Learning Trifecta – Day 26

30-Day Writing Challenge

There are many ways one can go about learning a new topic and there’s no shortage of advice on the interwebs. I’ve dug through a lot of this advice, applying it to my own learning journey, and found three methods I use for almost every situation. 

Feel free to take it or leave it, but I thought I could add to this endless ocean of learning advice here on the interwebs. 😉

Do these in order…

Context – When initially learning a new topic always spend 5% of your time upfront learning around the topic… 

  • Example: learn about the history of the topic, understand the topology of this topic (e.g. 1000 foot view), uncover the main players (e.g. companies or influencers), and find out where that industry/group is headed. 

Multiple Sources – Never stick to a single source. In the beginning search for multiple sources that teach this topic and once you’ve found the “best” use it as your primary source. While working through this primary source check the other resources on subtopics within the major topic that confuse you. 

  • Example: If I’m learning about cybersecurity, I’ll thoroughly go through the book that seems to be the “best” from cover to cover, but if there are subtopics within this book that seem confusing, I’ll check Wikipedia, YouTube, or blogs for alternative explanations. No one person will explain an entire topic in a way that clicks with you, so reaching out to supplementary sources is important to truly understand something. 

Interconnections – When diving into a larger topic it can easily get overwhelming if there are hundreds of acronyms, numbers, formulas, etc. The trick to lowering the anxiety that comes from this “overwhelm” feeling is looking for the interconnections between topics, instead of looking at them in silos. Most new terminology you come across doesn’t sit on its own, but exists for a reason and interacts in a wider system… Figure out what that is.

  • Example: Currently, I’ve been slightly overwhelmed by network engineering fundamentals, which is an endless amount of protocols and port numbers… The trick here is to see exactly how all this interacts, where they sit in the bigger picture, and the history of how it all came about. Once understanding the interconnectedness between each concept everything began to click, making the learning much easier. 

Hopefully, this helps you on your next learning journey… Go forth and learn some awesome shit! 🙂