S3EP2: Getting resources, using mnemonics, and filling out a retrospective timetable for the destupidification challenge

The Autodidactic Podcast
The Autodidactic Podcast
S3EP2: Getting resources, using mnemonics, and filling out a retrospective timetable for the destupidification challenge
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Welcome to the audodidactic podcast season three, episode two. If you’re a new listener welcome aboard and if your a returning listener welcome back. I’m sorry for the delay in getting the podcast out this week. I underestimated the amount of time that video editing for the YouTube channel in order to do a simultaneous release would take.

In season one I covered a lot of the methods regarding how to be an autodidactic, and in season two I covered autodidactics of the past and some of the methods they used for self learning. This season I’m doing a series called “My Destupidifacation”.

In season three I will be using all of the techniques and methods I’ve discussed previously to show these techniques in action. However, since a lot of the techniques require some elements that are best shown visually I decided to show what I’m doing on my YouTube channel.

Therefore each week on the Autodidactic podcast I’m am going to cover the creation of lesson plans, the creation of self quizzes, the methods I am using to learn, how I’m going to find resources for learning, et cetera. Then on my YouTube channel I’m going to review at the end of each week how well I did and try to show visually what I did. So the idea is for example episode three of the Autodidactic podcast will be published at the same time as the video which shows the methods I discussed on the episode 2 podcast and the results.

I am hoping that listeners will be able to get value from seeing how I am using the methods which I discussed in seasons one and two in the real world.

To make this a little more challenging I have also decided all of the resources that I use should be free and legal. So this means I will be getting resources of the Internet or from the public library system, et cetera. I want to show that it is possible to do self-directed, self-learning with very little investment.

So this week on the Autodidactic podcast I’m going to look at getting resources, using mnemonics, and completion of a study plan using retrospective timetable.

Getting Resources

I have done my initial assessment of what I want to learn, how much I already know and how much time I want to allot to each topic. So the next thing is to find some resources. I covered finding study resources in Season 1 Episode 4 of the podcast. So you might want to go back an listen to that if you’ve not heard it already.

The resources you’re able to get will be very likely to impact your time allocations. For example, you might discover there are not textbooks available, and you need to log a lot of time watching videos.

In my study plan I have already created a list of topics for which I need materials, and the preferred material for me is something to read. I prefer written materials because it gives me the ability to skim parts, or skip things I already know. Unlike video presentations where I would more or less need to watch the entire thing. For written material I would prefer to have something from a recognised university or publisher when ever possible.

It is possible to find these books online as well as in the local library. It is only when a search for these fails that I would fall back on to YouTube videos, or perhaps Khan Academy videos. Not because the information isn’t accurate, but more because of the time cost associated with this type of medium.

For this season I’m not going to use any paid resources to get my study materials. You’ll remember that one of the constraints was not to spend money on resources or materials. This is obviously an artificial constraint which I’ve given myself. However, I’m going to ignore all the paid resources which I listed in season one, episode 4.

Typically my local library would be my first point of call, but I decided that because of the time it would take to find and then reserve the textbooks I would try an online search first.

There are a number of organisations and people who release textbooks under a creative Commons or public domain licence. You can download a number of these directly from the sites. An Internet search will provide you with a number of other sites but I will give these three honourable mention.

people.math.gatech.edu

openculture.com/free_textbooks

open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/

I managed to find just about all the textbooks I needed from the last one the Open Textbook Library. I managed to find textbooks for Physics, Human Geography, Physical Geography, Probability, and Chemistry. While these are college level textbooks, I downloaded the introductory textbooks where I could. This is because my aim is high school level knowledge not university level in these topics. For statistics I already have a physical book which I’ll use.

A problematic topic for me was British history. There aren’t any online textbooks so I went to the local library and placed a couple of books on-hold. Luckily for me my local library has an online interface where I can search for the books and then reserve them. When they are ready they are delivered to my local library for pickup. In the meanwhile I’ll either not do any study or attempt to find something else online.

I couldn’t find a Biology textbook online which I wanted. So I have decided to watch some videos which are available on the Khan Academy website.

Finally I turned my attention to English literature and needed to find some poetry, works from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries as well as something written by Bill Shakespeare. Do I headed off first to Project Gutenberg who’s mission is “To encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks.”

Here I found all of the works of Shakespeare and a ton of literature to choose from. If you’re looking for books or literature from the past this is a great place to visit.

That took took care of most of my resource needs and I then needed to turn my attention to mnemonics.

Using Mnemonics

In season 1 episode 6 I covered the usage of mnemonics for remembering things you need to learn. Mnemonics is a word derived from the old Greek Goddess of memory. You can listen to the season 1 episode 6 podcast for the full details on this subject. But I plan to use a number of mnemonics techniques in my season 3 challenge.

So a quick reminder of the techniques:

  • Rhyming
  • Storytelling or Chain System
  • Sentence Systems
  • POA (Person Object Action)
  • System of Loci
  • Acronyms

The techniques I’ll be using will be:

  • POA / Dominic method
  • Story / Chain System
  • Sentence systems

The Dominic method is named after it’s inventor, 8 times memory champion Dominic O’Brien. It is a PA (or person-action) system where you memorise the numbers 0-100 where each number is represented by a person and each person has an action. Because I’ve previously memorised the 0-100 person and action list for myself I can now use this system confidently to memorise other numbers. For example I’ve already memorised PI to 50 decimal places.

The Story system is where you chain together images in order to remember disparate things. So you might imagine a story. For example if I want to remember the 3 things required for photosynthesis, sunlight, water, carbon dioxide. I might make up a story where I am walking around in a hothouse will of plants, but the sunlight is do bright it is making me sweat, and the water pours off me like a river, the only way to stop the sweat is to soak it up with a huge towel that says carbon dioxide on it.

Sentence systems are things I used to use to remember things, but might not be accurate any longer, such as: My Very Excited Mother Just Served Us New Potatoes.

Of course now that scientists have demoted Pluto from being a planet, I need a new sentence to memorise the planets in order from the sun.

For phone numbers, birthdays, for my family and friends I will probably use a combination of the Story and Dominic methods.

Creation of a Retrospective Timetable

I’ll also create a Retrospective Timetable which is related to the Retrospective Revision Timetable which I mentioned in Season 1 episode 11. If you go back and listen to that podcast you can see that I’m actually adapting the methods I talked about then to fit my requirements now. All the methods which I’ve talked about in the show can be modified to fit your needs and objectives.

Retrospective Revision Timetable is when you list all the subjects and topics which you need to review for a test, then you do a review and flag the review with the date you did it, and how well you did, Green, Amber, Red. Then the next time you sit down to review, you pick something you haven’t yet done. After you’ve done them all you go back and do all the topics you flagged as red, then keep doing that until you’ve eliminated all the red, and work you way through the yellow, then the green. The idea here is that you’ll only be studying the things you are worst at in order to bring them up to a green level. There isn’t any point wasting time before your examination on things you already know.

A Retrospective Timetable is similar, but because you are using this to study not to review, you flag things slightly differently. First you list all the topics to be studied, just like before, then you study them, making sure to study each thing. Each time you study you again flag it as red, amber, green, but here you are only saying how difficult you are finding the topic or the textbook you’re studying. You flag this because it can be an indicator that you might have selected material that is too high a level or too low a level for you. It can help you to identify when you need to find more help or perhaps more difficult materials.

The ideal would be marking everything with amber (yellow) to indicate that this material is “just right” as goldilocks would say.

I’ll be showing my completed Retrospective Timetable on the YouTube channel and I’ll show some of the techniques for mnemonics. I will post links to the YouTube channel on the autodidactic website and in the transcription of this podcast. The transcriptions and the links are at https://autodidactic.info

If you have any comments or suggestions regarding this series or any of the previous series you can contact me at rick@autodidactic.info. Or post a comment on the website or on the YouTube channel.

That you for listening, and I hope to see you next week.

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