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Active Learning
Dec 29, 2017
2 minutes read

When I was at the gym today, I stumbled upon a new podcast by Jim Kwik about meta-skills which sounded intriguing. In the first episode of his podcast, he describes the FAST method to learning:

  • Forget: forget what you’ve already learned, forget anything that’s not urgent or important, and forget your limitations
  • Active: be active in your learning
  • State: ensure that your mind and body are in a conducive state to learning
  • Teach: learn with the intention to teach

All of these are important tactics when it comes to trying to learn something faster, but I was particularly interested in active learning. Since school, I’ve found that it’s been difficult to learn things (that aren’t directly relevant to work) not passively because there hasn’t been a means of assessment afterwards. Usually when I try to learn something new, I’m just absorbing information: watching lectures, reading blog posts or books. I usually don’t take notes, though it tends to help retention significantly.

One notable exception has been my Chinese studying over the past year, which is likely because I had an opportunity to chat with a Chinese teacher a few times a week over Skype. I took a more active role learning here even outside of the lessons by reviewing lesson notes and making flashcards. In September, I stopped taking lessons, and since then, I’ve noticed that my Chinese feels terribly rusty even though it’s only been a few months.

After listening to Jim’s podcast today, I thought about how I could keep my Chinese language sharp (aside from starting up lessons again, which I’ve already planned on doing). The idea I came up with was translating some of the thoughts that I’ve written here into Chinese. It’d be easier than creating content from scratch; I find it difficult enough to think in English, but it’d give me an opportunity to express reasonably complex thoughts in Chinese (and learn how to set up a bilingual website!).

Keep an eye out for a Chinese language versions of this post in the future.

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