How to learn with org-mode 2 min read

Techniques and tools applicable with org-mode

Pomodoro - Focused and diffused mode

Learning a new skill is like a marathon we need to find the right pace to be able to keep the knowledge and avoid burnout.

The pomodoro technique introduced in the section 2.4 of the course can help us find a pace that may fit our workflow:

doing a pomodoro helps you just get past the pain and into the flow of the work…

You don’t always want to keep your focus on your learning. In fact, a valuable part of any learning process involves stepping back after periods of intent focus.

Allowing more diffuse mode consolidation to take place involving whatever you’re trying to master.

One option is to use org-pomodoro but it works more like a stopwatch than tan actual pomodoro.

The other route is to simply use the clocking commands on a task and use the org-clock-display as an overview of the time spent on task.

Outside org-mode apps like forestapp or study bunny both try to gamify timers which as mentioned in the book can be helpful when trying to create a habit.

Another great option may be focusmeter which aim to give you more flexibility and feedback on your timers.

Recall and building memory

When reading or trying to capture a new topic it’s a good idea to keep a “log” of the acquired knowledge, in her book “A Mind for Numbers” Barbara Oakley mentions the following on how to recall:

After you read a page, look away and recall the main ideas. Highlight very little, and never highlight anything you haven’t put in your mind first by recalling.

An ability to recall—to generate the ideas from inside yourself—is one of the key indicators of good learning.

With org-noter we can organize our highlight and notes of multiple documents, we can go back to the org file and open the document on any given note.

For recall the course introduces spaced repetition with org-mode we can make use of org-drill which has three different algorithms to choose from and a wide range of features. Best of all it only requires you to use the :drill: tag to make an item and combined with [] you can mark cloze text

Outside org-mode a great tool for space repetition is Anki and combined with Polar you can get flashcards for your readings (polar support PDFs and EPUBs) pretty quickly, the only downside to this may be that right now you have to organize your decks on Anki for the polar imports.

Another tool that looks interesting is neuracache but it doesn’t integrate with org-mode but works with almost everything else, looks really cool.