Mastering Concepts with the Feynman Technique: A Guide to Simplified Learning

Damian Dąbrowski
3 min readApr 12, 2024


Learning new concepts can be challenging, but with the right approach, it becomes an engaging and rewarding experience. One such method that has gained popularity for its effectiveness is the Feynman Technique. Named after the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, known for his ability to simplify and explain complex subjects, this technique breaks down the learning process into four digestible steps. In this article, we’ll explore the Feynman Technique, provide examples of its application, and compare it with other similar learning methods.

The Feynman Technique

The Feynman Technique is a four-step process designed to help learners understand and retain information by teaching it to someone else in simple terms. The steps are as follows:

  1. Choose a Concept: Select a topic or concept you want to learn about and write down everything you know about it.
  2. Teach it to a Child: Explain the concept as if you were teaching it to a child. Use simple language and avoid jargon or technical terms. If you struggle to simplify the concept, this indicates areas where your understanding is lacking.
  3. Identify Gaps and Go Back to the Source Material: Review what you have written and identify areas where your explanation is weak. Return to the source material to better understand these aspects.
  4. Review and Simplify: Finally, review your explanation and refine it until it is as simple as possible. This process helps solidify your understanding and allows you to convey the concept to others effectively.

Examples of the Feynman Technique in Action:

  • Learning a New Language: When grappling with grammar rules, try explaining them as if to a child. This could mean breaking down sentence structures into basic elements and using everyday examples to illustrate the rules.
  • Understanding a Scientific Principle: If you’re studying a principle like photosynthesis, start by describing the process in broad strokes using analogies, such as comparing the chloroplasts to little factories converting sunlight into energy.
  • Grasping a Mathematical Concept: For a topic like calculus, you might explain the concept of derivatives by relating it to something more tangible, like measuring the speed of a car at a specific moment during its journey.

Similar Learning Methods

The Feynman Technique shares similarities with other learning methods that emphasize understanding over rote memorization. Here are a few:

  1. Bloom’s Taxonomy: This framework categorizes learning objectives and encourages higher-order thinking skills such as analyzing, evaluating, and creating, rather than just remembering facts.
  2. The Socratic Method: This technique involves asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and illuminate ideas. It’s similar to the Feynman Technique in that it uncovers gaps in understanding.
  3. Problem-Based Learning (PBL): PBL is an instructional method where students learn by solving complex, real-world problems. It requires them to apply their knowledge practically, akin to the Feynman Technique’s approach of simplifying and teaching concepts.
  4. Concept Mapping: This visual method involves creating diagrams that organize and represent knowledge. It helps learners understand relationships between concepts, much like the Feynman Technique’s emphasis on clear and concise explanations.

The Feynman Technique is a powerful tool for mastering new information. By breaking down complex ideas into simple parts and teaching them to others, learners can deepen their understanding and retention of material. Whether used alone or in conjunction with other methods like Bloom’s Taxonomy or the Socratic Method, the Feynman Technique offers a path to clear and effective learning. As Richard Feynman himself believed, if you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough — this technique ensures that you do.



Damian Dąbrowski

Hi, I’m Damian, a Software Engineer who loves building educational apps and simulations..