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Ask HN: How do you learn new things?
5 points by gavribirnbaum 53 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 2 comments
I am an avid learner. And I am trying to improve the process of how I learn new skills and disciplines (programming languages, design, physics).

How does your process look like? What do you do to learn? Is there any software you use? How's the experience? Any tips?




There are impossibly diverse options for learning today.

Ideally, you'll want to find which methodology (or -ies ideally) works best for you, and continue to branch from there.

The idea of 'how do you learn' extends above answers like 'books' or 'youtube' or 'coursera', and fits better in the categorization of 'I like to Listen', 'I like to try', 'I like to watch'.

Ideally, find which of these, or which combination of these is most interesting to you, and then find the appropriate tool to leverage that.

Personally, I like to Read, and I like to Do.

I have a brainstorming meeting with my Team once every 2 months where we spitball home project ideas, and have a show and tell from work we've done in our spare time. Once I've settled on an idea, I apply the above concepts to learn as much as I can about it.

For example, the last project was to build and solve a Rubiks cube. I read about the mathematics of a Rubiks cube, and built models alongside. I know that having reference material, and an instance of CLion open next to me is my recipe for successful learning.


To look at the metagame of learning, I highly, highly recommend the Coursera course Learning How To Learn by Barbara Oakley: https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn. If you're more into books, she also has A Mind For Numbers, which covers essentially the same material.

For me, the biggest thing is practice, particularly deliberate practice and spaced repetition. For software, any timer will do for pomodoros, and Anki has been a godsend for spaced repetition. The iOS app is expensive at $25, but the ROI has been huge for me.




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