In this section of our Ultralearning read author Scott Young is talking about using drills to attack your weakest point. I didn't foresee this being useful for writers or for researching a concept like history, versus skills like language, coding, or woodworking. (Someone's doing that at our house.) However, he starts with another long case study, this one about Benjamin Franklin, how writing had a big impact on many things he did, and how he consciously worked to improve it as a young person.
The idea that "one component of a complex skill determines your overall
level of performance" is the reasoning behind using drills. Don't spread
your energy over all the skills needed for the task until you've got
this one down. That will make the learning faster in the long run.
Our Case Study: My feeling is that I need to get the history issue down and that will make things fall into place for the plot of the project I'm working on. So you could say history is the skill I need to drill. However, it isn't a skill, it's a knowledge base, and I'm struggling with coming up with a way to drill history. Especially since Young says drills should "simplify a skill enough that you can focus your cognitive
resources on a single aspect." (Did my high school math and French teachers know
Young's strategy behind drills: Determine the weakest step in what you need to do, analyze it, and deliberately practice it. It should be something that "governs the overall competence you have with that skill, by improving it you will improve faster than if you try to practice every aspect of the skill at once."
Our Case Study: History is the weak step in my writing project, so I have been analyzing it and collecting material to learn about it. Maybe drill ideas will come up after I get to that.
Drills for ultralearners shouldn't be as mind-numbing as they are in traditional education because we have identified what we need to know, ourselves. "...carefully designed drills elicit creativity and imagination as you strive to solve a more complex learning challenge by breaking it into specific parts."
Our Case Study: That last part sounds wonderful. I'm just not seeing how I can come up with drills around learning methodologies for studying history.
I'm not even halfway through this book. Other projects and holidays have put this on a back burner. I'm also feeling that the time I'm using reading this thing could be better used reading the materials I've collected on my subject and looking for more.