“The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to… No problem is too small or too trivial if we can really do something about it” – Richard Feynman
Recognized as one of the most brilliant minds, Richard Phillips Feynman was an American theoretical physicist. He was a Nobel prize laureate and an influential figure in his field. Apart from theoretical physics, he pioneered in the field of quantum computing.
Renowned for his eloquence, many called Feynman “the great explainer”. He had the ability to explain complex science in simple terms. Bill Gates once called Feynman “the best teacher I never had”. This explains why the Feynman learning technique is an excellent learning strategy for everyone.
What is Feynman learning technique?
Richard Feynman developed this innovative learning strategy to learn better and have a deeper understanding of the subject.
The Feynman learning technique is not just for memorizing facts. It rather focuses on how you are able to explain that information to someone else in simpler terms. If you are able to do this, it means that you have understood the information and turned it into knowledge. However, if you cannot, then there are some gaps in your understanding.
So, simply memorising something and losing it later is not effective. With Feynman learning technique, we can comprehend and retain that concept for a longer period of time.
Using Feynman learning technique
We now have an idea of how the Feynman learning technique works, we can learn how to use it for faster learning. You can start this learning exercise with your peers or just yourself. The Feynman learning technique involves 4 processes, let’s take a look.
1. Start with a concept you want to learn
Simply pick a concept you want to learn. Start with a narrow topic, it will give time to clarify your basics first. It could be anything from Newton’s laws of motion to how pollination occurs. To understand any concept, get knowledge on everything that surrounds it, like why and how it works.
2. Explain that topic in simple words
Now that you’ve learned about the topic, test your understanding by teaching it to someone else. If there is no one near you, try explaining it to yourself. The idea behind this is that even a child should be able to understand the concept you are teaching. Explain it in as many simple words as possible and at their level of understanding.
3. Identify gaps in your teaching
This is a critical step to identify gaps in your explanation. It reflects how well you understand that topic. Look for points such as:
- Some important parts that you forgot
- How much you remember about the topic
- Where you were concise while explaining
- Was it simple enough to explain to a child
4. Review the information and refine it
Now go back to the study material and strengthen your weak areas. Try to refine the notes, use terms that are easy to understand. To simplify the concept to yourself first, incorporate visuals. Including analogies and real-life examples will definitely make the learning simple and refined. Go back to the second step again and explain the topic and notice the difference.
So, how effective is the Feynman learning technique?
Well, the Feynman learning technique increases the knowledge over time. It is incredibly effective for academic learning and job interviews preparation. For professionals, Feynman technique helps in explaining the goals and projects clearly. It eliminates the shallow knowledge and helps you master a much deeper understanding.