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Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by zxspectrum, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. zxspectrum

    zxspectrum Gigabyte Poster Premium Member

    Can i ust ask people how they go about getting information from books??? Do you ust soak it up or do you have a method like say read solid for an hour then have a break??? Im wondering as i have some books on distributed systems, java and networks, and im finding that certain bits of information stick and the majority. Does anyone have any tips on how to get more to stick???

    Certifications: BSc computing and information systems
    WIP: 70-680
  2. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    I suppose it depends on the type of book.

    When I was doing .NET stuff, the books I had were full of exercises and examples.
    So I'd read the theory bit, run through the exercise and then go back over the theory.
    I found that having done the exercise gave me a better understanding of what was going on.

    With books that are heavy on theory, I make notes.
    So for example, I try and sum up each paragraph in a sentence or two of my own.
    Writing things down engages your brain mre than just reading does, and trying to rephrase things in your own words means you have to do additional processing of information.

    Then at the end of each section I go back over my notes and summarise them even further, say as bullets.
    The extra plus side then is that you have some handy revision notes for later on.

    Personally though I prefer books with lots of pictures...

    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  3. supernova

    supernova Gigabyte Poster

    me too :D

    i make note ,however, it ends up taking me ages i always go over the top. I have yet to perfect it.
    Certifications: Loads
    WIP: Lots
  4. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    Generally I find remebering computer related stuff much easier than non computer stuff, my interest in the subject makes the information stick.

    I think a positive and fun attitude to the topic will help it sink in, if you have a negative attitude to a subject you can create mental blocks.

    Occasionally I may need to re-read pages on highly technical subjects, when I was starting out sometimes I might read a page in say Bjarne Stroustrup's The C++ Language 5 times.

    I find building up mental images, interpretting the information, putting it into context, thinking how you might apply it, or why things might be that way, how did they get discovered or invented, what are the driving forces at work and motivations, what is the history of the subject, what are the alternatives or competing approaches. How does it fit into my world view ? How does it mesh with what I already know about the world, systems, electricity, science, people etc ?
    Are the claims true or just opinion or marketing ? What evidence exists ? Has it been independently verified ? Was it undertaken in the right conditions ? Was the sample size realistic ? Do similar phenomena exist ? etc.
    Do you need to re-evaluate your existing knowledge in light of this new information ? Does it fit ? If not why not ? Do you need to drop, alter, or refine your existing views or knowledge ?

    Diagrams can sometimes help build the mental picture and put things into context, as can practice and experience. Basically you are building a mental map, however you come across the information, by text, video, experience, conversation, etc.

    Having a consitent world view becomes like building a house or car, all the parts reinforce the other parts, this makes remembering things easier, the gearbox goes between the engine and the drivetrain etc. It then becomes possible to formulate theories or infer answers based on the logical models you have built. If I double the horsepower will the clutch overheat etc ? Some people call these 'thought experiments'.

    Thats why I find it strange when supposedly logical people manage to build strangely inconsistent mental maps as has been discussed on certforums before with regards to religion.

    Some people find motion or sound useful, it's not a technique I use, muslims and buddhists use this to help memorise their religious texts. The closest I sometimes do is use a mnemonic or rhyme for exams when I must remember an ordered list by wrote for an exam.

    Ulimately its the meaning thats important to me, the 'why', not the 'what', therefore its not always important that things 'stick', you shouldn't always sweat the details. It really depends on context. In the real world you can research things and use reference materials, without understanding and the ability to apply critical thinking you will not be able to accomplish much regardless how of how many facts you have memorized.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2009
  5. Evilwheato

    Evilwheato Kilobyte Poster

    Honestly, people learn in different ways- I find making lists and taking notes helps when I've read the book from cover to cover :)
    I would normally take 20/30 mins bites on a book, go and do something else and come back to it. I've found if I read a chapter without stopping a lot of it doesn't sink in.
    Take a look at something like this- see what works for you :)
  6. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster


    Yep, VARK is very interesting. We've been looking at that on my PTLLS course :biggrin
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  7. GiddyG

    GiddyG Terabyte Poster Gold Member

    Apparently, I have a multi-modal (VARK) learning preference. :blink
  8. UKDarkstar
    Honorary Member

    UKDarkstar Terabyte Poster

    Likewise ! :biggrin
    Certifications: BA (Hons), MBCS, CITP, MInstLM, ITIL v3 Fdn, PTLLS, CELTA
    WIP: CMALT (about to submit), DTLLS (on hold until 2012)
  9. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    I take note as Im reading a book, mostly on the parts that I think I need to spend more time on. I`ll then do some lab work and refer to Technet to get some more info. Works for the MS exams.
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Office 365, Server 2016, CEH

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