The Feynman Technique – How to Study Effectively


Do you have a colleague who throws technical terms around or a teacher who explains facts in a rather incomprehensible manner? Then you are not the only ones! The Feynman Technique is a teaching and communication method that can be used to convey information using precise ideas and simple language. 

Start Learning Today will now explain of this interesting technique on how to study everything effectively.

This technique is derived from Richard Feynman’s Learning Technique, which he developed as a student at Princeton University in the United States. The method is a kind of breakdown of his thought processes. Feynman is a pioneer in quantum electrodynamics and is considered one of the greatest physicists of all time.

The Feynman Technique consists of the following steps:

1. Select a subject

Write down everything you know about this topic. Then when you come across new sources of information, add them to the note.

2. Explain the facts to a child

If you can teach a child a particular topic, you are one step ahead.

Start with a blank note and write down the topic or subject that you would like to learn. Then hold onto everything you know about it. You should formulate everything in very simple words and understandably as if you were explaining it to a child.

You should note the following:

No technical terms: Children do not understand technical language or explanations with difficult words. The language of science is largely made up of complex terminology, which is why Feynman’s diagrams are so helpful. In it, he illustrates facts that other scientists explained in marathon lectures. If we leave out the technical jargon, we cannot hide behind terms that we cannot explain. Inflated concepts and business jargon prevent us from getting to the heart of the topic and imparting knowledge to others.

The spice is in the brevity: Due to the limited attention span of children, you have to present your concepts as quickly and precisely as if you had to explain your business idea in a short ride in the elevator. It would help if you were on the subject before the door opens. Children do not have the ability or the mental capacity to follow a train of thought that takes longer. If you find it difficult to capture your thoughts on the note, it shows that there is still a lot to learn. At this point, your imagination can also help you achieve learning success.

For Feynman, this very first step was what he liked so much about science: the unraveling of the various levels of his knowledge.

3. Identify your knowledge gaps

At this point, we come to the learning process. What are you missing? What do you not know yet? By recognizing gaps in your knowledge, you can better organize and organize your notes and put them into context (we’ll come to that in the next step). Now you can use your starting material (notes, ideas, etc.) if you wonder how much you know about the topic. If you don’t know something, look it up. Take a look at the source material and gather the information you can fill in the gaps.

4. Organizes information simplifies the language used and puts everything into context

Connects the individual findings and establishes the connections. Turn your notes into a concise explanation by linking the most important parts of the topic together.

Read this statement out loud to yourself, imagining yourself speaking in front of students in the classroom. You will notice when the whole thing no longer sounds simple and straightforward. If you stumble at one point, it could be a sign that your train of thought is not yet fully developed.

Use analogies and simple sentences to make your explanation easy to understand.

The following sentence by Feynman expresses the strength of his technique. What began as a question about our existence has been put into one sentence and is understandable for a 14-year-old.

All things consist of atoms – small particles that move forever, attract each other when they are a little apart, but repel when pressed against each other.

Feynman is expressing that the most basic scientific concept for a layperson in physics is that everything is made up of atoms. In one simple sentence, Feynman conveys the basis of our universe. This is a master class not only for scientists but also for writers of all kinds of texts. Sums up the hypothesis in as few words as possible and avoids clumsy or verbose language.

Learning things to last forever

The next time you have a blank page in a note in front of you, see it as a change. This technique is intended to help you study for exams and acquire new subject areas, but it can also be easily adapted and used for highly concentrated work. To do this, choose a notebook as a place where you can expand your knowledge, develop your ideas, and get inspiration to stay true to the continuous learning that is such an important foundation for deep and meaningful work.

Start Learning Today – The Feynman Technique