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The Feynman Technique - 3 Steps to Learning Something New

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Richard Feynman was a physicist who received a nobel prize for his work in quantum electrodynamics. He was notorious for asking his mathematicians to explain concepts in simple language to test their understanding. 

Here his unique technique to learn new materials:

Step 1. Choose a topic you want to understand and start studying it. Once you know what it is about, take a piece of paper and write the topic at the top of the page.

Step 2. Pretend you’re teaching the idea to someone else. Write out an explanation on the paper while you describe them out loud. Like this you get an idea of what you understand and where you still have gaps. Whenever you get stuck, go back and study. Repeat that process until you can explain it.

Step 3. Finally do it again, but now simplify your language or use an analogy to make the point. If your explanation ends up wordy and confusing, that’s an indication that you do not understand the idea well enough. If that happens go back until you have mastered it.

It is the process of thinking about an idea while teaching it that make the method so effective. Once you can explain an idea with simple language and create graphic analogies, you have deeply understood it and will remember it for a long time.

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Films For Action is a community-powered, digital library for people who want to change the world.

 

Our mission is to provide citizens with the knowledge and perspectives essential to creating a more beautiful, just, sustainable, and democratic society.

Films For Action was founded in 2006 by a few friends in Lawrence, Kansas, after realizing how essential a healthy media is to a healthy democracy.

Although we started out hosting community film screenings in the beginning and did so for many years, our digital library eventually became our primary focus. 

Today, with the help of our members (who can add content directly to our site), we've curated over 5,000 of the best documentaries, short films, and videos that can be watched for free online plus several dozen pay-per-view documentaries, sorted into 34 subjects related to changing the world.

And, since there's still so much to learn about that isn't featured in a film, we've also curated 4,000 articles.

To dive in, click the Explore button to sort content by most viewedtop-rated, or newest first, as well as filter content by languagecountry, content type, and 34 topics such as foodsustainabilityeconomicssolutions or big ideas.

 

“Independent media is dangerous because it allows people to speak for themselves. And when you hear someone speaking from their own experience - whether it's a Palestinian child or an Israeli grandmother or an uncle in Afghanistan or a refugee in the Calais refugee camp - it changes you. It breaks the sound barrier. It challenges the stereotypes and the caricatures that fuel the hate groups. You may not agree with what you hear - I mean, how often do we even agree with our family members? - but you begin to understand where they're coming from. That understanding is the beginning of peace. I really do think that the media can be the greatest force for peace on Earth. Instead, all too often, it is wielded as a weapon of war. We have to take the media back.” - Amy Goodman, Place to B at COP21