Hollstlc Loornlnq

How to Stud; Bottor, Undorstond Moro ond
Actuoll; ¨Got¨ Whot You Wont to Loorn
Scorr H Young
hrrp://vvv.scorrhyoung.com/Llog/

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About tho Book
Holisric learning is a process for learning more effecrively. The concepr for holisric learning
came our of several small arricles I vrore Leginning virh a popular enrry enrirled, ¨Hov ro Ace
Your Finals Wirhour Srudying." The main idea I presenred vas rhar some people efforrlessly
learn nev conceprs and marerial vhile orhers srruggle. I Lelieve rhar rhe difference Lerveen
rhese facrors is mosrly due ro a process called holisric learning.
As many people vho read rhe inirial arricles on holisric learning commenred, you may
norice rhar your ovn learning sryle closely reflecrs holisric learning. Holisric learning isn'r a nev
rechnique or revolurionary idea. Ir is simply a vay of explaining hov smarr people rhink!
If you don'r have rime ro read rhe Look, here is a quick summary of vhar ir's
aLour:

Holisric learning is rhe opposire of rore memorizarion. Insread of learning rhrough force,
your goal is ro creare veLs of informarion rhar link rogerher.

Your goal vhen learning anyrhing is ro creare a consrrucr or an underlying undersranding.

Consrrucrs are formed from models, chunks of undersranding rhar aren'r complerely
accurare Lur can Le used ro solve proLlems.

You creare veLs of informarion, consrrucrs and models Ly visceralizing, meraphor and
exploring

Holisric learning vorks virh highly conceprual informarion vhere rhere is an underlying
sysrem. Ir doesn'r vork vell virh arLirrary informarion or skills.

Toblo ol Contonts
5 A OuIz und u Conreor
8 HoIIorIc LeurnIng: lnrroducrIon
10 HoIIorIc LeurnIng VS Rore MemorIzurIon
11 CreurIng u Conorrucr
13 Srurr WIrh u ModeI
15 Hou ro Leurn HoIIorIcuIIu
16 Merhod One: VIoceruIIzurIon
18 Merhod Tuo: Meruphor
20 Merhod Three: E×pIore
22 CrIrIcIomo o[ HoIIorIc LeurnIng
24 Summuru
26 ConrInuIng WIrh HoIIorIc LeurnIng

Ir's already noon and I'm gerring rhar
gnaving feeling in my sromach like a small child
making demands in a roy srore. I rell myself ir's
lunchrime and rhar seems ro sariare me as if I iusr
rold rhe kid he mighr have rhe roy if he iusr shurs up
for a Lir. The inrercom inrerruprs me and calls me
dovn ro rhe office. Whar nov!
¨Looks like you have a resr ro vrire," rhe secrerary says cheerfully. Whar! I don'r
rememLer Leing asked ro vrire a resr. My sromach seems ro snarl ar me in conrempr of my
earlier arremprs ro placare ir. ¨Iusr go dovn rhe hall, you can vrire your exam in rhere."
Chemisrry. One of rhose scholasric conresrs. Usually mulriple choice. Alrhough rhey are
supposed ro resr you on rhe course marerial, rhey alvays slip in quesrions Lased on sruff you've
never even seen Lefore. FroLaLly ro separare our rhe kids rhar iusr venr ro class and rhose rhar
venr ro exrended srudy sessions and Loughr Universiry rexrLooks. I iusr vish I had knovn
aLour ir Leforehand.
Iusr ger ir over virh. We didn'r cover
mosr of rhe quesrions in class, Lur a lirrle Lir
of creariviry can go a long vay. I have sixry
minures, Lur I finish in forry. Likely a silenr
Largain my suLconscious made virh my
digesrive sysrem.

Three veeks go Ly.
¨Congrarularions. Looks like firsr place." Ten names go dovn in descending order.
I feel a Lir of pride Leing rhe only person ourside rhe Lig ciry ro Le on rhe lisr. Firsr
place and a check for a lirrle under five hundred Lucks. Nor Lad for less rhan an hour.
Undeserved Talenr!
I shouldn'r have Leen aLle ro vin rhar conresr.
I vasn'r raughr more. Over half rhe marerial on rhe resr vas on conceprs rhar vere only
vaguely familiar. I had ro vrire an essay on rhe chemical properries of soap. The only rime soap vas
menrioned in my class vould have Leen in a reference ro vashing your hands.
I didn'r srudy more. My advanced varning hovered ar around five minures. I can only
assume rhar rhe orher nine names lisred along virh me on rhe conresr resulrs proLaLly ar leasr knev
rhey vere vriring ir. Given rhe presrige of rhe conresr, I'm guessing rhey proLaLly ar leasr opened
rheir rexrLooks ro srudy.
I didn'r rry harder. I didn'r Lorher checking over my quesrions. I iusr colored in rhe dors,
vrore rhe essay and handed ir in.
The vorsr parr rhough, I vasn'r enrirely surprised. Alrhough rhis vas my firsr Lig vin, I had
alvays done vell academically. I rarely srudied for resrs and exams and vhen I did srudy ir vas
closer ro a quick skim rhan a derailed session. School vas never really more rhan an aLsrracrion
vhile I vorked on more inreresring proiecrs.

To someone vho srruggled ar school or even for someone rhar could succeed Lur had ro vork hard,
my success seems prerry undeserved. This firsr srory may seem like an unnecessary display of Lravado.
Bur I vrire aLour my success, hovever minor, nor Lecause I'm so special Lur Lecause I'm acrually fairly
common.
I have mer, knovn and researched many people vho had vhar appears ro Le a similar gifr. An
aLiliry ro undersrand rhings efforrlessly. Wherher inside rhe classroom or in life, cerrain people seem ro
have a knack for quickly undersranding conceprs. Ir can manifesr irself in rhe humLle genius vho vorks
as a ianiror Lur can rell you aLour any maior hisrorical evenr or an Einsrein vho revolurionizes our vay of
rhinking and rhe vorld ve live in.
This Lorhers me. I'm nor sarisfied virh rhe explanarion of gifredness or innare ralenr. Thar sounds
more like an elirisr excuse devised Ly rhe smarr ro explain vhy rheir resulrs can'r Le replicared. I vanred
ro knov hov some people managed ro learn fasrer. I vanred ro knov vherher ir vas more rhan iusr a
gifr Lur an aLiliry rhar could Le pracriced.
Fsychologisrs have knovn for a long rime rhar inrelligence is parrially generic and parrially
environmenral. So ir can Le easy ro dismiss exceprional smarrs as Leing from genes, grear parenring or
somerhing in rhe varer. Bur rememLer, Lefore dyes, hair color vas enrirely generic roo. A superior
srraregy for learning can help shifr vhar vas once only a gifr ro an aLiliry rhar can Le rrained.

Holisric Learning
To say rhe difference in inrelligence is rhe resulr of a single skill vould Le naive ar Lesr and a gross
misrepresenrarion ar vorsr. Mosr researchers Lelieve genius is comprised of numerous aLiliries from
crearive proLlem solving ro arhleric or musical skill.
Bur in my oLservarions of hov I learn and hov orher people, far more inrelligenr rhan myself, learn
rhere vas one facror rhar really sruck our. Feople vho learned conceprs easily didn'r learn rhe same vay
orher people did. Ir vasn'r rhar rhey vere using rhe same srraregy more effecrively. These people vere
operaring from a complerely differenr approach rhar a casual glance could easily miss.
I call rhis approach, holisric learning. Holisric learning is Lasically rhe opposire of rore
memorizarion. Insread of rrying ro pound informarion inro your Lrain virh rhe hopes ir vill simply fall
our vhen you need ir, holisric learning is rhe process of veaving rhe knovledge you are learning inro
everyrhing you already undersrand.
Rore memorizarion focuses on learning
rhrough individual Loxes of informarion. Like a
compurer filing sysrem, everyrhing is near,
organized and separare from each orher. You have
a Lox laLeled science, one for hisrory, one for rhe
movie you varched lasr veek and anorher for your
ioL. These Loxes are splir inro more Loxes. Your
science Lox has a separare one for Liology and
physics. Fhysics has unique Loxes for differenr
formulas and conceprs.

The proLlem is rhar your Lrain isn'r a compurer
filing sysrem. Ir's a nervork of inrerconnecred neurons.
When you need informarion you are iusr hoping rhar
you srumLle upon rhe rhread rhar leads ro rhe Lox you
vanr. Orhervise you're screved.
Holisric learning is messy. Ir doesn'r pur rhings
inro Loxes nearly. Insread ir righrly inrerveaves
conceprs rogerher. Science conceprs remind you of
hisrory vhich remind you of rhe movie you sav lasr
veek and rhe proiecr ar your ioL romorrov. Wirhin
each general suLiecr area, your veL is even more righrly
inrervoven. Every concepr in physics is linked virh
almosr every orher.

A righr veL means rhar vhen one parhvay is Llocked, rhere are hundreds of orhers rhar lead ro rhe same
poinr of informarion. Tighr veLs may seem like an aLsrracr concepr, Lur you knov rhe feeling vhen you have
one. A righr veL resulrs in rhe feeling of ¨gerring" ir. You undersrand rhe suLiecr or concepr so rhoroughly
rhar aspecrs of ir seem oLvious and rrivial.
When I had ro vrire rhe essay porrion of my exam rhe suLiecr vas rhe chemical composirion of soap.
Nov our chemisrry class never covered soap, or even organic molecules. So hov did I vrire rhe essay! I used
rhe veL I had creared. Thinking aLour soap reminded me of a Lrief video I sav in Liology comparing soap
molecules ro far. Ir also reminded me of a rrip ro a reenacred pioneer serrlemenr vhere rhey vere making soap
from animal far and lye. Each piece of informarion on irs ovn is incomplere, Lur rogerher rhey vere srrong
enough rhar I had somerhing ro vrire aLour.

Comparing Rore Memorizarion ro Holisric Learning
Rore Memorizarion

Organizes Ideas inro Boxes

Keeps SuLiecrs and Conceprs
Disrincr

Fev Neural Farhs ro rhe Same
Idea

Vievs Conceprs Through One
Ferspecrive

Aims ro Learn Through
Reperirion
Holisric Learning

Organized Ideas inro WeLs

Inrerrelares SuLiecrs and
Conceprs

Many Neural Farhs ro rhe Same
Idea

Vievs Conceprs Through Many
Unique Ferspecrives and Senses

Aims ro Learn Ly Relaring

Crearing a Consrrucr
A Lrick on irs ovn is iusr a Lrick. Five
hundred Lricks on rheir ovn Lecome iusr a pile of
Lricks. Bur virh rhe righr plan and layour, five
hundred Lricks rogerher can Luild a house.
Looking ar each Lrick doesn'r give iusrice ro rhe
design and usefulness of rhe house irself.
The linkages in holisric learning are iusr Lricks. On rheir ovn rhey aren'r very impressive or
useful. Bur vhen you pur rogerher properly rhey form vhar I'm going ro call a consrrucr. Your
consrrucr is rhe sum roral of your veL. Ir is hov all rhe ideas fir rogerher ro creare an
undersranding of a complex idea.
A consrrucr is impossiLle ro communicare, unforrunarely. When you are Leing raughr a
suLiecr or you are learning ir on your ovn, you are gerring Lricks fed ro you one Ly one. If your
lucky you mighr have a rough Llueprinr of hov ro organize rhe Lricks, Lur if rhere aren'r enough
linkages or rhey are assemLled improperly rhe resulr is confusion.

¨I Don'r Ger Ir"
You can rell you haven'r learned holisrically vhen you don'r ¨ger" rhe concepr. You may have heard
and inrerprered rhe informarion properly, Lur you don'r undersrand ir on a deeper level. All you have is a
pile of Lricks, Lur you can'r see hov rhey fir rogerher.
The firsr key ro Luilding a house is ro realize rhar's vhar you are rrying ro do. Your goal vhen learning
any complex suLiecr or field should Le ro Luild a consrrucr. A framevork of undersranding in vhich your
veL of knovledge occupies. I rake very fev nores in classes and I srudy rhem even less. My goal in every
class is ro Luild a consrrucr nor ro rranscriLe vhar vas said. Taking nores can Le helpful Lur realize rhar is
only an inrermediare rool ro your grearer goal. Having a vorkaLle consrrucr.
The Leaury of having a consrrucr and nor a memorized lisr of informarion is consrrucrs are much easier
ro mainrain. If I shoved you a pile of Lricks and removed one of rhem, vould you Le aLle ro rell me vhere
ir goes. FossiLly if rhe pile vas ren or rvenry Lricks. Bur vhar aLour a hundred! A rhousand! A million
Lricks! Would you srill knov vhere rhe missing Lrick should go!
Nov if I shoved you a Lrick Luilding and removed one of rhe Lricks, could you rell me vhere ir is
supposed ro go! FroLaLly immediarely. Even if rhe Luilding consisred of over a million Lricks, a quick scan
vould shov vhere rhe hole in rhe Luilding lay and vhere rhe missing Lrick could Le found.
You don'r need every Lrick ro mainrain rhe srrucrural inregriry of a house. You don'r need every piece
of informarion ro mainrain rhe inregriry of your undersranding. When you have a consrrucr, you can solve
difficulr proLlems even vhen rhere is a lor of missing informarion. You simply look ar your consrrucr, see
vhere rhe holes poinr ro and fill rhem in.
Mosr people incorrecrly assume you can'r ansver quesrions you haven'r Leen raughr hov ro ansver.
Bur as long as you have a relarively sraLle consrrucr, you can find vays around rhe missing informarion.
When one parh gers shur dovn you rake a differenr roure. When I rake a resr I can usually find a vay ro
solve rhe proLlem even if I forger rhe merhod I vas raughr.

Srarr Wirh a Model
If you vanred ro design a skyscraper, you
vouldn'r srarr Ly Luying some land and laying
Lricks, vould you! No, you'd srarr Ly Luilding a
model. A model is nor rhe same as a consrrucr.
A consrrucr is a complere ser of undersrandings.
A consrrucr for marh allovs you ro solve any
proLlem in marh.
A model is a quick represenrarion of rhe idea you are rrying ro relare or undersrand. Ir is an
incomplere and remporary solurion. Wirhour Luilding a dozens of models any arremprs ro form a consrrucr
vill collapse. Trying ro undersrand everyrhing ar once is impossiLle for rhe conscious mind ro handle.
Building individual models can give you a chance ro srirch rhem rogerher inro a complere consrrucr.
Recenrly I rook a course in Vecrors and Linear AlgeLra. A very aLsrracr course vhere mosr people
have difficulry forming a consrrucr. When rhe concepr of a suLspace vas inrroduced, I vas losr. I needed a
consrrucr for rhe concepr, Lur ir vas roo Lroad ro immediarely grasp. So I looked for a model.
The model I chose vas a visual represenrarion of vhar I figured an idealized suLspace mighr look like.
I imagined a suLspace as Leing a plane suspended in rhree dimensions. The visualizarion vas as vivid as ir
vas auromaric. I can rememLer rhe plane Leing red and rranslucenr slicing rhrough a Llue-gray vacuum of
rhree dimensional space.

This model vas nor a consrrucr. A plane in 3D is iusr
one of many differenr rypes of suLspaces. Bur virhour ir, a
suLspace vould have iusr Leen a Lunch of rules and
numLers. Even if rhe model vas inaccurare, I could use ir
as a Lasis for refining and expanding rhe evenrual consrrucr.
Links form inro simple models vhich form inro
overall consrrucrs. Layered crearions of undersranding.
Effecrive consrrucrs also link ourside of vhere rhey are
applicaLle. Once I had a consrrucr prepared for suLspaces, I
srarred ro viev my ovn experience as a suLspace of realiry.
Consrrucrs rhar Lecome islands are vorrhless vhen rhere is a proLlem rhar exisrs Lerveen rhem.
Inrerlinking your consrrucrs helps funnel proLlems ourside of rheir influence zone inro realms of
undersranding. When I vrore rhar essay on soap, soap vas ourside of my consrrucrs. Bur Lecause my
consrrucrs vere inrerlinked, ir vas funneled inro differenr consrrucrs Lased on my experiences in
differenr places.

Hov ro Learn Holisrically
I've iusr spenr a fair Lir of rime rrying ro explain vhar holisric learning is and ro Lreak dovn
rhe idea of veLs inro consrrucrs and models. Bur hov rhe heck do you acrually do ir! This is a good
quesrion. Mosr people vho learn holisrically use ir Ly defaulr. There aren'r rhar many conscious
rechniques. When I need a model, I find one. When I have enough models I form a consrrucr.
When I learn informarion I rry ro link ir virhin and ourside my consrrucrs.
Bur despire rhe sysrem I use ro form consrrucrs, I Lelieve ir is a skill rhar can Le pracriced and
learned. I'd like ro cover some specific merhods for forming models and consrrucrs and inrerlinking
your veL.
When you are ready, I Lelieve mosr rhese rechniques can Le done enrirely menrally. You
don'r need ro use your fingers or a pencil and paper ro calculare 5+3. Similarly, virh enough
pracrice you can proLaLly find yourself auromarically using rhese rechniques inside your head. Bur
unril you ger used ro rhinking rhis vay as a haLir, you vill proLaLly vanr ro acrually vrire our rhe
process ro reinforce ir.
Holisric learning is a skill rhar rakes pracrice. I don'r Lelieve in quick fix solurions, and holisric
learning cerrainly isn'r one of rhem. These rechniques should allov a small, immediare Loosr in
comprehension, Lur rhe real goal of a highly inrerlinked veL rakes rime.

Merhod One: Visceralizarion
A model isn'r a grouping of ideas, ir's
an experience. A frequenr misrake I see
people making is rhar rhey rry ro
undersrand somerhing Ly grouping
rogerher rules and ideas. This seems
logical, Lur ir is an inefficienr vay ro
inrerlink and is lirrle Lerrer rhan Lrure
force memorizarion.
Insread you vanr ro summarize conceprs and ideas virh a specific image or feeling. I call rhis
rechnique ¨visceralizarion" and nor visualizarion Lecause ir doesn'r have ro Le a picrure. The Lesr
¨visceralizarions" are comLinarions of images, sounds, feelings and rexrures. Depending on your learning
preference you may see, hear or feel ideas. More rhan iusr a picrure, you vanr an experience.
By visceralizing you are raking somerhing rhar is aLsrracr and making ir rangiLle. This creares a
vorkaLle model rhar can Le comLined and undersrood. Think of visceralizing like your Lrains version of
zipping a file. When you zip a file you rake many Lyres and compress rhem inro a smaller space removing
redundanr elemenrs. Visceralizing means raking a handful of conceprs and rurning rhem inro a single
vorkaLle experience.

Hov To Visceralize
You proLaLly already use rhis merhod ro some exrenr. This ofren happens vhen an aurhor
visceralizes a concepr for you. By descriLing rhe concepr in a menral picrure or feeling he or she can push
you rovards crearing a model. Holisric learning means you need ro do rhis process on your ovn vhen an
easy model isn'r handed ro you.
If you aren'r sure exacrly hov ro do rhis, rhe Lesr place ro srarr is virh a pad of paper. Drav our rhe
relarionship Lerveen several ideas in a picrure. RememLer your goal isn'r a perfecr consrrucr Lur a
simplified model. Even if your model is shovn ro Le slighrly inaccurare larer, ir is srill Lerrer rhan no
model ar all.
Ask yourself vhar rhe concepr vould look, sound or feel like! Hov vould ir funcrion and respond!
When learning compurer science I formed menral picrures of Lizarre machines and oLiecrs rhar
represenred rhe differenr oLiecrs and funcrions I learned. Srrings and arrays looked like colored cuLes
suspended along a cord. Funcrions vere machines rhar are srrings and individual Llocks and spar our nev
Llocks.
As you ger Lerrer you should Le aLle ro do rhis virhour a pencil and paper. Your imaginarion is far
fasrer rhan your hand, so once you Legin ro undersrand rhe process you can srarr visceralizing hov
differenr conceprs inreracr. You can see hov rhey squish and respond ro srimuli. Boring ideas rranslare
inro a Lizarre and orhervorldly scene.

Merhod Tvo: Meraphor
Visceralizarion is my key process in
developing models, rhe firsr srep ro a
complere consrrucr. Bur having models
isn'r enough. Ir can rake rime ro develop a
unique model and rhis can Le vasred vhen
you are losr, facing a proLlem for vhich
you lack rhe proper insrrucrion and
consrrucrs ro handle. To inrerlink
consrrucrs you need ro use meraphor.
Meraphor is a lirerary rerm used vhen you vanr ro relare rvo rhings rhar aren'r acrually relared. A
variarion of rhe meraphor is rhe simile. You use similes usually vhen you invoke rhe vords, ¨like" or
¨as." The idea Lehind using meraphors in your learning is simple. You vanr ro connecr rvo ideas
rogerher even rhough rhey aren'r really relared. Einsrein descriLed rhe universe as consisring of a ¨faLric
of space-rime." This vas a meraphor. He didn'r Lelieve rhe universe consisred of corron rhreads veaved
inro a parrern, Lur he used rhe concepr of faLric vhich you already have a consrrucr for ro link inro space,
vhich you mighr nor.
Meraphors also aid in Luilding consrrucrs. If you vanred ro Luild a house, rhe fasresr vay vould Le
ro make minor modificarions ro a Llueprinr you already ovn. Meraphors can allov you ro relare a nev
consrrucr ro a previously esraLlished one. This can help you piece rogerher ideas vhen your models fail
ro give accurare informarion.

Hov ro Meraphor
If you pracrice accordingly, meraphors should Le an auromaric process. When you learn a suLiecr
ir should auromarically srarr reminding you of complerely differenr ideas. When I read Nicollo
Machiavelli's, The Frince, I srarred linking his ideas aLour srarecrafr (vhich vere a rarher veak
consrrucr for myself) and Luilr rhem inro ideas aLour Lusiness and social serrings (vhich vere srrong
consrrucrs).
If you don'r already use meraphors exrensively, a quick vay ro srarr vould Le ro play rhe, ¨Thar
Reminds Me Of..." game vhenever you learn somerhing nev. You play rhe game Ly rhinking or
vriring dovn a lisr of ideas rhar rhis nev concepr reminds you of. Ir doesn'r marrer if rhe ideas are
ridiculous or complerely unrelared. Thar's rhe poinr, ro link rogerher ideas rhar don'r normally
connecr.
The idea is rhar Ly playing rhis game repearedly you can see rhe nev concepr rhrough rhe
vanrage poinrs vhere you already have undersranding. This helps you undersrand more rapidly. If
you already undersrand sporrs, rhen you can use sporrs as a meraphor vhen rrying ro comprehend
economics or science. You can creare connecrions Lerveen any suLiecrs you iusr need ro Le parienr
enough.
The side-Lenefir of using meraphors is ir acrively links your consrrucrs rogerher. This process
evenrually means rhar even vhen your consrrucr is really poor you can srill fill in missing pieces. You
can solve programming proLlems from an arrisric perspecrive or relarionship proLlems from an
economics perspecrive. They von'r Le as ideal as a perfecr consrrucr, Lur rhey can Le amazing
suLsrirures vhen you haven'r had rhe rime ro fully develop one.

Merhod Three: Explore
Explorarion is rhe process of going rhrough
your consrrucrs, models and meraphors and
finding errors. Consider rhis ro Le rhe polishing
phase of your final undersranding. Scrap models
rhar don'r represenr vhar you've learned and fill
holes for vhere you lack undersranding.
Explorarion is less necessary vhen you follov rhe previous rvo merhods rigorously. When you
heavily visceralize and meraphor, you end up virh a lor of redundancy. You undersrand somerhing in
so many vays rhar even if one of rhose merhods you used ro reach undersranding is faulry or a gap
exisrs, you have a dozen orher vays ro reach rhe same poinr.
Bur if your undersranding is really imporranr, exploring your nervork of ideas can help you clean
up misrakes. Holes and errors vill only come up vhen you acrually go Lack and resr rhem. Unril you
acrually reviev rhe informarion involved, rhey vill Le hidden from your avareness. This happens
vhen you go ro vrire an exam and you realize you don'r knov hov ro solve a specific proLlem or you
don'r have rhe righr formula. A srrong enough nervork may mean you don'r need rhar formula ro
solve rhe proLlem, Lur you may have ro rake a fev derours ro ger rhere.

Hov ro Explore
The Lesr vay ro explore is ro acrually face proLlems. If you are using holisric learning in
school rhis means homevork quesrions, assignmenrs and resrs. Having ro acrually use your nervork
vill quickly poinr our holes and errors.
I disagree virh rhe pracrice model rhar says you should do a quesrion repearedly unril you
undersrand ir. This is iusr rore memorizarion and ir is using quesrions ro reinforce a srraregy rarher
rhan ro explore holisric veLs. Holisric learning assumes you already have a consrrucr and pracrice
quesrions are iusr ro fill holes. If you end up having ro do rhe same rype of quesrion many rimes ro
undersrand ir, you need ro srep Lack, creare some nev models and reLuild your consrrucr.
The second Lesr vay ro explore is ro srudy. I do srudy a lirrle Lir, Lur ir isn'r a source of
learning so much as ir is a merhod of explorarion. Reading over my nores and chaprers poinrs our
ideas. Usually rhe idea is already reinforced inside my veL, Lur somerimes I missed ir enrirely.
Srudying isn'r as good as resring Lur ir can fix a fev Lroken parhs.
If you have ro read somerhing over several rimes Lefore you can rememLer ir, rhen you eirher
aren'r paying enough arrenrion or you don'r have a consrrucr, ir's rhar simple. I don'r Lelieve in
srudying for hours Lefore an exam. Unless I'm learning rhe suLiecr for rhe firsr rime or I've
neglecred ro form consrrucrs unril rhe lasr minure ir only rakes a half hour ar mosr for me ro quickly
explore a suLiecr Lefore vriring a resr.

Criricisms ro Holisric Learning
When I firsr discussed holisric learning puLlicly I gor a lor of supporr Lur some inreresring counrer
argumenrs. Alrhough I've rried ro inregrare and fix my undersranding of holisric learning as a resulr of
rhose criricisms, holisric learning is nor a perfecr remedy for genius. Ir is only one vay of looking ar rhe
process of learning and rhere are areas vhere ir doesn'r apply.
ArLirrary Informarion
Holisric learning vorks Lesr vhen rhere is an underlying sysrem ro Le undersrood. Ir assumes rhar a
proper consrrucr exisrs, iusr rhar rhere is difficulry crearing ir. This applies ro mosr suLiecrs. Science and
marh rend ro Le rhe Lesr Lur relarionships, culrure, compurers, life, healrh, emorions, and philosophy all
vork vell.
Bur vhere holisric learning Lreaks dovn is vhere no consrrucr really exisrs. Lav is a grear example.
Alrhough rhere are some veak consrrucrs rhar can Le applied ro lavs, rhey are veak and arLirrary. One
cannor assume a lav exisrs Lased on rhe linking of similar lavs. Rule Lased sysrems rhar are highly
arLirrary require orher skills rhar holisric learning doesn'r cover.
Hisrory vorks a Lir Lerrer virh holisric learning, Lur rhere are many cases vhere informarion and
dara don'r fir inro an underlying sysrem and are iusr a series of facrs. Spelling, vocaLulary and languages
ofren have similarly veak porenrial for forming consrrucrs. There are orher vell developed sysrems for
undersranding marerial rhar doesn'r easily form consrrucrs, Lur rhar is ourside rhe scope of rhis Look.

SuLconscious Learning
Holisric learning focuses on conceprs. Bur rhere are areas of life rhar don'r rely on conceprual
undersrand ar all. Tiger Woods doesn'r have ro Le a grear holisric learner ro vin rhe FGA. Skills are
learned suLconsciously and don'r Lenefir much from holisric learning.
Every form of learning is somevhere along rhe scale from highly conceprual ro highly skill-
Lased. Holisric learning emphasizes rhe highly conceprual end. These are usually rhe rype of
learning done in schools and many professions. Bur iusr as excessive memorizarion is a poor vay ro
learn conceprs, inrerlinking is a poor vay ro learn skills.

Summary of Holisric Learning
Alrhough I've gone rhrough many ideas, if rhere is one rakeavay idea ir is rhar you should
Le crearing vasr veLs of inrerlinked ideas rarher rhan pounding informarion inro your skull. Nor
only is rhis a more effecrive form of learning ir is more enioyaLle. Visceralizing and using
meraphors is fun. Insread of learning a dry suLiecr and rrying ro force your Lrain ro srore ir, you
are using your mind rhe vay ir vas inrended.
If I've alloved one srudenr ro srudy less in order ro knov his suLiecr or given one of you rhe
means ro improve her undersranding, I've reached my goal. I aLsolurely hare having ro resorr ro
excuses of ralenr or gifredness ro explain skills. Hopefully I've done a small parr in Lreaking
dovn rhe inrellecrual elirism and giving hardvorking people a chance ro use rhe skills orhers rake
for granred.

ALour The Aurhor
Scorr H Young is a recenr high-school graduare
virh a passion for learning, self-improvemenr and
gerring rhe mosr our of life. Srarring his self-
improvemenr veLsire in FeLruary, 2006, ir has since
grovn ro include close ro 300 arricles and receives
rhousands of unique visirors every day. Scorr is
currenrly a srudenr ar rhe Universiry of ManiroLa.
If you vanr ro conracr Scorr aLour Lusiness,
speaking engagemenrs or iusr ro char, you can give him
an e-mail ar:
personalmscorrhyoung.com

Conrinuing Wirh Holisric Learning
If you liked rhis Look, you mighr vanr ro check our rhese orher resources:
My WeLsire:
hrrp://vvv.scorrhyoung.com/Llog/
Hov ro Ace Your Finals Wirhour Srudying:
hrrp://vvv.scorrhyoung.com/Llog/2007/03/25/hov-ro-ace-your-finals-virhour-srudying/
Srudying and Holisric Learning:
hrrp://vvv.scorrhyoung.com/Llog/2007/03/29/srudying-and-holisric-learning/
This Look is complerely free, I released ir virhour expecring ro make a profir from anyone
vho reads ir. If you enioyed rhe Look you mighr vanr ro give a rip.
Give a Donarion:
hrrp://vvv.scorrhyoung.com/Llog/donare/


This Book Doesn'r Have Legs!
I vrore rhis Look virh rhe hopes rhar ir could help srudenrs, professionals,
educarors or anyone rhar vanrs ro improve rhe vay rhey learn. If you gor some value
from rhe ideas in rhis Look I encourage you ro share ir virh vhoever you can. You can
eirher arrach rhe documenr in an e-mail (ask firsr Lecause ir is a Lir Lig) or even easier
you can iusr e-mail a link ro rhe original file.
Original File:
hrrp://vvv.scorrhyoung.com/Llog/Frograms/HolisricLearningEBook.pdf
This Look doesn'r have legs, so ir can'r rravel irself. I need your help in spreading ir!

   

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