Richard Feynman (also known as The Great Explainer) is one of the well-known scientists who won the noble award for his work. He also developed an amazing learning technique which’s named after him as the Feynman Technique. To use the Feynman Technique, you don’t need to be a scientist, you can use it for learning pretty much everything. So, the following guide on How to Use the Feynman technique to Learn Faster can help you improve your grades and learn any skill faster and more efficiently.
But just before telling you how you can use The Feynman Technique, there is an interesting story about deep learning and shallow learning that you can read to get a better idea about the Feynman Technique’s importance.
Max Plank and His Chaufuer
“In 2017 graduation speech of USC (University of Southern California), Charlie Munger told an interesting fictional story about two people: the great scientist Max Plank and his chauffeur.
No doubt Max was a wise scientist, therefore, People of Germany loved to hear him speak. Once he toured the country with his chauffeur giving speeches about his work almost every day and everywhere. So, the chauffeur grew tired of hearing the same thing time and again. Finally, he dared to ask,” Max, can I try to give the speech this time? I have listened to it several times. So, I have memorized it.”
Consequently, Max agreed to let the chauffeur give the speech this time. He took a seat at the front, whilst, the chauffeur pretended to be Max Plank and explained the concept perfectly. In the end, a small man rose and asked the chauffeur a question. To his bad luck, he failed to answer.”
Charlie told the story to highlight an important difference between two kinds of knowledge: the deep knowledge of Max Plank and the shallow knowledge of his chauffeur.
The world is overflowing with knowledge pretty much about everything. And it is next to impossible to have a deep knowledge of everything. In fact, there are benefits to shallow knowledge, too. However, it is best not to rely on any information we haven’t tested or reviewed yet because there are various dangers associated with shallow knowledge.
We mostly keep fooling ourselves that we have understood everything or we know them very well when we don’t. As Richard Feynman quoted:
“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.”
And if you don’t want to be fooled by yourself, the best way is to learn deeply. And the Feynman Technique is used for the same purpose of learning anything deeply.
How to Use the Feynman technique to Learn Faster
One of the best ways to strengthen your understanding is to use the Feynman Technique. There are four simple steps to help you learn and deepen your understanding.
Initially, choose a topic and explain it to somebody, maybe a child who has no knowledge about the particular topic. And try to meet them at their level of understanding by boiling down the complex problem into plain language. Remember the key point here is explaining the concept in the simplest language.
Identify any gaps in your own understanding or the areas you are shaky on and could not explain well enough. So, once you have explained the concept to the person who has no idea about the topic, you may have experienced some gaps and areas you were not very good while explaining. So, for the second step, you need to recognize them.
Then, go back to the source material-your, notes or your books. And study your weak points until you are sure enough you can use the simplest language to explain them.
Finally, repeat all the three above steps until you have completely understood the topic.
In a nutshell, you need to keep in mind that the main goal of the whole process is to be simple and concise. Simply, if you can explain the concept to a 3-year-old kid with no special effort, you have mastered the topic. In case you can’t explain the topic to a 3-year-old, you haven’t understood the topic well enough yourself, so, you have to practice a little more. As Einstein said, “if you can’t explain it well, you have not learned it well.”
Finally, I hope you have learned How to use the Feynman Technique to learn Faster and Better. Also, don’t forget to give us your feedback and tell us how the Feynman Technique helps you retain more information and learn anything efficiently. And what other ways you use to get good grades and learn new skills.
Also, to stay inspired and motivated check out Top 10 Ways to Present Like the Master Presenter Steve Jobs or How to Take Notes in Class: 5 Best Note-taking Methods.