I think the single most useful tool for novice learners of subjects, especially subjects with a very wide, very deep, well considered body of knowledge; is to get comfortable with imperfect abstractions. Just get comfortable saying to yourself "so there is this thing called x; and I don't really get it, but it seems to do y. Dunno how it does.".

When you first start learning a new body of knowledge; there are a lot of these. And they slowly get replaced with more and more precise abstractions as you start to map the contours of the knowledge-space.

When I was first learning computers. There were tons of those. If I'm honest, there still are. "CPUs have these things called registers; that are like tiny scratch pads for numbers."; "BGP is some protocol that big expensive switches use to route traffic to other big, expensive switches", and so on.

But the really cool thing, the thing that always baffles novices when they see some one more experianced seem to have a psychic intuitive sense; they might seem to "just know" how a thing they have never seen before works.

What'ss happening there, is as you explore more of a knowledge-space, and start to internalize more; you will start to have more points of reference to make better metaphors when you are building these abstractions. The abstractions start out more accurate from the jump. You have to do less work to resolve the fuzzy picture into one that's sharp enough to work with.

@rgegriff Aye. The knowledge base isn't an island or vault. It's a huge mental map that's constantly changing. They need to teach kids this stuff in schools rather than just cramming seemingly irrelevant stuff in their heads lol.

@rgegriff The Expert/novice paradigm is a psychology framing for this. The body of background knowledge+experience that an expert has makes them almost the worst person to teach a novice. By contrast, someone who is just a little bit ahead of the novice is often the best person because they share similar knowledge contexts.

Imperfect understand is correct understanding for a novice. If they could grasp it the way an expert does... they would not be a novice. :)

Encouragement 98% of the time. Encourage failure, it means they're trying something they've never done before or need to learn better. Engage frustration positively.

Sign in to participate in the conversation

A bunch of technomancers in the fediverse. This arcology is for all who wash up upon it's digital shore.