“Focused” and “Diffused” Modes

When learning, there are times in which you are focused and times in which you allow your mind to wander. Both modes are valuable to allow your brain to learn something.

Take regular breaks, meditate, think about other things, and give yourself plenty of time in both modes.

@chelseag

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Self Improvement

Chunking
This is the idea of breaking what you want to learn into concepts. 

The goal is to learn each concept in a way that they each become like a well-known puzzle piece. 

In order to master a concept, you not only need to know it but also to know how it fits into the bigger picture.

Beware of Illusions of Competence
There are many ways in which we can make ourselves feel like we have “learned” a concept.

Instead of highlighting or underlining, rather take brief notes that summarize keys concepts.

Recall
Take a couple minutes to summarize or recall material you are trying to learn.

It goes a long way to taking something from short-term memory to long-term learning.

In order to avoid or break through illusions of competence, you should test yourself as you’re encountering new material

Recall is a simple example of this mini-testing.

Over-Learning

Do not spend too much time in one sitting going over the same material over and over again. The law of diminishing returns certainly applies. Spread it out over many sessions and over many different modes of learning.

Once you have a basic understanding of what you are trying to learn, practice jumping back and forth between problems that require different techniques. This will solidify your understanding of the concepts by learning how to choose to apply them in various situations. 

Know when to apply a particular concept is as important as knowing how.

When facing procrastination, think of the process over the product.

Instead of thinking that you have to get X done, rather think to spend an hour on X. It is then not overwhelming, and doesn't require a long breakdown of tasks.

Metaphors and Analogies

They are often talked about as helpful study techniques. 

Try to make a deliberate effort to teach what you learn to someone else and, in doing so, you will likely be forced to explain concepts with relatable metaphors and analogies.

... have proven to be most beneficial to maintain continued progress and hold each other accountable. Finding the right group is key.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES

Focused and Diffuse Mode

Focused and diffuse modes provide two models for how we develop, elaborate, deepen and broaden connections. Both methods are important.

  • The focused mode of learning is about bringing related concepts together into a unit, called a chunk. 
  • The diffuse mode operates through a wider net of connecting general ideas across different fields. We use this diffuse mode while we sleep, exercise or daydream.

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IDEAS

Other Tips To Better Your Learning
  1. Use what you learn more and study it less, do it early and often to progress faster than just studying. 
  2. Practice deliberately and focus on specific elements of the skill until you improve. Identify the fundamental components of the skill you’re learning that you struggle with the most and focus on them.
  3. Get feedback fast to better evaluate yourself and fix mistakes. 
  4. Spread out your training to avoid burnout and increase performance.
  5. Make a learning plan, or even a schedule, and stick to it.
  6. Join a group to get benefits like extra motivation, access to a collective knowledge-base and a place to vent your frustrations. Find groups online o
The Feynman Technique

... is the perfect strategy for learning something new, deepening your understanding of a concept, enhancing your recall of certain ideas, or reviewing for tests.

The process takes 15 minutes to master. All you need is a blank notebook and a pen or pencil.

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