April 3, 2022
🎁A Special Gift...and Learning and Memory Techniques!
At a glance
Welcome to the 250 new friends of the Mental Models, Concepts, and Frameworks newsletter who have joined us since last week!
Highlights of this newsletter:
- 7 Techniques To Learn Faster
- 6 Techniques To Remember More
- The Magical Number 7 ± 2
- Chauffeur Knowledge
- Cognitive Switching Penalty
- 'Dead' and 'Alive' Time
- Special Gift: The Modern Polymath Cheat Sheet
7 Techniques To Learn Faster
Technique 1: Project-Based Learning
Having a project increases our motivation to learn.
Ask, what project can you do to learn the skill or topic of knowledge?
Skill: Do a project. E.g., Learn programming by building a website
Knowledge: Write an essay or blog post. E.g., Sleep tips post
Technique 2: Immersive Learning
Involves surrounding yourself directly in the environment where the skill will be used.
Example: Moving to a country to learn the native language.
An extreme example would be not allowing yourself to speak your first-language while there.
Technique 3: The Overkill Approach
Involves putting yourself in a high-demand environment, so you're unlikely to miss important feedback lessons.
Example: Standing onstage as early as possible to deliver a public speech when learning public speaking.
More feedback = more learning.
Technique 4: Retrieval
The hard thing to do when learning is actively trying to recall without re-reading or viewing.
Few will make the effort, so few get the rewards.
“It pays better to wait and recollect by an effort from within, than to look at the book again" - William James
Technique 5: The Question-Book Method
Rephrase notes as questions to be answered later—this engages the retrieval muscle.
When reading a book, restate the big idea of a chapter or section as a question.
This requires deeper thinking and not just adding a "?" to notes you copied verbatim.
Technique 6: The Feynman Technique
This technique aims to strip away complexity and jargon to help develop a deep understanding of a given topic.
@SahilBloom explains it in great detail here.
Technique 7: Spaced Repetition
Spreading learning sessions over more intervals over longer periods of time.
If you have 10 hours to learn something, it makes more sense to spend 10 days studying one hour each than to spend 10 hours studying in one burst.
Repeat to remember.
6 Techniques To Remember More
First, some general principles that underlie the techniques and aid memory:
- We don't remember all types of information equally (visual and spatial are best)
- Attach new memories to old memories
- Make information vivid and exciting
- Engage as many senses as possible
Technique 1: Memory Palace
1) Prepare an organised location (E.g. your house layout)
2) Create markers in this location in an easy to follow order
3) Make a clear image of the information you would like to remember
4) Place each item you are trying to remember on the marked locations
Technique 2: The Peg Method
The pegs act much the same way as clothes pegs.
They keep information hanging around in your mind.
1) Choose a list of ordered items that you can easily remember (e.g., numbers or months)
2) When learning new information, attach it to each item in the list
Technique 3: The Major System
The system works by converting numbers into consonants, then into words by adding vowels.
Since remembering words is easier than numbers, this system is used to remember numerical sequences, like telephone numbers or year dates.
h/t for image - @stroebjo
Technique 4: Story Method
The mind has a natural ability to remember stories.
Create a vivid story with the key ideas to be remembered.
Each idea is represented by key words in the story (which link to the next key word and so on).
Retell the story a few times to engrave it in memory.
Technique 5: Person-Action-Object (PAO)
2-digit numbers from 00 to 99 are represented by an image of a person performing an action on an object.
The number 34 might be Lebron James (person) dunking (action) into a hoop (object).
Then combine images to remember long strings of numbers.
Technique 6: SEE Principle
Turn images (graphs, drawings, etc.) into exciting things in your mind.
Sense: When you utilise more senses, you will remember more.
Exaggerate: Make your images larger or smaller than life. Make your images illogical.
Energize: Give images action.
The Magical Number 7 ± 2
The average person can only hold 5-9 chunks of information (7 ± 2) in short-term working memory at any one time.
A chunk could refer to digits, words, chess positions, or people's faces.
This will be less if distractions occur.
Lesson: Take notes.
Two types of knowledge: Chaffeur and Real.
Chaffeur knowledge: People who know, but don't understand—they only give the appearance of knowing.
Real knowledge: People who have done their homework and paid their dues. They understand the meat of a subject.
Cognitive Switching Penalty
Every time you switch your attention from one subject to another, you incur this penalty.
Your brain spends time and energy thrashing, loading and reloading contexts.
To avoid unproductive switching, group similar tasks together.
'Dead' and 'Alive' Time
There are two types of time: dead and alive.
Dead time is when you're zoning out and letting life happen to you: going through the motions.
Alive time is when you're in full control, making every second count: learning and growing.
Alive > Dead.
What are you choosing?
Special Gift: The Modern Polymath Cheat Sheet
Many of you will know that I like to scour the internet for awesome resources to read. In particular, resources that help cut through the noise and contain signal.
Today, I have a special curation to share that does just this. It curates top thinkers, podcasts, blogs, and more. If you're a nerd like me, you're bound to enjoy it!
The Modern Polymath Cheat Sheet
That's it! I hope you enjoyed reading :)
If you're enjoying these or think they can be improved, drop me a line! I'd love to hear from you.