Collecting the best books mentioned on hacker news, reddit and other places
This article is untethered from the mammoth amounts of research that's been done specifically on how people learn. The answer to this question doesn't lie in anecdotes about various professors' "philosophy", in fact that kind of approach is a huge barrier to actually improving the learning that occurs on college campuses. This is an opinion article, so I understand it's not thorough reporting, but the author should familiarize herself with the literature.
A book like https://www.amazon.com/Make-Stick-Science-Successful-Learnin... is accessible and provides a good survey of what we know about how the brain learns and remembers things, and how it relates to existing practices.
Any books or other resources you recommend to learn these things? On learning to learn I have enjoyed A Mind for Numbers by Barbra Oakley with Coursera course, Make it Stick by Peter C. Brown, and How We Learn by Benedict Carey.
There's a great book called 'Making It Stick' which details effective, proven methods to improve memorisation and learning. Spaced repition (or more generally active recall) is one of those major methods.
I just read the audiobook version of this: https://www.amazon.com/Make-Stick-Science-Successful-Learnin...
It's pretty good.
The main idea is that learning is supposed to feel hard. That sense of frustration and confusion is what building new neural connections feels like.
Don't be depressed. This is normal. All memories are subject to gradual decay. The best way to prevent this decay is by reviewing and testing yourself on the material you want to remember. Unless one reviews or uses specific knowledge regularly, corresponding memories will fade on courses taken, books read, bugs fixed, technologies or languages learned, code that's been understood (read) or written, etc.
If you only spent a few weeks working on that new project, then you probably didn't spend near the amount of time Bill Gates spent writing, thinking about, and reviewing his Altair BASIC code. Even though he whipped up his code in less than a month or two prior to the first MITS demo, he likely spent weeks or months after that demo modifying and polishing the BASIC interpreter for subsequent releases. You didn't mention your experience level, but Gates' years of prior programming experience likely benefited him as well, providing him with a nice cognitive framework to which lots of these facts could "stick."
One additional thing: when Gates says he still knows the source code for Altair BASIC by heart, it probably doesn't mean "completely, line-by-line" by heart. I'm guessing it means he still remembers some snippets by heart, or that he believes he could re-write it from scratch from memory (which would still be exceedingly impressive).
Some useful resources on memory and learning:
Memory and Learning: Myths and Facts (http://www.supermemo.com/articles/myths.htm)
Want to Remember Everything You'll Ever Learn? Surrender to This Algorithm (http://archive.wired.com/medtech/health/magazine/16-05/ff_wo...)
Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning (http://www.amazon.com/Make-It-Stick-Successful-Learning/dp/0...)