The Science of Self-Learning
February 12, 2021
Pyramid of learning
- Confidence you can learn it. You need to feel that your learning goal is achievable and relevant to your personal goals. There are three aspects of internal motivation: autonomy, proficiency, and goal. Internal motivation is best motivation
- Plan, focus and self-discipline. You need a plan what to learn, how to learn it, and when the learning should happen. Then you’ll need the focus while actually learning and self-discipline to stick to your planned learning sessions.
- Learning process. That’s the actual time spent sitting with a book in hand.
Tactics for interacting with information
- SQ3R method is a method based on: Summary, Questions, Reading, Recite, and Review. It’s not used for trying to understand a book, but rather a particular subject that you want to learn. You start with a summary of the whole subject that gives you a broad overview of what you’re planning to learn. Then you write down the questions that you’d like to be able to answer and then you read particular sources that would give you those answers. You recite the material using your own words and finally you review what you’ve learnt.
- Cornell notes is a system for taking notes where you divide a piece of paper leaving a big margin for annotations and use the main part for taking notes on the subject. Make sure to use your own words rather than directly quote form the material. Once you finished taking notes, annotate on the side keywords that describe what your notes are about, so it’s easier to review them later. Finally, write a summary on the bottom what these notes are about.
- Feynman Technique is a method based on explaining material to yourself. Once you find a part that you can’t explain, dig into source material to understand it and try again. Repeat until successful. Creating analogies will help you remember.
The key techniques for reading faster is based on:
- Stop reading the words out “loud” in your head. Get the meaning, don’t pronounce words, but rather imagein what they mean.
- Exercise your eyes to have a broader field of vision.
- Learn to ignore the words at the edge of the line. You’ll probably get the meaning even if you miss them. If you don’t you can always go back.
- Practise the skills of reading fast.
There are four levels how involved you are when reading a book:
- You are able to read.
- You can quickly skim through and understand what the text is about.
- You can read the text, think about it and understands the concepts described there.
- You can read the text, identify concepts, understand them and cross-reference with other source material that you have on the subject.
Skills and habits
- Plans, schedules and goals are the absolute foundation on what you base a learning process. That’s where you start. Get a plan of the day, create a schedule for you efforts and set SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based) goals fot yourself. They can’t be too easy to reach.
- Think critically and analytically. Focus on learning and understanding, not on getting an answer right.
- You need to be able to gather, filter, group, gather opposing opinions, and summarise the information. On any subject that you want to learn.
- Self-discipline. You need to remember that learning by yourself is sometimes fun, but most often a chore that is difficult, painful, and tiring. You get used to it.
- Growth vs fixed mindset. Fixed mindset is a limiting belief that your skills and talents are fixed by some external factors (you’re smart, or not, good at football or not, etc.). Growth mindset is a belief (that you should adopt) that hard work can get you through most things. There’s no talent without hard work and every failure teaches you something. Success is not important, but growth is.
Written by Wojciech Ogrodowczyk who takes photos, climbs mountains, and runs Brains & Beards to help companies deliver better mobile applications faster.