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Plateau Learning

Updated: Oct 10, 2021

I was just re-reading Tim Ferriss' 4 Hour Work Week. It always amazes me when you go back and read a book that you have read and find new bits of information that you missed the first time. This is true for most things, at least in my experience, movies, old blogs, instruction manuals...that one was a joke. But it is true that once the basic idea is understood and internalized in your own personal way, can focus on other details that you did not notice the first time.


I was reading his bit on speed reading. How he talks about focusing on the second letter in from the margin and then slowly work your way inward. He is talking about how we read in visual spurts or blasts and string them together to get meaning from the words. As one gets better at this they can comprehend larger bursts at a time and then their reading speed increases accordingly. Very interesting information.


But the concept of seeing or understanding smaller details that we never noticed the first time is what I was really thinking about. I see that in learning in general, we learn in plateaus as most would say. Ever notice you will get stuck on a particular concept or skill and kind of stagnate there for a while. But then after a long break or pause you will suddenly jump forward and move up to the next level.


This is a good overall thing to keep in mind when we learn ourselves, and more particularly when we are teaching others. Make sure you create enough "pauses" or "breaks" in the learning process to allow the concepts to sink in. Then you can move on to the more complex.





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