SPACED REPETITION- A turbo charge retention method through which you can retain any learning
"What are you reading, watching, memorizing, and applying that make you an exceptional man?" -Stephen Mansfield
Learning is a meta-skill that is arguably the most important meta-skill. School has taught us a lot, but unfortunately learning is not one of them.
Learning is how we adapt to changing circumstances, situations and environments. Learning enables us to create new "maps" and review old ones to navigate the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world with confidence.
Intelligence is created by the long-term accumulation and compounding of usable learning and information. We collect and provide this information by consuming and retaining it.
• Consumption is input - what comes in.
• Retention is what's left after a leak. Think of your brain like a bathtub.
The drain serves as the exit and the faucet as the entrance. Everything you read and take in comes out of the faucet. You forget everything, and it all goes down the drain.
Let's talk about learning retention today to correct that.
This is a tactical framework to improve retention. It involves five steps:
(1) Inspiration through reading and watching
(2) Unstructured note taking and bookmarking
(5) Develop Notion
Steps are in ascending, but I follow them dynamically and iteratively.
Let's go over the steps...
Step 1: Inspiration through reading and watching.
Retention starts with inspirational consumption.
I divide it into two types: • Forced: Compelled, internal or external. • Inspiration: Driven entirely by your inner inspiration.
If you've been to school, you know how consumption looks like. Mandatory reading is a book you are told to read even if the subject does not interest you. This is the foundation of many traditional learning methods - and yet another reason most of us are bad at memorizing!
Inspirational consumption is when you truly feel the pull of eating—it's when you enjoy the process of consumption.
Inspirational consumption is important for retention because of two reasons. 1. Inspiration is prerequisite to flow. More flow state, more retention. 2. Motivation encourages participation. Engage with the content, retain the content.
Inspirational consumption is the foundation of retention.
Step 2: Unstructured note taking and bookmarking.
When you start consuming, you should have a note taking system in front of you.
When going over items for the first time, keep your notes unstructured as clean and free flowing as possible. Notes to be taken about:
• Key Ideas
• New Insights
• Explanations gets you "Hmm" or "Wow!"
• Other connections of the topic
• Confusion and Questions
Keep in mind that this first round of notes is meant to be unstructured. Writing something down helps thoughts stick.
Step 3: Summarization
Zoom out and view your unnecessary text.
What was the most interesting and original insight or idea? What is the most confusing thing?
Aggregation is where you save content by focusing specifically on creating patterns around text in specific areas.
If the text doesn't need to form a group of points, integration is where you start to combine them.
It doesn't have to be perfect, but you should start creating better visuals when you reuse content for this purpose.
Consolidating is when information begins to be collected.
Step 4: Metaphorize
Metaphor (Analogy) is one of the most effective but little-known retention tool. This is where you can take newly learned information and turn it into a broader mental map. You make clear comparisons and connections between new learning materials and existing materials. When I start the metaphor process, I look for a connection - something that connects new information to some information already in my brain.
Step 5: Develop Notion
Imagine the new notion as a muscle that will atrophy if left unattended. You must exercise it frequently and early.
Here are some ways: • Bring it up in chat • Talk to your friends about it • Try to teach others • Spaced Repetition
If you apply notion, it will last and grow. Spaced repetition is the most formal and powerful form of repetition, so let's take a deeper look.
Forgetting Curve - History and Research
German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus was the first to recognize how it affected retention. He released “Memory: A Contribution to Experimental Psychology” in 1885, which is regarded as a seminal book in the discipline.
Ebbinghaus covered his most well-known discovery in this article, the Forgetting Curve.
The FC depicts the exponential decay of freshly acquired knowledge; it is acute in the first 20 minutes, substantial for an hour, and then levels off after a day.
Spaced repetition is a scientifically proven method of enhanced retention. It is a method, any information which is consumed in spaced intervals over a longer period of time will be processed into long-term memory. It uses cognitive recognition (our brain's way of converting short-term memory into long-term memory) to help you retain new information.
Spaced repetition has the effect of flattening the memory retention decline curve.
Understanding the science is useful, but to apply Spaced Repetition for your purposes, you must put it into practice.
Spaced Repetition - Taking Action
Here's how it works:
Let's say you're trying to learn some facts about Quantum Computer (its history, concepts, use, etc.).
If it's for a college exam, you can do it "old school" - have some espresso, put your mind to it, and hope you remember it for the next day's exam. But you no longer go to college - you want to learn for life, not just for an exam. You want it to stick. So instead of the old way, you do the new way - spaced repetition. You eat new information at 8am in the morning.
Next, begin “Repetitions” where you repeat what you learned and fill the memory gaps: • Repetition 1: 9 am (1 hour later) • Repetition 2: 12 pm (3 hours later) • Repetition 3: 6 pm (6 hours later) • Repetition 4: 6 am (12 hours later) • and so on at increasing intervals...
Why is this working? To explain it simply, imagine the brain as a muscle, with each repetition representing a "twist" of the muscle.
Regular exercise forces you to continually work your muscles with higher loads. The muscles are being forced to expand by you.
As much as this fits the procedure, I add it straight under "opinion" in my insurance policy because I believe it to be the best.
“Acquire with the intention to retain, and retain with the intention to grow.” - Lester Wunderman
Learning more is not enough - you have to remember most of what you learn.
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