Do you think you are a fast learner? A new study reveals that this is not behind your success!
From the early days of school, we've generally accepted that some people learn faster than others — but according to a new study, it turns out we actually learn at very similar rates with the same opportunities.
The researchers studied 1.3 million "student interactions" across a variety of learning software tools used by 6,946 learners ranging from elementary students to college students. The data collected covered a variety of topics and multiple formats, including online courses and educational games.
The new analysis revealed that the learners' starting point, and their opportunities to practice what they learned, had the greatest impact on their academic performance, rather than any learning rate.
“The data has shown that achievement gaps come from differences in learning opportunities and that better access to such opportunities can help close these gaps,” says Ken Koedger, a cognitive psychologist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania. “This is further confirmation that these educational technologies can Provide favorable educational conditions that facilitate the learning of something new, such as a second language, or a scientific or mathematical concept.
The researchers wanted answers to three questions: How much practice is needed to learn something? How does initial performance differ among students? How different are the students' learning rate?
On average, students needed seven opportunities to learn something, although this differed between individuals. The new study shows that this difference is due to where the students started rather than their ability to learn faster.
The researchers say the ability to actively engage in learning experiences was also important. The educational tools included in the study encouraged interaction and were able to provide immediate feedback to students, which also helped.
“We've all seen cases where someone gets a learning outcome sooner than their classmate — one student gets an A in algebra, another gets a C,” Koedger says. But what we don't usually keep track of is where they started. Our results are consistent with the fact that people end up in different places, but calculating where students start can tell us a lot about where they end up."
The team hypothesizes that our brains can take different 'mental paths' to learn something, which means our learning rates aren't much different - we can all get to the same point in a way that suits our experience and knowledge.
This is supported by the study: Where there were differences in the rate of learning, these differences were more pronounced in languages that require a lot of rote memorization. Previous studies also monitored different types of mental activity when learning the same information, suggesting a personal approach.
All of this is helpful in discovering the best ways to impart knowledge and prepare educational courses. There are many factors at play when it comes to learning, including how we adapt to our mistakes, but the researchers behind the latest study want to stress that we are all capable of learning.
The research has been published in PNAS. Source: ScienceAlert
A disturbing study about the largest "accumulative wooden deadlock" in the Earth!
Unlike truck and SUV jams, a logging raft in the Mackenzie River Delta in Nunavut, Canada, stores carbon.
Covering an area of about 51 square kilometers (nearly 20 square miles), it is the largest accretionary fallow known on Earth, made up of fallen trees from the surrounding forests that floated to the surface of the water downstream and accumulated in the delta over the centuries.
According to a new study by researchers from the US and the UK, these woods collectively contain about 3.4 million tonnes (3.1 million metric tons) of carbon, which is a large but poorly understood carbon pool.
"To put that in perspective, we'd say that's about 2.5 million tons of car emissions for a year. That's a lot of carbon," says Alicia Cendrowski, a research engineer who led the study while at Colorado State University in the US.
And despite decades of data on how driftwood moves around the Arctic, we still don't really know how much timber is an underlying cause of the region's crises — or how much carbon it contains.
"There's been a lot of work on carbon fluxes from water and sediment, but we simply didn't pay attention to wood until very recently," says Virginia Ruiz Villanueva, a geomorphologist at the University of Lausanne, who was not involved in the study. It is important to study this wood not only in relation to the carbon cycle, but in general to understand how natural river systems work, and how rivers mobilize and distribute wood."
Timber lasts a long time in the Arctic, where low temperatures and low humidity can help preserve trees for centuries or even thousands of years after they fall.
The Mackenzie River abounds with trunks of all ages, especially in the delta, the third largest river in the world by area. For the new study, researchers examined about 13,000 square kilometers of the delta, the most ambitious mapping effort ever.
This included three weeks in the field, during which the researchers measured driftwood, mapped the blocks, and took samples to determine the age of individual records with radiocarbon dating.
They also used satellite imagery to estimate the total area, which is an aggregation of about 400,000 smaller woody deposits. This helped them calculate the volume of wood within the borehole, and thus how much carbon it is likely to store. The largest single stock in the impasse spans the equivalent of about 20 American football fields, the researchers reported, and alone stores 7,385 tonnes (6,700 metric tons) of carbon.
And while their research indicates that the overall catchment stores 3.4 million tons of carbon, they point out that this is limited to the woods they can monitor from the surface. Tree stumps are also buried in the delta's soil, hidden underwater, or obscured by vegetation, so the researchers acknowledge that their estimate is likely insufficient. And they say the whole pickle could contain even twice as much carbon.
That's a lot, though it's still dwarfed by the Mackenzie River Delta itself, whose already carbon-rich soils make it a carbon storage hotspot. According to previous research, the delta may store approximately 34 billion metric tons of carbon in total.
Under natural conditions, the Arctic can sustain logs - and sequester carbon - for a long time. About 40% of the records the researchers took in began growing in 1955 or later, but many were older, some dating back to 690 AD.
The researchers note that the Arctic has at least a dozen river deltas of more than 500 square kilometres, which could constitute a network of carbon storage bottlenecks that would be prudent to study and protect.
The study was published in Geophysical Research Letters. Source: ScienceAlert
"Trojan horse" a genetically modified virus that promises to treat terminally ill cancer patients
British scientists reported that the genetically modified herpes simplex virus can eliminate or shrink tumors in terminally ill patients.
Scientists have hailed a "Trojan horse" treatment using a modified herpes virus to kill cancer cells as a "wonder of genetic engineering", with an early trial already prolonging the lives of those infected.
A new oncolytic virotherapy being tested at three hospitals in the UK injects RP2, a modified version of the herpes simplex virus (HSV), directly into patients' tumors to kill the cancer.
The modified virus attacks cancer in two ways, first by invading cancer cells and causing them to explode, and then by stimulating toxic T cells in the immune system to kill cells infected with the virus.
The initial RP2 trial has shown amazing results, with three out of nine critically ill patients finding their fatal tumors shrinking.
Currently, only 16 people worldwide with advanced cancers have been treated in phase 1 trials of RP2, but a new study aims to test it in 30 patients, 24 of whom had solid tumours.
Professor Hans-Ulrich Lasch, an interventional radiologist at Christie's Cancer Center in Manchester, who has injected the viral therapy into a number of experimental patients, said: "Larger and longer studies will be needed, but the injection could provide a lifeline to more people with advanced cancers. ".
This new procedure is called oncolytic virus therapy (OVT) and it is a new type of cancer immunotherapy that helps the immune system fight cancer.
Oncolytic virus therapy uses natural or genetically modified viruses to specifically infect and kill cancer cells without harming healthy cells.
This experiment to treat the oncolytic virus uses a new drug called RP2, designed to grow in and destroy cancer cells, made by US-based biotech company Replimune Inc.
Scientists believe that oncolytic virotherapy could change the way many cancers are treated in the future.
Dr Sarah Valbion, Consultant Oncologist at Christie's NHS Trust, says: "We know how dangerous viruses can be, but thanks to new technology and cancer scientists, viruses can also be used for good. And with this new treatment, which is currently only available in clinical trials." "The herpes virus, which causes cold sores, is genetically modified to get inside a tumor and fight cancer like a Trojan horse. This new virus works in two ways. While it harms cancer cells, it also makes them more attractive to our immune defenses, so that they can be targeted by the immune system and killed."
She added, "Scientists have weakened the virus to reduce the risks to patients, as an important part of the experiment is to constantly monitor their safety. Along with the virus, patients will also receive immunotherapy to boost the body's immune system and help the body destroy cancer cells."
She noted: “This treatment could provide a lifeline to patients who have not responded to conventional medications, with the hope of not only seeing a response but possibly remission for those with incurable cancers. It is truly a marvel of genetic engineering that has shown promising early results, adding to our increasingly diverse arsenal.” rapidly advancing technology. Source: Express