Learning and Staying on Top

What did you do that for?

So what is your purpose for learning? What do you want to get out of it? This could be broken down to each study session you have - you should have a purpose. Otherwise you could go on and on flipping through pages and pages in some sort of dull stupor.

The thingymajig, you know?

Communication comes from the latin word 'to share'. The concept should stay exactly as it was from the originator, passing to the communicate-ee. The person receiving the concept may well describe it completely differently when they communicate it to another, but the concept should be exactly the same. When learning we want the concept to pass from the author to our, dare I say, 'psyche'. The person sharing and the person learning each have their own particular education, upbringing, and dare I say 'conditioning'. Therefore sometimes things can get lost in communication. Ideally we all want to be singing from the same hymn sheet, 'fa lala la laa'. Therefore all of our terms need to be clearly defined. If we have definitions understood for every term, from the educator to the learner, then the concept should slip from A to B easily and be exactly the same concept in both parties.

Some concepts are more equal than others

In a sprawling web of data it is easy to think that each bit is of equal importance to the rest. This is incorrect, and something I see far too often. Tutorials go on and on and demonstrate each thing as important to the other. In fact, it happens in technical interviews too. They give you some edge case code to look at. Do they really think that is equally important to everything else in the subject? Worrisome. This then means a subject has core principles or concepts, and like a mind map or graph data structure have other, less important concepts related.

I ain't got time to bleed

So, time is a precious commodity, so you have to have certain boundaries. Well, what I mean is it is economical to get a seriously high percentage of gain from the shortest length of time.

I am an advocate of speed reading. I wonder how much is comprehended if each word, sentence, paragraph is given time to. By the end of the page how much time/comprehension has been had? Why not speed read and the time/comprehension ration would be a lot better. Clean up the sticking points. Blast through and stay enthused.

The upshot is, figure out what you want to get out of something. Make sure the core concepts are nailed - make sure definitions are learned so you know what someone is banging on about. Spend time wisely.

How do you get to Carnegie hall?

Study is one thing. In quite abstract subjects like programming it is hard to get substance. This is where practice comes in. How do you get to Carnegie hall? Practice, practice, practice.