TLDR; I learned to memorize by reading and writing paper content I learned to look up using digital content. I find myself continually using indexing and ctrl-f to find information in digital content whereas I actually read and commit to memory when I read physical text and write physical notes.
Lessons I learned once and apparently have forgotten since
Yep. Awkward, right?
Hear me out.
I’m studying for my PMP exam (finally) and up until now I’ve been using PDF’s and the like to read and jot down notes.
Here I am, 20 days out from my test and the lesson I should have learned in University has reared it’s ugly head again. I can’t memorize things digitally.
In University I spent my first year, like many others, claiming I needed a laptop to make me more productive and to help me make good notes. By year 3 my laptop rarely breached my backpack (except for programming assignments and research) as all my notes and all my flash-cards and the like were HAND WRITTEN
This is a point that’s hard to make for a guy who makes his living with technology. Maybe it’s generational. Maybe my children will be able to study via this mechanism and be able to commit to memory. Maybe society and schooling / certifications / etc will evolve past the point of being able to remember but instead reward the ability of recall
I was driving home from work and was trying to think why this was a thing (anything to defer from actual studying) and I think that I came up with the reason why.
My first memories of search engines were from either late elementary or early junior high when I used the ‘advanced’ methods of searching on Altavista and Ask Jeeves and felt like a boss. Google eventually came about and replaced all my awesome complex searching abilities with way simpler and way more accurate plain text search. I had already had half of my academic life completed and relied on writing, reading text, and relying on remembering since it wasn’t so easy to simply search for an answer.
This is why I believe that, for me at least, studying and reading paper is more effective. I’ve always used (and use to this day) digital notes and digital content as a reference for when I need to look something up. I was reading my copy of the PMBoK and found myself incessantly hitting ctrl-f and typing in keywords to navigate me around the document. I learned which section (ish) to find the information I was looking for and I learned what patterns I was looking for, but I obviously haven’t memorized any of this information.
It seems as though it’s not just me!
That’s my random thought for today. Now I should stop procrastinating and get some work done, or some studying done :-D