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The Feynman Technique for Learning Anything


Many times, while studying, we come across a new topic or a concept that is hard for us to comprehend in the first go. The more time we spend on it and the deeper we go, we get further lost, as we struggle at the fundamental level.


Comes to rescue a technique, that is much appreciated and used by learners across the world, known as The Feynman Technique.


Before we talk about the technique, let's know who Feynman is.


Richard Feynman, was a Nobel prize-winning American theoretical physicist, famous within the scientific community for his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics.


In addition to his scientific work, Feynman was also famous for his teaching style and inspiring many students not only during his lifetime but also for generations to come long after he is dead and gone. Bill Gates was so inspired by Feynman's teaching that he called him, “The greatest teacher I never had.”


Now, let's look at what his famous technique was.


Einstein once said, "If you can't explain it to a six-year-old, you don't understand it yourself."


Feynman Technique is precisely based on this idea.


The steps of this technique are pretty straightforward.


Step 1: Identify and analyze the topic/problem.

Read about it. Consult the original source material. Take notes and write down everything you know about the topic.


Step 2: Prepare yourself to teach it to someone younger than you, a child perhaps.

Well, it could be someone older as well, like your grandmother. But, ensure that the person should have a curious mind and be willing to learn a topic that he or she is completely unaware of and not a critic.

Step 3: Identify and work on the understanding gaps.

When you are stuck at explaining something or you confront a question that you can't answer. Voila! That's exactly where your knowledge gap is. You need to go back to the source materials, read the supplements, research further, till you grasp the whole concept in a manner you feel confident to be able to teach it without hesitation.

Step 4: Simplify, organize and make it enjoyable to explain/teach.

Go back to your original student, or imagine that, you have to explain it to a much younger kid, say a 6-year-old, as Einstein would want you to. Organize your thoughts and using simple language, explain the concepts taking the help of analogies and stories.

And in this process, you will realize, that not only you have understood the new concept, but also, it will be hard for you to forget it.


We hope now you are going to apply this wonderful technique every time you encounter a difficult concept.




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