Learning Ability

I am an avid fan of learning how to learn. I am often looking for faster ways to learn and to increase knowledge retention.

I learn mainly through the combination of book learning and online tutorials to create a foundation of knowledge, I then apply that knowledge to real life projects to internalize and to develop a deeper understanding of the material. I learn through repetition to increase retention, as well as to create and enforce good habits and practices.

I use mind maps extensively when learning large and complex material.

I can cover reading material quickly, using the SQ3R method. By first surveying material – often using speed reading techniques, I then develop deeper understanding through raising questions about the material, and then reading the material thoroughly over several passes to answer those questions. Then finally, I revisit material from time to time to achieve high levels of retention.

In order to develop a deep understanding of a subject, I often acquire several books around a subject and cross examine material that covers the same topic using different approaches and perspectives. This form of syntopic reading allows me to grasp difficult to understand or sometimes very abstract topics, while creating a foundation of knowledge to support further learning and retention.

After applying what I have learned, I often take the time to reflect on my work and look for ways to do it better, faster, and more efficiently. My main aim is to always produce meaningful and effective work as quickly as possible.

Books I own and have read on this subject include:

  • Pragmatic Thinking and Learning: Refactor Your Wetware (Pragmatic Programmers) – Andy Hunt
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Steven Covey
  • Your Memory: How it works and how to improve it – Kenneth L. Higbee
  • How to Read a book – Mortimer Adler
  • Breakthrough Rapid Reading – David Kump
  • The Mind Map Book: Unlock Your Creativity, Boost Your Memory, Change Your Life – Tony Buzan
  • Lateral Thinking – Ed DeBono

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