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Programming-like activities?

It does if you interpret James's comment to mean interactions with romantic intent.

Dating a single person for a long time is akin to managing a team of developers (sure, you don't get quick feedback) and chatting to someone you don't know in a book store is like quickly compiling something in a new language.

Rationality Quotes December 2013

I disagree. Unless we are talking about sofware engineering then it seems to me that what you select is based on previous projects but the choices themselves are based on tested scientific models with predictive power.

On learning difficult things

There seems to be a definite relation between active recall, the testing effect, spaced repetition, generation, learning in different environments, changing the parameters of learning. They seem to all work with long term memory by either filling short term memory up with different material or waiting until short term memory forgets the material in question. At least, that's my reading of the research.

I found out about these learning effects while researching the interaction between spaced repetition and deliberate practice. I'm starting to think that certain parts of deliberate practice are wrong. Namely conflating measured improvement in a task directly after training with actual learning (ie how much skill you retain after a couple of days).

I would love to know what long term application of these techniques look like. Are you cumulatively improving faster than if you took a more traditional approach(massing many practice problems in one time frame)?

On learning difficult things

It actually sounds like you're getting a third effect out of your setup. Namely interleaving.

http://learninglab.uchicago.edu/Publications_files/5-CogsciIddeas2005.pdf

You could probably improve it slightly further by trying to generate your own theories before reading chapters and learning the material in different locations.

The Majority Is Always Wrong

Learning and memorization.

Spaced repetition, the testing effect and the use of mnemonics has not replaced linear non tested study (where you read something over multiple times in a short period of time, don't test yourself and don't space the readings.)