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11 principles to boost your learning practices

Abhinav Pandey
All things Java!!
Updated on ・4 min read

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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Discussion (1)

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Frank Rager

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