Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

Surprise

Who are you? Where did you come from?

Read my biography.

Why did you write Concise Learning?

I found it frustrating that students are not taught how to learn and that so many simple but important success skills are kept from students. That’s what triggered my search for how to learn (CLM) and how to develop skills of success (SOS), and eventually, the concept for Concise Learning.

What’s Concise Learning about?

Concise Learning is a book on how to learn and be successful.It teaches students how to learn and develop skills required for success.

Who is Concise Learning for?

The book is for all students, regardless of their current success level. Even students who are already successful can benefit from this book by taking their learning and skills to the next level by tackling their remaining blind spots and discovering new approaches.

How do you define student success?

Student success = learning skills of success.

Unlike other how to study books, Concise Learning tackles both components (learning & skills) of student success.

How are you measuring the impact and effect of your work?

The value metrics are in the subtitle of the book: “learn more & score higher in less time with less effort.” My goal is to maximize student’s learning and grades, while minimizing their time and effort required.

One other metric that I use is speed to value. This is defined as the time before result start to appear. All students are impatient about results. Even for those students who wait until late into the semester before buying this book, they’ll be able to see results within days.

How are you judging the success of your work?

Success for me is not in publishing a book, but in disseminating book’s insights so that students can take advantage of ideas in the book. I see success of my work as the application of principles in the book throughout schools by individuals and institutions looking to improve students’ ability to learn and be successful.

What attracted you to this topic? Why is it exciting to you?

I’ve been fascinated with “making sense of things” ever since I was a child. People would get frustrated with my “why” questions and persistence to “understand” things, but that never deterred me from asking questions and thinking so that I could truly learn, not just memorize. Throughout my life, I’ve tried to optimize this “learning process” and finally reached a breakthrough moment when I came across visual maps (mind maps).

How did you find out about visual mapping? How do you use visual mapping?

Not until I discovered visual mapping, from books written by Tony Buzan, was I able to manage vast amount of information that I dealt with everyday. Visual mapping is a tool that I use in everything that I do (including writing this book and managing this Web site). For me, visual mapping was an amazing improvement over plain text and linear thinking; it vastly improved my ability to learn, think, and communicate important concepts and ideas.

Does Concise Learning method (CLM) also work outside of school?

Much of CLM can be readily transferred to life outside of school, especially the 4 repeating steps of CLM. All of the 13 SOS are aimed at making students successful all-around, not just in school.

To what do you attribute your success?

My modest success is a direct result of my “growth mind set,” where I’m constantly trying to learn more so that I can grow my knowledge and skills, and, in turn, contribute my own ideas.

Any advice for high school graduates just entering college?

The hardest thing about school is finding your question(s) – what do you really want to know? Ask question(s) that really interest you.  Once you have the question(s), you’ll be engaged and motivated to make the best of your education and your life. Focus on finding the question(s) and the rest will be easy.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I’ve been teaching for ten years now and love every moment of it. What I enjoy most is the interactive process with students to ignite and facilitate learning in them, whereby I’m also learning and growing from them. Watching students get empowered to learn on their own and become successful is my biggest reward and keeps me teaching.

What is the most important lesson from your life?

Life is ambiguous. Be comfortable with uncertainty, believe in positive outcomes, and persevere to reach those outcomes.

Also, success doesn't just come to you. You must make success happen.

Who has been your biggest influence?

My parents, Pjeter and Jana, who challenged me to always be true to myself, aim high, and do good. 

My wife and son who have been with me through it all.

How important is money?

My priority is helping students learn and become successful, not being rich.

My business colleagues often ridicule me for not believing in “maximizing profit.” However, that has not changed my belief that people should pursue what they’re passionate about (not where they can make most money) and companies should focus on being a sustainable business that maximizes their triple bottom line (profit, people, and planet – fully aligned as to not compromise one for the other), rather than simply focus on their bottom line (maximum profit).

How would your friends describe you?

Energetic, ambitious, inquisitive, forward-thinking, creative, fun, and good-natured.

How do you want to be remembered?

That I have made a difference in students’ lives.

What are your future plans?

I’m very grateful to all the people in my life for the fantastic journey so far. I intend to continue on this journey of learning and teaching, and see where the road takes me.

Where do you get the cartoons, videos, pictures? Who does the Web work? Who did your eBooks?

- Cartoons: Ron Leishman (visit his two Webs sites: Toon-A-Day and Toon Clipart).
- Book design, typesetting, Web site, and other IT support: Global Solutions.
- Pictures: Malek Naz Freidouni and Amir Sukalic.
- Video: Green Iguana Studios.
- eBooks: Atritex.

Are you affiliated with Seavus (DropMind), CS Odessa (ConceptDrawMindMap), or any other mind mapping companies?

I'm independent of all mind mapping companies. Realizing that a 30-day trial period is not long enough for students to experiment with mind mapping (imagine all your notes disappearing in the middle of the semester!), Seavus and CS Odessa have agreed to offer the very generous 6-month extended trial licenses of DropMind and ConceptDrawMindMap for my readers so that they can try mind mapping and CLM for a semester.

How do I contact you?

I’d love to hear your feedback, ideas, questions, comments, successes, struggles, suggestions, or anything else that’s on your mind. I can be reached at profTK@conciselearning.com. Please note that some of the questions/comments that I receive could be posted publicly (anonymously, of course).

I hope to continue to serve you and learn from you for many years to come.

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