Front Page ITU Voices Ask ITU how to create effective processes for learning Reply To: how to create effective processes for learning

  • Vivien Tai

    January 15, 2022 at 5:20 pm

    This is a topic that I’ve been trying to work on myself! I came across the concept of a Zettelkasten recently – I highly recommend reading the book ‘How to take smart notes’ by Sonke Ahrens to learn more about it.

    The book talks about how learning is <font face=”inherit”>not the accumulation or regurgitation of facts, but about building a broad network of thinking tools, mental models, concepts and theories- and to do this, you need to discover connections and linkages between information you pick up. The Zettelkasten system helps to facilitate this learning process — you write down the notes from things you read, podcasts, videos, and any random thoughts throughout each day. The key is that you distinguish between “fleeting” and “literature” notes, and “permanent” notes which are ideas written in your own words, and there is only one idea per note. You can draw from multiple sources of info / readings to build each permanent note, and you can link the notes/ideas together to encourage lateral thinking and creativity. For example, I have one note called “Acceptance is the prerequisite to change”, </font>where I’ve consolidated Buddhist philosophy on acceptance, clinical psychologists’ view that accepting emotions is key to regulating them, and Oliver Burkeman’s argument that we need to accept our finitude as humans to live more peaceful lives.

    I used to use Evernote, but it became one messy system with a lot of clutter. I’m now shifting to building my Zettelkaten on Obsidian – still learning how to use it but I like it so far! I find that this system really makes me reflect more on my own views and ideas, and not just mindlessly jot down notes from others.