Learning to learn

speed, depth, mastery


Often we want to learn a new subject faster with comprehension and mastery. To learn software, your go-to method would probably be watching tutorials and following along. That may seem like a bore to some bbut there is a deep concept behind that process and that is call:

Guided Imitation

This is a concept used in language learning. Language learning is not an easy feat but its methods can be applied to just about anything when it comes to learning.

WIP: A strange thing to ask would be what is define what makes a learning/comprehension successful one - retention, ease of recall, application, remixing.

How can you learn a subject faster / master a software quicker?

  1. Skimming. Double the playback speed or the highest you can comprehend when watching YouTube tutorials, or download them if possible and do the same with VLC player. This is similar to speed-reading technique where you get a quick overview of what you are going to read, and the second time reading at a regular speed will help your brain .

  2. Just copy whatever is being taught even if you do not understand. Your brain will make sense of everything as you progresses, and what was unknown to you seems pretty apparent.

Intermediate level

When you get to an intermediate level or want to break into to advanced mastery; tutorials just is not enough There are two ways:

  1. You have a mentor which can give you instructions to improve your work consistently .

  2. You breakdown and recreate your favorite motion graphics/animation/video frame by frame and analyse how a shot was crafted.

    1. That means reviewing frame-by -frame how a sequence work

Excerpt from Spanish learning course about Guided imitation

When materials has been developed to present Spanish as a spoken language, and the skills of understanding and speaking are accordingly emphasized. In order to understand the materials, one must first understand the method upon which they are built. This method is known as GUIDED IMITATION. Its goals is to teach one to speak easily, fluently with very little accent, and to do this without conscious effort, just as one speaks his own language without conscious effort. There are two very important aspects of this method.

First learning a relatively small body of material so well that it requires very little effort to produce it. This is OVERLEARNING. If a student over-learns every dialog and drill as he goes through this book, he will almost certainly experience rapid progress in learning the language.

The second aspect is learning to authentically manipulate the sounds, sequences, and patterns of the language. The important implication here is the reality of both the model and the imitation. The model (teacher, recording, etc) must provide Spanish as people really speak it in actual conversations, and the student must be helped to an accurate imitation. Above all, the normal tempo of pronunciation must be the classroom standard; slowing down is, is this context distortion.

Counter-intuitive notes

  • Everyone have different modes of learning; what works for a person might not work for you. You have to identify is your optimal way of learning. Is it through sheer practice and experimentation, or do you prefer analytical approach through deconstruction of an animation.

  • Alternatively learning something else might help with the subject better. eg learning Javascripting helped my comprehension of the procedural workflow of Houdini in terms of how data and attributes are translated and modulated to become a visuals.