Start with the terms first!
You must be able to name everything related to your subject. Find yourself a glossary of terms, preferably with pictures included so you can start to see what it is you are learning. Focus on the Nouns, the things, places, persons. What are the components? For example: if you open the hood of your car can you name every single item in front of you?
Depending on your subject, choose which category below is most dominant. If you get stuck learning about one category, try switching to another.
– Learn what each thing does: Focus on the verbs. What action does it do? What purpose does it fulfill? What is it doing? Ex: What does an alternator do?
– Focus on the qualities: The adjectives. What materials? What colors? What shapes? What size? Ex: What makes a good alternator? What kind of steel is it made of? Ex: What materials are the belts made of?
– Focus on the relationship/position: How do the components relate to each other? What is the process? What is the timing? What is the speed? What is the relationship? Ex: How do the parts fit together? Where is the fusebox commonly found?
As a final step, test yourself to see what you know. Extract information from your mind in the same fashion. How many things/names/components can you recall about the subject? Do you know what each does? What are the qualities of each? And what are the relationships?
Also, you can use these categories to come up with creative ideas: What else could it do? Can you change the materials, colors, size? Can you change the position or relationship?
And one last way to use the categories is as an observation tool. Post coming soon!