Sunday, July 30, 2017

Learn why things are what they are

I have been using the Anki flashcard app for language, and it is very well suited for that, but when I read this article, Anki Tips: What I Learned Making 10,000 Flashcards, I created another deck entitled Learn Anything.  

The tips that the writer provided are very good ones, including the advice to put everything in one deck, regardless of topic. He quoted the theory of Hebbian learning - "neurons that fire together wire together" and that "mixing everything is superior". He says that when everything is carefully partitioned, we limit the opportunity serendipity, and that applying ideas across disciplines is precisely where the insights are likely to be most fertile.

He also advised to add whatever, anything that interest you, whether you think useful or not.  It can be anything you find interesting, any random thoughts, anything.

I have created my Learn Anything deck a week ago but it was empty until today. I was watching a criminal drama and the central topic was the Statute of Limitations, which one may find unfair to put a maximum limit of time to initiate legal proceedings. The drama did irritate me a bit because the limitation to the murder case was just missed by mere minutes and the murderer walks free even though there was clear evidence that was comfirmed minutes after the limitation period. 

I stopped the drama and did some reading in Wikipedia and thought hey, this could be my first Learn Anything entry.

And unknowing I did what the writer of the article implied as one of the most important tip: "Cards that answer the question “Why?” are more valuable than factual cards." It's easy to memorize the what but it is better to understand the why. And that was precisely what I put into that card entry, because I was more curious as to why should there be statute of limitations. If you are curious, check out its purpose here.

There you go, my first Learn Anything card when the writer already has 10,000 or more by now. But we all have to start somewhere. And now is good. 

I need to also build the habit of noticing things to add into my deck. There are so many things to learn and remember and connect.


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