How To Study Physics By Using Feynman Technique

A method of learning more efficiently.

how to learn by feynman technique

Richard Feynman was one of the world’s greatest scientists who won a nobel prize for physics in 1965. But we recognize him more as an outstanding teacher, a story-teller and an everyday joker whose life was a combination of his intelligence, curiosity and uncertainty.

Feynman was once asked in an interview whether an ordinary person could understand physics. After a brief pause, "of course!", he replied, "I was an ordinary person who studied hard."

In this post, you will learn to study physics by using the Feynman Technique, a method involving four easy steps, designed to help you understand concepts you do not really get and to remember stuff you have already learned.


1. Write

how to learn by feynman technique

This is a no-brainer. After reading, always write down everything you know about the topic on a notebook page, without looking. Add examples and illustrations in your notes whenever possible.

Why is it important to write? Because writing anything down makes us remember it better. This is also the reason why many life coaches advise to pen down our goals.


2. Explain

Explain what you have learned and written to an empty room.

how to learn by feynman technique

When you think you are ready, gather your best friend and explain the topic again to him/her. Please keep it simple.

Why is this step important? Because when one teaches, two learn. To be able to describe your understanding in words to another individual is a test really. But, ultimately, you will both benefit.


3. Analyze

how to learn by feynman technique

There is a famous saying and many attribute it to Feynman, "if you cannot explain it simply, you do not understand it", which is fairly obvious.

Is your friend satisfied with your teaching? Well, if not really, then it is time to revisit your notes for a revision. Why is that?

Because revision sometimes involves making major changes such as the deletion of entire paragraphs and the writing of simpler lines instead. It might better be called rewriting.


4. Repeat

how to learn by feynman technique

Now, because of revision, you have a better grasp of the topic. This time make your explanation more visual and relatable. Receive new feedback, compare and see if you did a better job at teaching.

Why is repetition important?

Because it is practice that makes one perfect. Walter Lewin, famous for his physics videos on YouTube used to teach to an empty hall four to seven times before actually taking a class!

You might say, "well, I am not aiming to become a teacher, honestly", and it is okay. Teaching is not exclusive but actually a part of the learning process.


Summing up

Feynman had once said, "I don't know what's the matter with people: they don't learn by understanding; they learn by some other way, by rote or something. Their knowledge is so fragile!"

Well, if you follow what is known as the Feynman Technique, you will definitely be able to learn more efficiently and firmly.

Comments

  1. The greatest teacher in the world

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