When you encounter new information from sources that you’re unfamiliar with, some of it will undoubtedly be complex and inaccessible. This can often serve as an incentive for people to abandon their quest for polymathy. However, analogies are an extremely powerful tool that makes breaking down complicated information easy and efficient.
Analogies are essentially comparisons between two seemingly unrelated concepts or skills. To maximize your learning, you’ll need to learn how to use what you already know and draw connections to what you’re learning in innovative ways. This forces you to transfer your learning, ensuring you retain more information in the long-term.
To start using analogies for learning, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with academic analogies. These consists of four parts divided into two groups. On the left side, you make a certain type of connection between things you know about, like code in video games. Code is the main building block upon which video games are built. If you’re learning law, you’ll know that law is to constitution what code is to video games. To use the standard analogy format, we’d state this as: “code : video games :: law : constitution.”
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Peter Hollins is a bestselling author, human ps ychology researcher, and a dedicated student of the human condition.
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