How do you learn?

Let us say there is a list of principles that you must learn. The principles are contained in a book that consists of 50 pages.

Now the book is ordered in a relatively structured way such as you would expect. It moves from one principle to the next in a rather logical fashion.

It’s not just that you must memorize these principles, you must actually understand them. There are a few diagrams to help you on the way. The diagrams are obviously annotated.
So, how do YOU (personally) go about doing it?

I, for example, have a general method that I employ. I read the sentences on the page swiftly one time. I then pick a point to stop. This decision is made based upon how much I think I have absorbed (if enough, then halt; if not enough, then carry on).

I consider what the basic ideas involved were, and then I go back and read again, this time more slowly. I try to absorb what I have read before.

Then I leave the book for a while. And then come back to the same parts that I have read before and re-read, this time at normal pace.

This three-pronged attack tends to ensure that I have covered everything pretty well. But it does take a while. Perhaps it is quite inefficient.

I need some better ideas.

For the scenario given above (with the book), please outline to me how YOU would tackle it. And when you describe your plan, try and pay attention to the following:

· Sentence structure
· Speed of your reading
· Overall layout
· How you consider the diagrams
· The number of times you re-read a passage
· What you would do with a particularly difficult passage
Basically anything to do with your own personal process when it comes to learning something. Do you use mind-maps? Do you doodle? Do you make any sketches? Do you take notes? If so, what is the basic layout? How do you consider the ideas?

I’d skim it once to get a familiarity with what’s in there, and then I’d try do something that requires that knowledge.

Skim it all once. The second time through, copy in writing the main concepts (read
it, write it). Third time, skim but write things I didn’t grasp the first or
second reading.

  1. Skim
  2. Think on main concepts but don’t write anything down
  3. Read thoroughly, making detailed notes
  4. Read re-write notes

Read through without stopping. Once I am done and need to apply the knowledge, go back for reference on the specific things (generally, picking a task that will require all or lots of the various things presented.)

  1. Examine the book (front and back), while blinking a few times.
  2. Discard it and figure it out the subject on my own.

Hate to sound like an ass, but that’s how I do it.

None of it. I find the VCR flashing **12:00 ** all the time kind of comforting.

I’d skim through the book a few times. Maybe underline key sentences and write little notes in the margins. If I’m feeling really ambitous I’ll even try to write some notes on a separate piece of paper. These notes will be terrible and completely useless because they’ll just be some random key words or thoughts that I had while reading the book. So, basically I’ll jusy continually skim through the book hoping that enough knowledge will stick and eventually I’ll understand it.