The moment you start reading

The moment you start reading

As a person who works in IT, I am really grateful for all the sources that helped me get to where I am today. All the YouTube videos, tutorials and courses I followed word by word. These things helped me learn so much when I nearly didn't know anything about computers.

But at some point, I came to realize that what got me from ignorant to beginner, wont get me from beginner to expert. It was when I no longer could find the answers for my questions on YouTube videos, or medium articles.

It was when I had to dig into books and research papers to finally grasp parts of the answer and connect the dots myself. That's when I realized I need to change my learning material to keep growing.

In this article we'll talk about how helpful it is to elevate the learning methods a person follows while learning new skills, with focus on reading material.

The old ways

When it's time to look for an information or learn a new skill, it is very tempting to go look for it in its most digestible format. A small paragraph, a short video or article. When it's time learn a bit more than the general idea, the easiest thing is starting an online course or tutorial and following it.

This practice can help getting a general idea of things, and acquire knowledge quickly, but we can all agree that it bottlenecks as the knowledge we seek gets more specific and harder to grasp.

Some people get stuck in the "tutorial hell". They can't do or learn anything if it's not available as a tutorial. They get used to consuming knowledge with the minimum effort of copying or learning by heart without having to dig beyond and get the information from more complete sources.

attention over quality

What's the last time your learned something from a YouTube ? Why does it feel that most content creators are just repeating each others ideas ? (minimalism, get rich quick, motivation... )

Social Media platforms favor the influencers with many views, long watch times and many followers because they can keep the viewers on the platform longer and also tempting them to come back frequently. This way they can earn more money through ads, and therefore the content creator earns money as well.

This business model encourages creating content that gets attention more than content that provides value, which makes it difficult for the user to find useful information on platforms like this. Because the content providers are competing over attention and not quality.

Cross to the other side

Content consumption is as important as your diet. The things you feed your mind will have affect the way you think and live. They can either make you successful or miserable. That's why it's important to carefully select your knowledge sources.

The gap between general knowledge and deep knowledge is wide. This is due to the abundance  of often vulgarized ideas for the public to understand. There is no problem with that, but when you will want to become an expert in something, simple content wont cut it.

"Where should I look for advanced knowledge ?" you might ask.

Advanced knowledge is usually presented in either complicated format (requiring prior knowledge) or long format. Examples of sources are books, research papers or articles from trusted sources. ( mostly reading material )

Reading and not watching

Aside from the known benefits of reading, it is considered to be a very effective way to consume knowledge. First, reading can be twice faster than watching. Second, reading is an active activity where the reader engages with the content and tries to connect with the author. Whereas watching is a passive activity that doesn't require a lot of effort. Needless to say that the quality of content in a video is tied to more than just the communicated message, it depends on the image and audio quality as well. In addition to body language or graphic effects depending on the video. Whereas reading requires just grammatically and logically correct sentences illustrating an idea or concept. Text is naked. The author can't hide beyond expensive cameras and professional editing. Which explains why we can spend hours going through YouTube videos and barely learning anything.

This was my take on how to elevate the learning material when it's time to acquire deep knowledge about a topic. I hope it helped you even if it was just a little. Please do not hesitate to read more articles on the blog and share value with your friends. Thank you for your time.