Named after the pioneer of Quantum Electrodynamics and Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman, also known as the “Great Explainer,” the Feynman Technique is a fruitful yet unpopular concept, which we will discuss in this article.
You must have heard the famous quote which goes by:
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
Although there are theories and assumptions on who stated it, often credited to Albert Einstein, the Feynman Technique revolves around this quote. Let’s cut short the introduction and dive into the Feynman Technique.
What is the Feynman Technique?
In short, it is a method to learn a concept from its base to the top and be crystal clear about it. Most of us follow the same technique to learn: go through the resources, understand them, and write them down for a better understanding. The Feynman Technique includes something more.
1. Understand the concept by Yourself
First, go through the topic, read it yourself, gather resources, and spend time on it. Learn it to its core and read everything available to you in your domain of study. It’s better to make proper notes for future reference.
Whenever you come across any new additions to the concepts that you either didn’t notice or forget to note down, immediately write them down in those notes. Try to write everything that you learn as writing helps tremendously to understand the concepts and memorize them.
2. Teach it to a friend or pretend to teach it to a child
Not everyone will be able to understand the topic as fluently as you did. One of your friends or the other will have doubts. Grab the opportunity and tell them you will make him or her understand it. Sit with your friend, take a pen and paper and be the professor for your friend. Use as lucid an explanation as possible. You can also explain an imaginary child with zero pre-requisite knowledge and start explaining the concept to the child in your mind while writing on the paper.
Understanding a topic is complete only when you can make someone else understand it without a doubt. While explaining, you will come across your knowledge gaps and points in the topic that you need revisiting. Note them down and progress to the next point.
3. Go back to the study materials or browse the internet to find the solutions
Now that you are aware of your gaps and points holding you back, start your research. Go through your source, scroll the web pages and watch YouTube videos to resolve your doubt. Take help of any source you want, be it books, pdfs, notes, videos, blogs, or anything, even your friends or seniors who know the concepts well.
Our goal now is to fill the gaps we discovered and return satiated.
4. Revisit the notes and simplify them
Since you have a bird’s eye view of the concept, get the notes you had written earlier and modify and simplify them. Try creating analogies, relating to real-world examples, and rewriting or editing the notes for a clear understanding. And then return to step 1.
The cycle of the Feynman technique goes on, making topics printed as vividly on the memory as the sky on a sunny day.