Let's ORGANIZE self-teaching.

 Anonymous (@) 5 years, 6 months ago

Self-teaching is quite popular on here. The internet has brought about an autodidactism movement; just seeing all the free resources often results in my brain firing off in many different directions. There’s so much I want to learn! Does anyone else see a potential problem with that? I think it’s great that those resources are available, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed. Where should I start? What resources should I use? How could this be planned effectively?

My plan is to devise my own personal “learning plan” in the form of a “mind map.” I’ve seen it done for a number of subjects. Below this paragraph is one for math, although I did not make it. FreeMind is the program I’ll probably use, and will include resources, whether they’re websites, podcasts, books, videos, etc.


One thing I want to stress is planning my self-teaching effectively. What does that mean? Building skills in the right order (for example, it’s scary to me that many people don’t really understand the scientific method, especially peer review), and trying to avoid those gaps that prevent you from seeing how all your knowledge could be connected. That brings me to another point: I plan to include many things in this map. Keep in mind that they all branch out, and often overlap with one another.

There are broad subjects that will be included (such as math, programming, philosophy, etc.), but I also think things like effective learning are overlooked. I have a few questions for anyone who has read this far:

• Do you ever feel overwhelmed when trying to self-teach?
• Would you be interested in using something like this?
• Do you have any suggestions for what subjects could be covered?

I do not intend to include foreign languages in this (although you could make one of your own and post it), or represent certain things of questionable rigor as fact (although they can be included, it will just be made clear that they’re uncertain). I’ll give you some examples:

– There is currently no evidence to support the idea that quantum effects are directly responsible for consciousness. The best model proponents have to offer is the Penrose model, which has been debunked several times over

– Sorry, but no. The universe isn’t a fractal.

December 10, 2012 at 2:21 am
Lacey (4) (@livingparadox) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

I am so glad you posted this! I am having the exact same problem, I feel like an attention deficit crack addict haha. Running around in circles, trying to find the most efficient way to learn as much as I possibly can about the hundreds of subjects i’m interested in and getting nowhere. So I’m afraid I dont have much advice to offer here, my only tip would be to limit yourself to one or two subjects at a time and make a record of anything else you would be interesting in reading later down the track.
Right now I’m trying to learn spanish and Organic chemistry, I think it gets easier once you get used to taking things one step at a time.
Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has to say :)

Harvis (9) (@ewingt22) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Its something that needs to be personally structured. Like, select a topic from a list, go through all of the recommended steps (whether they be readings, discussions, or experiments (and I use that term loosely)), and “graduate” from that topic. Not something grade based necessarily, just something personally motivated- if you wanna do this stuff, youll learn a lot. I think one problem is commitment. People (including myself) like to dabble. Read here, practice there, gain knowledge and experience along the way.

Lacey (4) (@livingparadox) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

I’d also be really curious if anyone has any information on teaching oneself practical skills such as musical instruments or painting

Anonymous (60) (@) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

@livingparadox, don’t ask me about art (except art history and stick figures, lol), but I started playing piano when I was six. If I were you, I’d begin with music theory (I also love to explore the math involved). There’s also a wealth of videos and free sheet music available, but if you can you should try to also seek advice from people who play the instrument(s) you want to play (there are techniques that are taught best in person). Also, when you practice try to focus on the parts that are difficult for you.


Lacey (4) (@livingparadox) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

@dalniente, Cheers for that, I’ll give it a looksy :)

Lacey (4) (@livingparadox) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Looks good so far, I might’ve put the individual subjects into their own mind maps but I think an overall map would be useful as well. Just thought I’d let you know about http://springpad.com/, its a really good app for compiling content in one place in an organised way. I use it with mind meister quite often :)

Eric (1,818)M (@blankey) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

@dalniente, We all know that particles have a wave-particle duality, meaning, everything is set on frequencies. Waves have a frequency and particles are always waves. Also, we know from Einstein’s famous E = MC2 that all matter is nothing more than a form of energy. We only see .00003 of a centimeter of the energy radiation around us. We who see so little of the Universe, are so quick to reach conclusions based on the narrow limits of our visions.

“There is currently no evidence to support the idea that quantum effects are directly responsible for consciousness. The best model proponents have to offer is the Penrose model, which has been debunked several times over.”

When dealing with quantum mechanics, we are dealing with possibilities. Well then, what creates this ONE possible reality that you are in? You. Consciousness.

Ray Butler (1,422)M (@trek79) 5 years, 6 months ago ago
Anonymous (60) (@) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

@blankey, I didn’t intend on having the first page plagued with a debate over quantum quackery, but…

You shouldn’t just jam quantum mechanics into something and have it magically answer all of your questions. There are many interpretations that are experimentally indistinguishable; people leave the science behind and twist it to fit their own view. In all honesty, how much of a background in physics do you have?


Bryan Hellard (303)M (@xyver) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Check out the 4 Hour Chef by Tim Ferris, there is a sweet part at the beginning that teaches you to learn anything really fast.

Spoiler alert: Cheat sheets.

rocketman (4) (@rocketman) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Well, thanks to the internet we have great resources from the best universities around the world, such as MIT, Stanford or Oxford.
My self teaching is more of a “let’s fill the gaps” from my lectures at university, but I think it would be nice for people out there to have a “path” they can follow.
Maybe along with these mind maps you could include a list of the best resources from the web!
Good idea anyway :).

phanci3 (46) (@phanci3) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

This seems like a great idea. Most of my self-teaching is just stumbling or googling topics im interested in. I think it would be more helpful if someone else could give me a map; for instance, i want to understand this quantum physics stuff but find that articles about it are way over my head, so it would be helpful to know what i should learn first. Im sure i could figure that out myself too, maybe by looking at the order of courses quantum physics majors take in college or just by starting with general topics in physics. I want to make a point of slowing down when i read and writing about what ive learned in my journal because i do find in school that having to put together an essay about something helps me understand it in my own terms/language. This would also be helpful for sharing what i’ve learned with others, in conversation, etc. good idea all around i like your approch and i think its great you all are so interested im educating yourselves because many people dont.

Max Nachamkin (170)C (@feren6) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

@dalniente, Yeah, when you realize you don’t know a lot and that there’s so much to learn, it is overwhelming. The key is to pick one area and then focus on it. Once you learn it, move on.

But keep yourself focused. As in, cut off any information that’s not relevant to what you’re learning. Otherwise, it’ll be too overwhelming.

This is really cool though..self education is the way to go!

Taylor Little (71) (@tlrlittle) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

Just wanted to say it’s an incredible idea. Have you seen http://www.khanacademy.org/ that’s how I self-teach, you could get some great ideas from him. Also I think it would be good to still keep some of these wild interpretations in your “learning plan” as many of us come here in search of these radical ideas and avoiding mainstream learning. I think it’s just important to specify what is fact and what is an interpretation of something we can’t even begin to comprehend

Lacey (4) (@livingparadox) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

@tlrlittle, Thanks for posting, this site is awesome!
@dalniente, They have a really nice map at the link above, under ‘Practice’, only on basic math unfortunately but its a good example of a nicely organised map.

Anonymous (60) (@) 5 years, 6 months ago ago

@tlrlittle, thank you, but I joined a few years ago. I’ll definitely include Khan Academy resources, but (as for using it personally) I’ve exhausted most of its math and science resources. After differential equations I’ve relied mostly on books and professors to look over my work.

Another site I use:


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