There is a distinction between effortful learning vs learning by watching youtube or reading blogs on phone. The latter is “edutainment” or in the best case, it’s a preparation for actual learning – it allows you to explore interesting topics fast and superficially.
After the exploration, one has to deeply engage with the topic, which means applying it in a project or making a blog post about it etc. Effortful, deliberate learning is what transforms ephemeral information into deep knowledge. You walk away with your head soaked and throbbing with learned ideas, the feeling is strongly visceral.

“It’s hard” is not a feeling you get when you learn. Unlike running, where your heart rate goes up (and therefore heart rate is an intrinsic part of running), learning doesn’t imply that you would feel hard. On the contrary, only when “it’s hard”, do you learn something.

This also comes up in spaced repetition and forced recall, where you need your mind to put in effort to become better at recalling information.

implication: when you read a book, take notes and not highlight

When you don’t know much about the topic, you might be highlighting the wrong things. Taking notes also give you the advantage of being able to link together ideas from different pages, which highlighting doesn’t.

implication: in a lecture/presentation, focus on the structure or organization

listening to lectures/presentations can often devolve into passive, conversational listening where you are not putting in much effort. Instead think about how the ideas are organized.


edutainment is not learning