How to Learn Anything. Teach it to Learn It. Consciously.

By | 2013-09-15


Here’s a thought. When you’re trying to learn something, do it with the intent of wanting to teach it to someone else.

In order for them to understand, it is often helpful to use examples they can relate to. So you’ll need to know a little about them and their background.

Without realizing that there was a formal name for the process, I’ve practiced The Feynman Technique every time I’ve had to learn with intent of presenting on a new topic. Thank you Shane at Farnum Street for that tidbit of information.

Read, watch, listen. Ponder the implications and applications. Think ‘What if?’ Determine potential real world and even amusingly impossible scenarios. Develop memorable, imaginative stories from anecdotes your audience may relate to.

Are the kids today doing this in school when they prepare and deliver PowerPoint presentations, or are they just copying/pasting/inserting/memorizing – to complete the assignment? I suspect it’s a checkbox mentality, but I’m not there.

Schools need to tell parents if they are intentionally educating children in this ‘learn by teaching’ manner. They can help their kids master the process by doing it themselves. If you think about it, this can be done very effectively with bite sized pieces of information.

Learn something new. Seek to truly understand it. While you are looking into it, put yourself in the mindset that you’ll be telling someone else about it later and you want them to completely understand it. Think you know your stuff? Tell someone about it. Explain it to them in the simplest terms possible. Use examples they will understand. Tell a story if you can.

If you didn’t catch on, the first person you’re teaching about what you learn is yourself. It’s so obviously simple when you put it that way. Why doesn’t everyone learn that way?

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