Do you want to boost your knowledge? There is one way that has become a new favorite of mine: listening to lectures. Among others, doing that has allowed me to write a post on overconfidence.
I’ve been a fan of audio learning for a long time, but in the past I mostly used the time to listen to podcasts. Recently, however, I spend more and more time listening to lectures. There are three reasons for this:
- Lectures give me deeper understanding of a topic
Unlike podcasts which could be all over the place, lectures are designed to dig deep into a topic. I love the depth of understanding I get from listening to lectures.
- Lectures satisfy my curiosity
I’m curious about many things and listening to lectures is a good way to satisfy my curiosity. There are lectures available on practically every topic imaginable. Furthermore, there is something different about listening as compared to reading. It gives me a fresh way to look at a subject.
- Lectures give me competitive advantage
In A Simple Guide to Finding Opportunities, I wrote that unconventional resources give you competitive advantage because less people use it. Audio lectures can be considered unconventional. Many people listen to podcasts, but how many of them listen to lectures? Not many, I believe. This is a good opportunity to increase my value.
Moreover, as with audio learning in general, I don’t need to spend extra time to listen to them. I can just use any low-intensity time I have. How good is that?
Now that we’ve seen some benefits of audio lectures, how should we learn from them? Here is how I do it:
- Find interesting lectures
My favorite place is iTunes U. It has tons of high-quality lectures that you can easily navigate. The important thing is to find something that’s interesting to you. This won’t be a problem if you are a curious person.
- Download the lectures
I usually listen to the lectures while doing something else, so I just download the audio version. Of course, you may download the video version if you want to.
- Find low-intensity time
You need to find low-intensity time for audio learning. In my case, I can’t do it while reading or writing. But for other tasks that require less concentration, I can usually parallel them with audio learning. Your commute or gym time can be used for this. There are more tips available about it in 6 Low-Intensity Moments for Audio Learning.
- Take notes of key terms
I don’t take extensive notes since it will take too much time. Instead, I just write the key terms I find. Since I already learn about the terms in the lecture, simply reading the list reminds me of the whole concept. On the other hand, the list can help me learn more about the topics that interest me.
- Read relevant Wikipedia articles
This is where my list of terms becomes useful. Since I already know the terms, I can easily find relevant Wikipedia articles that cover them. This deepens my understanding of the subject. I don’t apply this to all terms but only to those that I find interesting.
I believe that this single habit can make a big difference in the long term. I’m inspired by the breadth of topics that Bill Gates learns and this is the best method I’ve found so far to achieve similar results. It won’t give me as deep understanding as it would be if I fully follow the lectures, but it helps me learn the most important concepts. Later on, if I want to learn more about them, I already know where to go since I have the context in my mind.
Photo by Zitona