’ve never needed could be useful to them.  I spoke early on about, for all the theory and hypothesising, it’s probably my own personal experience that has convinced me the most.

So, I’d like to challenge someone who doesn’t believe that it’s easy to memorise all 195 countries and capitals, or who still isn’t convinced of its utility.  I’d like you to click here, and sign up to the same course I used, and give it a go.

Capital Cities

Any chance you feel like learning all the countries and capital cities… ?

It took me around 4-5 months from start to finish I reckon, starting sometime in June or July, and finishing at the end of October.  I occasionally sat down at the computer for long bursts of maybe 30 minutes’ practice, but the vast majority was done for a few minutes at a time using the phone app while I was waiting for the printer, or on the tube and so forth.  I also occasionally had to use the computer to force it to let me practice with countries I knew I still needed to work on.

So there’s my suggestion anyway.  It would be so interesting to hear whether someone who went through a similar process might change their view as a result… or not.  It would probably take a year before they could confirm it either way, but still, it only needs as few as one or two people to sign up to it and report back, so I’m hoping that out of everyone out there who reads this, maybe one or two are up for it!

If so, please let me know.

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About Kris Boulton

Teach First 2011 maths teacher, focussed on curriculum design.
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4 Responses to Knowledge Frameworks – A Challenge

  1. Katharine says:

    What you describe is easy? That’s the definition of HARD! Constant revision, perseverance and all that time and energy… That’s bloody hard! I mean, great stuff – really good that you did it. But I don’t see how you can call it easy.

    • Kris Boulton says:

      Nah, just made good use of otherwise dead time. The app takes care of the rest. On the tube? Open it up, test yourself. Waiting by the printer? Do the same. It’s like learning French with Michel Thomas: effortless. The course guarantees you learn, provided you just invest time. It takes time, I’ll give it that, but not an insurmountable amount.

      By contrast, what I’d consider hard work is something that necessitates much longer bursts of effort than ‘a few minutes here and there.’ Anything that requires real *thought*. Anything for which it’s not automatically straight-forward to ‘understand’ or ‘make sense of.’ Anything where you have to sit in a pit of uncertainty, not sure if you’ll ever get out of it, but persevering nonetheless.

      Memorising a few capital cities? Child’s play by comparison.

  2. Otito says:

    Started this a while after you posted. Done in three weeks. Very slow going and rather dull on Memrise I thought. Using this http://world-geography-games.com/ instead I learnt the US states and their locations and the nations of Africa in single sittings. I hadn’t realised it was possible to learn this much random stuff this quickly. Now learning Spanish, Polish, and German, on Memrise, I feel that for a language the level of repetition there will be helpful.

    Watching http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06163d6/odyssey-1-episodes-1-and-2 last night having missed the beginning I was interested to hear that they were on the road to Bamako and know immediately that this is the capital of Mali.

    Very glad I’ve done this and intend to learn more about each nation now, as location and capital seems like a very superficial level of knowledge.

    I still don’t think that this is something that everyone should do. Finding it harder to justify this position now though.

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