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How to learn more easily by understanding

People learn the vast majority of things by doing and imitating:

  • Toddlers play with pots and lids, improving their fine motor skills.
  • Older children learn to ride a bicycle by practicing many times.
  • Teenagers play with their cell phones and learn about the many functions of these devices.
  • Adults, for example, practice their hobbies and become more competent in this area.

However, many learning contents are also presented by teachers, trainers, instructors or lecturers, or people try to learn by reading from textbooks or technical papers. As long as one has not properly understood new learning content, learning is difficult. The old recommendation, not to learn by heart, but to understand, is completely in order.

Indeed, learning by understanding is easier and more durable than stubborn memorization.

Example: Do you know offhand how big DIN A7 is?  Probably you don’t have the solution at hand right away, but you can develop it because you once long ago understood the system by which DIN sizes are incremented and paper sizes are decremented.

How can you deal with learning content from books or technical essays that you simply don’t understand or can’t comprehend at first, for example, in sub-areas? One of the possible ways: Instead of working through one and the same technical essay over and over again until you have understood it, you should also use other sources of information that present the same content in a different way: read another technical essay on the same topic, ask an expert, discuss with other learners.

Through different presentations, that is, through different keys to understanding, one can better recognize and understand the common core content and then also remember it more easily.