Learning by repetition and paraphrasing

I have been learning material by using a combination of repetition and my variation of The Feynman Technique.

My strategy is to repeat the material in chunks, i.e. section 1, then section 1 and 2, then sections 1 through 3, sections 1 through 4, etc.

I try to paraphrase every sentence. Sometimes it’s I just reverse the sentences, sometimes I change them into a question and answer, and sometimes I just use synonyms for a word or for multiple words in the sentence.

I think this has been working for me because of the sheer number of repetitions, but also because I am actively engaging with the material, and I am jamming the information into my working memory. Furthermore, I am exposing myself to the material in many different ways because I probably paraphrase things slight differently each time.

I think if I get comfortable with the earlier sections, I might start reviewing from the later sections. For instance, if there are 10 sections, I might review section 10, then section 9 through 10, then 8 through 10, etc.

I think I can certain material into long term memory by using flash card software. Also for things that just have to be memorized, I can create pictures, patterns, stories, rhymes, or use memory techniques such as The Link Method.

Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

Here’s a great article on how setting goals can actually be counterproductive and demotivating: Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

My personal philosophy is to focus on the process by setting up a system and simply following it. I try to make my system consist of fun and right actions, so that way I can happily achieve towards my goals instead of achieving to be happy. I try to trust the process and see what happens, which lines up nicely with James Clear’s article 🙂

Pomodollars: My Pomodoro Technique Upgrade

I have been using The Pomodoro Technique for almost 2 years now. It has helped me tremendously in being productive and focused.

However, I have only kept track of the number of Pomodori I complete each day. I have never really tracked my Pomodori over the week nor month.

I have modified my tracking by keeping track of the number of Pomodori I complete each month. I keep track of the number of completed Pomodori on a spreadsheet, and I multiply this number by 25. Basically I am tracking my number of focused minutes each month.

But since I need something gimmicky to motivate myself even further, I call these monthly focused minutes Pomodollars 🙂

 

 

Mixing It Up Boosts Learning

I recently read this article: The Interleaving Effect: Mixing It Up Boosts Learning.

A few interesting points were made:

Blocking involves practicing one skill at a time before the next (for example, “skill A” before “skill B” and so on, forming the pattern “AAABBBCCC”), in interleaving one mixes, or interleaves, practice on several related skills together (forming for example the pattern “ABCABCABC”).

Overall, the interleaving effect can be strong, stable, and long-lasting.

I am currently learning from Pluralsight courses. I think interleaving works nicely with Pluralsight because the modules are around 30-60 minutes, which can fit into a Pomodoro because I play the videos at 2x speed.

I also feel like I have more fun because I can take several courses at once and finish a module from each course every day. Plus I get the variety of many different subjects, and the repetition when the courses overlap.

 

Great advice from a top competitive programmer

I read this interview with competitive programmer Ahmed AlyWhy Renowned Googler Ahmed Aly Chose HackerRank and what really stood out to me was his advice:

Ahmed, what advice do you have for people who want to become great programmers like you?

Don’t try to solve harder problems unless you are really good at solving the easier ones. That means solve a lot of really easy problems (that could be hundreds), that will improve your coding skills, which should be the easiest skill to gain. Then go to little bit harder problems, and so on.

Learning from Pluralsight

In December I wrote about growing my coding abilities by reading.

Well I have found something even better and more enjoyable for me: learning from Pluralsight.

I am especially inspired by the growth shown by Kevin O’Shaughnessy who completed over 400 Pluralsight courses!

I feel like solving code challenges plus learning and building with Pluralsight will really accelerate my growth as a software engineer.

You can get 3 free months of Pluralsight  by signing up for the free Visual Studio Dev Essentials.