On Learning 3
Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“On my Quest to master Learning, I set to reading every book about it. Well, not quite every book. I’m focusing on identifying the 20%.
As I’m reading about learning, I’m also practicing Meta-Learning (learning how to learn).”
“Can you give an example?”
“I’m currently reading Jim Kwik’s beautiful book Limitless. In the book, Jim outlines his learning framework, which has the acronym FASTER.
Forget refers to eliminating distractions, upgrading your learning mindset by forgetting about your perceived limitations, and suspending what you think you know about the topic, approaching it with a beginner’s mind.
Act refers to approaching learning actively, as opposed to passively.
A really big idea in the book is that,
All learning is state dependent.
State refers to getting yourself in an optimal state for learning, an energized state of curiosity and excitement.
Teach refers to learning with the intention of teaching it to someone else.
Enter refers to making time for learning by scheduling it in your calendar.
Review refers to learning by testing yourself on your acquired knowledge (active recall) over multiple spread-out sessions (spaced repetition).
The framework itself is not important. Any framework is just one perspective. What’s important are the principles. By extracting the principles, you can integrate them into your own framework.
For instance, scheduling and eliminating distractions, while important life skills, are not learning-specific.”
“What are the principles here?”
“Learning Mindset [Related: Learning as Primary Value, Belief System, Belief Optimization, Limiting Beliefs, Empowering Beliefs]
Optimal State [Playfulness, Curiosity, Fun, Excitement, Joy, Pleasure, Priming Ritual]
Beginner’s Mind [Emptying the Cup, Humility, ‘I don’t know‘]
Active Learning [Deep Engagement, Creative Learning]
Learning by Teaching [Feynman Technique, Brevity, Simple Language, Images, Analogies, Diagrams]
Active Recall / Spaced Repetition [Testing, Forgetting Curve]
Learning Mindset refers to learning as a value, and to your beliefs around learning. The practice here is turning learning into a primary value, identifying your limiting beliefs around learning and replacing them with empowering beliefs.
Optimal State is the practice of consistently activating the state. For instance by creating a pre-learning priming ritual which energizes you and activates the Learning Mindset. As someone put it,
You must be in a state of questing for knowledge.
Activating the Beginner’s Mind could also be part of the ritual, putting yourself in a state of openness and receptivity.
Active Learning refers to your level of engagement in the learning. Engaging in it as a creative act, rather than as an observer sport.
Learning by Teaching refers to explaining it in simple terms, as if to someone who knew nothing about the subject, by employing analogies, images, or diagrams.
Active Recall / Spaced Repetition refer to setting up a system for reviewing what you learned to maximize retention.
I like to think of learning as a system. These are some of the components of it. As I see it, learning is not just about acquiring knowledge, but also about constantly optimizing the learning system itself.”