You’ve probably heard about Richard Feynman physicst and a Nobel price winner. Are you wondering what does he have to do with programming or blogging? I’ll explain it in a moment, but let’s start with one of the more interesting skills he had. He was nicknamed “The Great Explainer” because he could explain complex and difficult subjects to almost anyone. Feynman developed this skill in order to identify his own gaps in knowledge and understanding. He believed that you only truly know something only when you can lay it out in simple terms.
The best of it is that this skill is something everyone can learn, in fact there are only a couple of steps you need to do to start using it right away.
The Feynman technique
The technique is rather easy, it comprises of following steps:
Firstly you need to acquire knowledge. Obviously if you start with something new then you need to study for a while. If you already know something about the topic then go to next phase.
The next step is to test your understanding. What you should do is to put your knowledge on paper or explain it to someone else. Go ahead and write down everything you know about your topic as you would try to explain it to someone else. Teaching is really about explaining a concept in simple manners, so try to teach in simple terms. If you got stuck or cannot explain it, then you have a gap in knowledge or understanding, which means that you need to study more.
Review and simplify
Find out what you didn’t know. Check what parts are not clear or just get feedback from other people. Try to find better (simpler) ways of explanation. You should repeat the whole process until you’re satisified with results.
What does it have to do with programming and blogging?
Now, you can guess how it fits programming and blogging. This blog is about programming, software development etc and blogging seems to be one of better ways of applying Feynman technique.
This skill can be used to learn new concepts as well as to achieve master of the topics you already know.
The crux of the technique is communication, if you really know something then someone reading your notes or hearing you will understand it. You can come up with great examples and easy explanations, but ultimately you will be able only to test it only by giving it out to other people.
Feynman approach helps in many areas, not only you gain clarity of your subject, but you all get to know what you don’t know. This technique also trains you in communication, which is a must for people of all professions.