Have you ever tried to apply formal education techniques for self-learning?

Hi everyone!

I want to try hiring some formal education techniques for my self-learning routine in order to make the process more structured, and set more relevant and adequate learning goals. I found an interesting learning model that is used in formal education generally by educational specialists — Bloom’s Taxonomy. Preliminary research showed that educators hire the approach to make a learning process align with how the brain works in order to make your learning trajectory more effective and efficient.

Have you ever tried to implement some formal education techniques to your self-learning process? And particularly Bloom’s Taxonomy? I don’t know how to start and if someone has such experience and ready to share it, I will be glad! Thank you in advance.

Consider also Dreyfus’ model on adult skill acquisition.


  • To begin learning a new skill only requires basic motiviation to learn simple rules, not emotional engagement
  • Progress beyond basic competency in a skill requires more emotional engagement and intuition, with less analysis

And counterpoint to following education models: 70:20:10 – a useful model

Personally I like to think of my notes as generally being one of the following:

  • a fundamental concept
  • a principle
  • a strategy

Lines blur of course but its a useful mental distinction.

I sometimes structure outline/index/hub/MOC notes in that way.


I have a lot more cryptography notes in an old set of notes I’m gradually porting over to Obsidian.

This structure is not a strict policy. For example here is another note I have titled Modeling, Planning, and Decision Making:

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Just stopping by to say I appriciate this thread. Wanna learn more about this.

Hello davecan!

Thank you for your response, firstly.

I cannot grasp how your KM methodology align with the principles you mentioned above. Could you please describe in more details how you implement the model of Dreyfus and the 70:20:10 principle in your learning activities. Thank you in advance!

@sxlveign Sorry for the confusion, I wasn’t intending to say that I apply those theories and models directly, only that I try to internalize principles and apply them in various ways rather than try to implement them directly as frameworks.

As an example Dreyfus’ model says that in the early stages of skill acquisition it is only necessary to be willing to follow basic instructions, and concepts such as Wittgenstein’s Ladder and cognitive laddering show that teaching should be structured so it takes the reader step by step through the concepts. So when I write my principles/strategies I try to order them in a reasonably intuitive order that walks from simple ones to more difficult. This isn’t always possible of course because I may not have a large enough body of work in my notes from which to draw yet, but generally speaking that is how I try to approach the notes.

The 70:20:10 model is not one to be applied directly. If you read it you’ll note that it says only about 10% of practical knowledge (in a work environment, at least) comes from formal education and training, while 20% comes from socializing and exposure to new problems and 70% comes from pre-existing knowledge you had prior to joining the team. I included it as a caution against focusing on formal education models too much, though that depends on the nature of what you are trying to learn and your method of learning, of course – different people may derive different benefits from different methods. :slight_smile:


Remember - Take source or literature notes and put them in Obsidian to review. You could also make flash cards from Quizlet or Anki. I’m trying to do more with space repetition so I remember instead of cramming and dumping information.

Understand - Add your own notes to the highlights. Doesn’t mean you actually understand but you are starting to think about it and not just memorize.

Apply - This might be making a map of content and organizing the knowledge a little more.

Analyze- This is connecting more ideas and adding more personal notes. Connecting notes together that are outside of the original domain. This is seeing how it relates in the wider context.

Evaluate - This step is figuring out what information you agree with or disagree with and why. How will you use this information?

Create - Use this new knowledge to write code, build something, write a blog post, create a video…

Basically it would be for revisiting your notes and making sure you are progressing forward from this is a flash card fact to adding comments to connecting ideas to evaluating what you think is correct and incorrect (and why) and then making something at the end even it if it is just for you.

Even though my notes are very long, the idea of having atomic notes has been helpful for me. When you are looking at something like Bloom’s Taxonomy or learning objectives, I think it is best to look at them at the smallest scale possible. I could be trying to learn what is a variable in programming. I would break that down to what is an integer variable in C++.

It is also helpful for me to think of depth of knowledge or different perspectives. You can revisit the same topic several times and each time go up Bloom’s pyramid again.

Let’s look at gravity (large topic, not atomic) as an example.

As baby, you experiment and test and figure out that you can drop things.

In middles school, you probably learn about gravity and go all the way to making some experiments with things rolling down hills or maybe throwing a ball up and watching it stop and the top and come back down.

In high school, maybe you take algebra based physics. Then you learn about uniform accelerated motion, the gravitational constant, or even orbits. You do some problems and maybe some experiments.

In college, you learn calculus and look at gravitational potentials.

Maybe you advance to learning relativity and gravity waves.

Maybe you move on to string theory.

The point is that each time you revisited gravity as a topic you probably climbed Bloom’s pyramid again. That’s why I try to break it down to small facts to move up the pyramid.

These are my ideal steps:

  • Take notes from a source
  • Add my own contextual understanding. Add my thoughts, comments, if I agree or disagree, write down questions, note what needs to followed up with more research, and so on.
  • Make flash cards for spaced repetition.
  • Aggregate ideas on maps of content.
  • Connect ideas with each other through back linking and embedding.
  • Make something

Hello LearningRabbitHole!

Thank you very much for your great response! I really love the idea of atomic notes.

I believe that approach has big chances to be practically applied. Whether you have personally tried to use it or just get it from the top of your head?

@sxlveign The method described is fundamentally the zettelkasten method mixed with spaced repetition. Personally I’ve used both (not together, but do look forward to an evolution of my zettelkasten to support SRS later) and can attest to the power of each approach.

The key difference is the zettelkasten / atomic note / evergreen writing approach is for understanding while spaced repetition is for memorization.

You should understand before you memorize so these are a natural fit. Not everything should be memorized, nor should every detail of a given idea be memorized. The ZK gives you a place to capture understanding on a wide variety of topics, and a place to develop your own ideas and theories, which you can then selectively filter into the spaced repetition system to ensure you memorize for rapid recall.

Here’s the interesting thing: using the zettelkasten is itself a form of rough spaced repetition, so by the act of writing and continuously revising your notes you are re-engaging the mind to remember the concepts in those notes. This is not as strong as the active recall method used in spaced repetition but it does significantly reduce the “chore” of getting your reps in on the spaced repetition tool. (this is also why its important to aggressively selectively filter: not everything you read should become a note in your system, and not every note should become a permanent/evergreen note, and not every permanent/evergreen note should be reflected in the spaced repetition system, and not everything from that selected permanent/evergreen note needs to be captured as a flashcard item – otherwise you are doing thousands of flashcards on random things not worth remembering and get burned out fast)