Understanding requires ideas to have context¶
It isn't enough to see or hear about a new concept in order to understand it. Instead, the concept needs to be actively explored. The learner should find analogies, find connections to existing knowledge, work through the implications of the new idea, and so on. The more thoroughly the idea is explored, the deeper the understanding will become.
Both the lack of context and the lack of engagement are reasons why transmissionism doesn't work
If you want to really understand an idea, you have to grapple with it.
You can’t just read something, listen to a lecture, or hear a notion in a conversation. You’ve got to wonder: where does this apply and where does it not? What are the implications? What are the assumptions? Whose view is represented here? What does this refute? etc
- Prefer notes that describe a relationship
- According to educational constructivism, understanding requires ideas to have context. This is so the context forms relationships between things you know already and the new subject. Building notes describing these relationships explicitly will focus the process and engage you with the task - understanding needs active learner engagement.
- Find a way to collect contextual backlinks in your notes
- On top of making your collection of notes easier to understand (Understanding requires ideas to have context), it enables some useful habits such as letting 'noun' notes collect backlinks for a while.
- Let 'noun' notes collect backlinks for a while
- You don't ever need to manually fill these noun notes in if the need never comes up, but if you do end up writing something you won't be starting with a blank page. You'll be surrounded by context for no extra cost, and Understanding requires ideas to have context
- Iterate on complex ideas to find simplicity
- Notes should be densely linked
- When writing permanent zettelkasten-style notes then composing notes is done by making links between them. Creating relationships between ideas builds context, and understanding requires an idea to have context.
- Practice metacognition
- Understanding requires ideas to have context, and observing your thoughts will bring that context over time. Because of this, metacognition can help you learn how to learn effectively.
- Start notes with context
- This habit gets you to contextualise the information you're writing about, and understanding requires ideas to have context. This comes back to help even further when you revisit your note later - context will help you access the associations you need to think about the subject clearly.
- Title notes imperatively or declaratively