Immersive Learning – Day 29

30-Day Writing Challenge

A popular tactic for learning a new language is immersion. 

The strategy is simple, drop yourself in the middle of the language you’re aiming to learn and survive. 🙂 – The trick is to ensure you have no alternative. For example, imagine you want to learn Mandarine… You’ll move to some tiny village outside of Bejing for 3 months and do your best to survive. 

Another way to put this is that you’re learning from a firehose.  

I’ll often find myself applying this immersion tactic to other topics, learning more in a week than most people do in a month. This experience will be different for each person based on your life circumstances. If you’re committed to working 8-hour days, spending time with loved ones, etc., then you won’t be able to dedicate as much time, but there’s still a lot to be gained through immersion. 

Immersion can be applied to almost anything. In the past, I’ve applied it to understanding different industries, fundamental science, machine learning, climate change, etc. Currently, I’m using this method to study for a specific Cybersecurity certification called “CompTIA Security+”. 

When immersing myself in a topic I use multiple sources and forms of media, so no matter what my mental state is I’m able to consume similar content. 

Below is an example, you’ll see that I’ve labeled each with “primary” or “supplementary”. “Primary” is the main source of information and main focus, I spend most of my time here, but deep into the other sources, when I’m tired or need another perspective. 

  • Textbooks (primary) – In the morning and early afternoon when my cognitive abilities are at their best and that’s I read through detailed textbooks. This should take at least 65% of my time. 
  • YouTube Training Courses (supplementary) – In the evening or when taking breaks from the textbook, I’ll supplement with video courses talking about the same topic, but from different perspectives helping round out my understanding of a specific topic. 
  • YouTube Long-form Q&A (supplementary) – Any long-form discussion I use when doing life admin (e.g. cooking, washing dishes, etc.). This content helps me understand common questions asked and common answers from “experts” in the industry. 
  • Podcasts (supplementary) – whenever working out, I lean on podcasts that focus on the area I’m studying. This comes in handy for two reasons… Staying updated on what’s happening in the industry and passively taking in industry terminology reinforcing previous topics I’ve studied. 
  • Reddit Discussion Forums (supplementary) – Lastly, before falling asleep if I’m not reading the textbook, I’ll read through some discussion forms to see how other people are preparing for this same certification. The goal here is to see if there are any other approaches or resources I’ve missed and can incorporate into my routine. 

The key with all of this is to ensure that 99% of the content you’re consuming is dedicated to learning that new topic… I do allow myself one piece of entertainment over dinner, but besides that, everything else is directly related to what I’m studying. 

Complete immersion can be daunting, but if you’re diving into a topic that interests you, this process should be something you look forward to each morning. 

I realize this is intense, but for those of you who want to accelerate your learning, I highly recommend you immerse yourself completely.