Learning in Public and Digital Gardens

crop university student reading textbooks on green campus lawn

Learning in public is a great way to pursue a new-found interest or passion.

But what means to learn in public?

It is simple. After you discovered a new topic, take notes using what method you prefer and make them available online so anyone who is interested can see them.

So how does this help?

First, this process will force you to start writing down your thoughts, making them clearer and helping you to learn and memorize the new information faster.

Don’t just copy the text from the original source. Paraphrase it, interpret it, make it your own. Use your own style, add emojis, graphics and most importantly have fun.

Although your notes and ideas are far from being final, when you share them online, you open them to feedback and comments. This in return gives you a chance to refine them early on and improve the quality.

In addition, making your notes public, will help you build an online presence, connect with like-minded people and create relationships that can be mutual beneficial.

As you advanced into your expertise, having a public trail of your struggles and challenges will help others that are on a similar journey as you. Remember that it is easier to connect and learn from people with similar skills, rather from the ones who master a craft since they long forgot how it is to be in the beginner shoes.

How to get started?

Nowadays, there are lots of option to share content online: blog posts, medium articles, newsletters, YouTube videos, etc

My recommendation is to start with creating a [[Digital Garden]]

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Digital gardens represent a collection of your thoughts and knowledge on various topics. Some might be as small as one paragraph, others as big as a complete guide on a subject.

When new ideas are formed, they are compared with seeds planted in a garden. As time passes and your knowledge increases, the ideas start to shape themselves into an organized form, reaching a so-called “evergreen” state.

Digital gardens differ from traditional blogs in that posts are not ordered chronologically, but instead resemble a network of ideas that are linked together.

You can get started nowadays with a plethora of options. If you want solutions out of the box, you can use ObsidianNotion, and TiddlyWiki.

If you want to get your hands on a bit of coding, tools like Gatsby or Jekyll make it quite easy to have something running in less than 25 minutes. For example, my digital garden is build using Mathieu Dutour’s Gatsby-Digital-Garden solution.

For more tools and example Maggie Appleton compiled an extensive list of resources for everyone who wants to get started:


Whatever option you choose, the most important thing is to take action: start writing and sharing. Don’t worry that your initial creations will be far from perfect, be consistent and enjoy the journey!