My Learning Model for Success

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My Learning Model for Success

The learning model I use to learn new concepts, both technical and non-technical

Jarred Taylor's photo
Jarred Taylor
·Dec 15, 2021·

4 min read

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Learning new concepts and topics can be a daunting challenge, but there are ways to overcome this. Rather I was learning a new football playbook, a programming language, a new math topic, or even concepts needed for job training, these three phases of learning have helped me tremendously. These three phases of this learning model are:

  • Indexing Phase
  • Retaining Phase
  • Referencing Phase

I’ve used this method most frequently to help with software engineering. I was able to gain a firm understanding of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and ReactJS fairly quickly using this technique and I’m currently using it again to help streamline my understanding of how to use Python for Machine Learning and Data Analysis.

The indexing phase is the most critical in my opinion because this is what lays the foundation for the rest of your learning model. During this phase of learning, you begin to gather all of the material you plan to utilize, this could be what you plan to study, read, watch, tutorials, textbooks, anything of that nature. After you gather all of those resources you also want to be sure to fine-tune it. What this means is to try to grasp an overarching concept on what these resources will be teaching you to confirm the information will be useful, relevant, and also applicable. One of the main examples of this would be to go ahead and watch the tutorial you plan to use in its fullness before following along and laying down the code. Watching the tutorial first will help prevent you from just aimlessly following long and possibly getting stuck in tutorial hell. After scanning over all of your resources, do not hesitate to remove any of the content that does not have beneficial concepts for your learning. Toss those out and organize the helpful content in the order you plan to use it. This is the indexing phase.

The next step in this learning model is the retaining phase. This phase begins with you creating a concrete study schedule, preferably getting as specific as you can. Within this schedule, every three days, four being the latest, build in a review day to go over those previously learned concepts. There are two ways to go about this which completely depends on who you are and how in-depth of a review you feel you need. These two days look like (using simple programming concepts as an example):

EXAMPLE 1:

  1. Day 1: Data Types
  2. Day 2: Comparison Operators
  3. Day 3: If, Elif, Else Statements
  4. Day 4: Begin with reviewing Data Types then move on to For & Why Loops
  5. Day 5: Ranges -> fast forward a few days to speed this example up
  6. Day 8: Review Comparison Operators then move to List Comprehension

EXAMPLE 2 (using the same concepts):

  1. Day 1: Data Types
  2. Day 2: Comparison Operators
  3. Day 3: If, Elif, Else Statements
  4. Day 4: Spend this entire day reviewing data types, comparison operators, and if, elif, else statements.
  5. Day 5: For & Why Loops

It doesn’t matter how you plan to learn these topics; this is when you either go through those tutorials, read the books, watch the lectures, etc. The foundations of the days being laid out this way remain the same.

An important thing to make note of during this retaining phase is to continuously take notes or document these things however suits you best. Maintain a library of these notes as well as the books, documents, videos, and everything else you used during this phase and keep them bookmarked or in folders in the same order you learned them while also having a small description to jog your memory of what is within the bookmark.

The final phase of learning is the referencing phase. This is why the last part of the retaining phase is essential. Think of those folders and bookmarks as your programming library (or whatever you’re learning) that is easily accessible. There are multiple ways to store these libraries, the methods that have worked best for me are:

  • Google Chrome folders with more specific folders embedded within them: This often stores my useful web pages with examples, tutorials, language-specific documentation, and other tools I could use like color pallets for CSS
  • Creating in-depth notes and storing them in folders on either my desktop or in my coding folder located on my hard drive: These can be notes from the textbooks, notes from those tutorials, lectures, or whatever means used to learn
  • A physical bookshelf somewhere in your home full of the books you used: Organizing this library intentionally is critical because it makes reaching back to reference them months or years from now easier

Having these attainable programming libraries makes recalling and referencing these concepts much easier whenever needed and cuts down the time you spend going down a google wormhole trying to relearn lambda expressions after not using them for a few months. Also, let's say it’s time to prepare for a job interview or you want to begin a blog or even begin mentoring, having this programming library allows you to always have the same content you used to get to where you are easily accessible and able to pass along if needed.

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