What is the Feynman Technique?
The Feynman Technique is a Mental Model named after Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize Winning Physicist. The Feynman Technique was designed as a technique to help anyone learn anything. Whether it is understanding concepts you don’t really get, trying to remember stuff you have already learned or attempting to study more efficiently no matter what ‘The Feynman Technique’ would be your go-to buddy. He was like that friend you would go to when you don’t know how to reply to that girl or boy.
How do I actually implement this technique?
So maybe you are a high school Dunce or some Professor trying to get an edge on his colleagues, it matters not because either way, this technique will definitely help increase the understanding of all concepts and knowledge. Thankfully this technique is broken down into only 4 steps so it’s pretty easy to grasp.
The following Steps are:
Explain the concept to a peer or pretty much anyone who is willing to listen. Try to act as if you are explaining to a 5-year-old child, okay maybe a little older than that, we don’t want you pronouncing words super slowly to your peers now. Try to use very basic language and bend down to their level of understanding this will help you teach the concept better.
Summary: Explain the concept to someone.
Whilst you are explaining the concept to someone pay very close attention to your level of understanding. Did they understand? Do I understand what it is I am saying? Asking questions like these will cause you to pinpoint gaps in your knowledge so take note of these at the back of your head:
- If you could explain it but you didn’t understand what you were saying that should be noted as a gap.
- If you couldn’t put it in simpler terms or can’t explain it in a different way that should be noted as a gap
- If you find yourself avoiding a certain piece of information while explaining that should be taken as a gap!
Summary: Identify gaps while explaining to someone.
Go back to the books! Or where ever it was you got your information from. The main focus here is to go over the gaps that you noted in your head. Read the source information once again to fill up gaps or further your knowledge on the subject. Once you can explain it in very simple terms and you fully know what the (insert your profanity here please) is going on then proceed to step 1 or step 4, either way, you are going to go to the same place anyway.
Summary: Go back to the source material to fill gaps.
Repeat step 1 to 3 (What? Don’t look surprised you knew this was coming!). They say practice makes perfect but for the person whom you are explaining to don’t go over the stuff, you had absolutely no problem in explaining rather just go over the gaps. It would be of help to both parties.
Summary: Repeat steps 1 to 3 until there are no gaps.
If you can’t simplify the language not because you don’t understand the concept but because if you do you would lose meaning in what you are saying then make up an analogy to help. All you are doing is linking everyday understandable tasks, sequences or even processes to a concept.
Benefits of the Feynman Technique:
- Develop a true understanding of a concept
- Make informed decisions
- Applying what you have learned becomes much easier
- Teaching skills improve
- Increase in ability to think critically about a topic.
Who is Richard Feynman?
Richard Phillips Feynman (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was an American theoretical physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics for which he proposed the parton model. For his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, jointly with Julian Schwinger and Shin’ichirō Tomonaga, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965.
Feynman developed a widely used pictorial representation scheme for the mathematical expressions governing the behavior of subatomic particles, which later became known as Feynman diagrams. During his lifetime, Feynman became one of the best-known scientists in the world. In a 1999 poll of 130 leading physicists worldwide by the British journal Physics World, he was ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time.
He assisted in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II and became known to a wide public in the 1980s as a member of the Rogers Commission, the panel that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Along with his work in theoretical physics, Feynman has been credited with pioneering the field of quantum computing and introducing the concept of nanotechnology. He held the Richard C. Tolman professorship in theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology.
- https://www.pexels.com/ [Pictures]
I hope you have learned something new today, Thank You!