How to Figure Out Everything You Need to Know About a Topic
It used to be easy to learn a new skill or topic. You simply went to school to study it or picked up one of the few available books on the topic. Alas, those days are gone. With more information than ever before, filtering through everything is near-impossible.
The good news is that there are ways to effectively find the information you need. After learning over 80 skills in three years, I’ve found ways to sift through information productively. And I’m sharing with you my exact method in this article.
Steps for finding the right web pages
Step 1. Find out what you should be searching for
I don’t like to be creative about how I should search for a topic. I leave that all to the mighty AnswerThePublic.com (affiliate link).
AnswerThePublic.com is a great way to get your mind going about how to think about a skill. On AnswerThePublic.com, type a keyword of the skill or topic you want to learn.
This will give you leads as to what questions people are asking about the skill you want to learn. Here’s the result from the above search:
Step 2. Take AnswerThePublic’s results to Google or YouTube
With the above results, you can start searching for relevant questions on Google or YouTube. Pick the most relevant questions to you. Use a new tab for each query you do.
Step 3. Try these formulas on Google and YouTube
I also use these formulas to try different queries:
- How to
adjective/numberways to learn
proficiencymake when learning
- How to start learning
- How to become a pro at
In the above formulas, replace the grey “fields” with relevant information. Here are examples for Ukulele:
- How to learn to play the ukulele in 30 days for a beginner
- How to quickly learn to play the ukulele for a beginner
- Simple ways to learn to play my first song on the ukulele
- How to learn to play the ukulele fast
- Mistakes beginners make when learning to play the ukulele
Again, use a new tab for each query you do.
How to quickly identify things of value on each page
With all the tabs opened from the steps above, open the first 4–5 links in a new tab (CTRL+Click on Windows and CMD+Click on Mac). Once you have a good number of tabs opened, start looking at them one-by-one.
If your tabs aren’t manageable, you can batch it by Google queries.
You want to pay special attention to concepts, facts, and procedures.
- Concepts: Things you need to know
- Facts: Things you need to remember/memorize
- Procedures: Things you need to do/practice
To find the concepts, you can scan articles, books, and courses for a table of contents. Chances are they’re filled with concepts. Then, go through articles and scan the headings and bullet-points. There’s a good chance those are concepts too.
To find the facts, go through articles and search for the nouns in sentences that are definitive. When you scan for the nouns, ask yourself: “Is this something I must memorize?” If so, record it as a fact.
To find the procedures, go through articles and search for action verbs. There’s a good chance they’re going to be things you’ll need to practice and get better at. YouTube is also a great source for finding procedures for most skills.
While it’s true that finding the right information has gotten harder over the years, with the right method, you can use that to your advantage to make it easier to learn things. Once you get used to the method I showed you in this article, you can find everything you need to know about a skill or topic within less than one hour of research. So, try my method and save valuable time in your research.
You can do this!
For more help on learning new skills, check out SkillUp Academy!