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Should You Learn Things You Don't Plan on Using?

There are 2 broad approaches to self-education 📖

  • Learn-as-needed approach. You have a problem that needs solving, so you go and learn the things that will solve your problem. 
  • Learn-everything-you-can approach. Pick things which seem interesting and learn as much as you can. Don’t worry about whether you will find somewhere to use it later.

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Should You Learn Things You Don't Plan on Using?

Should You Learn Things You Don't Plan on Using?

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2018/12/26/learn-useless-things-2/

scotthyoung.com

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Key Ideas

There are 2 broad approaches to self-education 📖

  • Learn-as-needed approach. You have a problem that needs solving, so you go and learn the things that will solve your problem. 
  • Learn-everything-you-can approach. Pick things which seem interesting and learn as much as you can. Don’t worry about whether you will find somewhere to use it later.

Skills and knowledge transfer far less than we would expect them to. So “broad-based” education is mostly a myth. What we learn is usually specific and often stuck to the contexts where it w...

Skills and knowledge transfer far less than we would expect them to. So “broad-based” education is mostly a myth. What we learn is usually specific and often stuck to the contexts where it was learned.

Many times it’s not obvious that knowledge can solve a problem until after you’ve acquired it. Unlike physical tools, mental ones are effectively invisible until after you’ve already learned them

Many times it’s not obvious that knowledge can solve a problem until after you’ve acquired it. Unlike physical tools, mental ones are effectively invisible until after you’ve already learned them

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

2 kinds of prior knowledge

... you need two kinds of prior knowledge:

  • Knowledge about the subject at hand (math, history, or programming).
  • Knowledge about how learning actually works.
Force yourself to recall

When learning is difficult, you're doing your best learning, in the same way that lifting a weight at the limit of your capacity makes you stronger. 

When you keep trying to remember a piece of information, you interrupt the forgetting process and help cement the memory of that information into your brain. 

Interleaving

It's a strategy of mixing up the type of problems you solve when you're testing yourself.

That way, the testing conditions are more similar to real life, where you first have to figure out what kind of problem you have on your hands and then solve it. 

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Speed and transfer

Consider at what speed you should try to do things in order to improve performance.
We can often learn something quickly, but without attaining a master level (like getting good at esti...

Failing to Reach an Ideal

There are two problems you can encounter when you're trying to learn something.

  1. You have a clear understanding of what you'd like to do and how you're going to do it, but you're unable to implement the approach you've chosen. Slow things down so you can pay more attention to every aspect of the problem.
  2. Speed learning is effective when you're not sure what the ideal should be and need more information to work it out. A good example of speed leading to move closer to quality is in entrepreneurial fields. Many fail because they picked the wrong problem to solve and wasted too much time trying to solve it.
Going faster vs doing it right

The balance between going faster and doing it right depends on what you're trying to achieve.

  • Faster feedback means more information to find out your key challenges and possible solutions.
  • Slower helps you focus on a strategy you've chosen, allowing you to execute it correctly.
Knowledge exists on a barometer
Continuously shifting depending on who you are talking to. Treating knowledge as concrete(a noun)  suggests there is a specific point at which what you know becomes an absolute trut...

Knowing more about a subject doesn’t necessarily mean that you are right. We need to be able to measure the quality of information we possess.

Knowing more about a subject doesn’t necessarily mean that you are right. We need to be able to measure the quality of information we possess.
Attentional Capital (AC)
AC=a measurement used to calculate how we arrive at a place of knowledge.
  • A high AC: you have obtained your information through focused and objective research and would be open to changing your position if presented with sufficient evidence.
  • A low AC: you reactively believe whatever comes across your news feed and hold onto your beliefs in a dogmatic and tribal manner.

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