Learning Is a Learned Behavior. Here’s How to Get Better at It

Summary.
Many people mistakenly believe that people are born learners, or they’re not. However, a growing body of research shows that learning is a learned behavior. Through the deliberate use of dedicated strategies, we can all develop expertise faster and more effectively. There are three practical strategies for this, starting with organization. Effective learning often boils down to a type of project management. In order to develop an area of expertise, we first have to set achievable goals about what we want to learn and then develop strategies to reach those goals. Another practical method is thinking about thinking. Also known as metacognition, this is akin to asking yourself questions like “Do I really get this idea? Could I explain it to a friend?” Finally, reflection is a third practical way to improve your ability to learn. In short, we can all learn to become a better study.

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Hmm. Yeah. This seems like a useful way to think of it.

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This article gels with my personal experiences. A lot of learning comes down to interest, focusing on what you don’t understand, patience, and persistence.

For me, focusing on knowledge gaps has always been the most profitable. Whenever I study a topic, I keep a list of things that I want to learn more about or I don’t quite understand (I got this from the Feynman technique). After I’m done studying, I try to go through each of those bullet points and I do the same thing as before as many times as is needed. You’d be surprised how much you can learn about a topic when you get down to the nitty-gritty of things.

I also find it useful to have a personal wiki that has all of your notes on a certain topic as well so that you have a better understanding of what you’re lacking and what you’ve already learned.

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Can you say a bit more about how you have this structured and what you include or exclude from the system? I’m curious about the new abundance of PKM enthusiasm, but it seems like an overwhelming prospect: 1. Choose the correct app/system, 2. Enter and cross-link everything I know about everything! Any recommendations for starting small would be appreciated.

I use a program called Obsidian to keep all of my information together, though you could use proper wiki software like MediaWiki to achieve the same ends.

Anyways, I take the notes from whatever I’ve read and I create an article about it. Occasionally, I take information from those notes and add to a “mega document” about certain topics. It’s not any more complicated than that.

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