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Abhinav Pandey
Abhinav Pandey

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11 principles to boost your learning practices

This one is for each one of you(including me) who is trying hard to grow and learn. Below are a few guiding principles to help you define an effortless learning process. It works even better if you go through the preceding articles in this series or at least this science-y stuff

  1. Long term vs Short term memory
    • long term - created by repeated learning - like faces of your friends, flag of your country, driving skills, etc.
    • put fundamental concepts and principles in long term memory by practicing them at regular intervals
    • short term - things you memorize for a short term purpose - like a small list of tasks you have to do today .
    • goal - move important concepts from short term memory to long term using spaced repetition - repeat a concept after a few days or once a day
    • to memorize something you just learned, associate it with a long term memory.
    • Here's the science
  2. Active vs passive learning
    • watching other people demonstrate things or reading a book - passive (easy and inefficient)
    • taking notes, practicing, problem solving, tests - active (difficult but stronger)
    • Some passive resources to explore further
  3. Motivation
    • Extrinsic - money, fame, new job - getting recognized for your efforts
    • Intrinsic - autonomy(control), mastery, purpose - having an internal drive to do something
    • Long term learning motivation is always intrinsic.
  4. Goals
    • Kaizen - continuous, small, incremental improvement
    • small steps compound over a long term
    • Set SMART goals
      • S - Specific
        • Get Healthy < Lose weight < Lose 10 Pounds
      • M - Measurable
        • Reliable way of measuring progress
      • A - Actionable
        • Clarity of actions required to achieve it
        • If actions are not clear, break down the main goal into actionable sub-goals
      • R - Relevant
        • Should add value when achieved
        • Prioritize Low Effort and High Value goals
        • Use 80/20 Pareto principle
      • T - Time-bound
        • Lose 10 pounds in 10 weeks
        • Define milestones and assign a date to it
    • Goal setting is an ongoing process of action, evaluation and revision.
    • A small video to summarize this.
  5. Pays not to be busy all the time
    • Be surrounded by people you like to relax your brain.
    • Healthy/leisurely time is key to better functioning of the brain.
    • Learn with ease and do not rush through it
    • Read more
  6. Chunking
    • learn in chunks - fundamental pieces of knowledge
    • combine chunks to fill the missing pieces and complete your learning
    • bottom up approach of learning
  7. Solving problems
    • Sequential problems - focus mode
    • Intuition or creative solutions - diffuse mode
  8. Deliberate practice
    • you can have temporary frustration when you think you are not growing in a area
    • Deliberate practice needs:
      1. Specific goals - define the edge of your limits - where do you want to get to
      2. Intense focus - work towards it in focused sessions
      3. Immediate feedback - once you reach your goal get feedback from mentors or peers about where you are and what could be better
      4. Feel frequent discomfort - when you are not where you need to be
    • Start with a discomfort zone and try to bridge the gap. Once you reach a comfort zone, get feedbacks for improvement and define the next step.
    • The better you get at something, the more enjoyable it becomes.
    • Feedback and discomfort will keep you motivated to get even better.
    • Turns your potential into your reality
    • Some help from Japan
  9. Spaced repetition and habits
    • learn in small sessions
    • repeat periodically to make your concepts stronger
    • forming habits allows you to learn effortlessly
    • saves you a lot of mental energy required to
      • decide what to do when
      • focus on how to do it. E.g. How much focus do you need to brush your teeth?
    • Form habits which help you learn so that you do not have to answer the same questions everyday
      • Where to sit while I learn?
      • What time should I start?
      • How much time should I give it?
      • Where should I take notes?
  10. Be Adventurous
    • Try new and exciting things regularly to keep your mind active
    • Do not get into a monotonous mode. It kills your creativity
  11. Have an endpoint to your work and occasionally get bored
    • When you're doing something with focus, have an idea of when you are going to stop and take a break.
    • Also applies to when to stop working each day.
    • Learn to get bored instead of looking at your phone - gives your brain a pause - gives you self reflection time

Happy Learning!!

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