A technique for improving the effectiveness of learning. The essential method is to make a quick attempt at learning a topic or skill with very little attention to detail. Next, the topic or skill is studied again, exactly as before, but with a bit more attention to detail. This process is repeated until all or sufficient detail has been added. A common example is a student reading a textbook by only skimming it. After a short rest, the book is read again, with more time to follow through on important or interesting sections/topics. Finally, the book is read properly, though this is done much faster; the student already has a clear idea of the contents.

Layered learning works on the principle that the brain works better when given a chance to sort information in its own fashion before absorbing it. While this principle has also caused great attention to improving tables of contents (often resulting in multiple tables for book, chapter and even individual sections) and other in-book tools, the technique of layered learning can, of course, be applied to nearly any sort of book, with or without a table of contents.

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