- 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.
- Understanding needs active learner engagement
- Prefer notes that describe a relationship
- Complex Systems are built from simple pieces
- Even where there are a lot of simple pieces, you can use this property to help understand a system. By identifying the constituent parts and working on understanding each in turn and their relationships with the other parts you can incrementally build up a more nuanced understanding of a system.
- Your note-taking exists for yourself
- Note-taking exists for you, not for others. It exists to build your knowledge and understanding and clarify your mind. This reminder exists because I've found it easy to find yourself writing in someone else's voice or eyes. Only follow the lines of thought that interest you. Write in a way that is natural to you
- Iterate on complex ideas to find simplicity
- Complexity isn't always necessary, but it's sometimes easier to achieve than simplicity. Working out which parts are necessary requires a deep understanding of the idea.
- Use the Feynman technique to expose gaps in your knowledge
- One of the reasons this is useful is that as the learner starts to delve into more depth, it calls into contrast the areas where understanding doesn't exist in a specific and targeted way. The areas you don't understand become more obvious.
- Practice metacognition