I found a nice post from a friend, Roy Ernest, on an effective way to learn. He notes that one of the best ways he’s found is to write an article on a topic. It forces you to research, double check yourself, and explain things clearly.
Not everyone wants to write an article that is published specifically to an audience, but this is where a blog comes in. Even a private blog or document that you don’t expose on the Internet. If you want to be sure you understand something and look to explain it back to yourself, write it down. You’ll have to do some research, and if you read it carefully, you’ll realize where you don’t really understand things.
That’s if you take pride in what you are putting down. I’ve seen plenty of people scribble things down halfway, not check themselves or their work, and they’re not really taking advantage of the time to make sure they’ve learned something.
If you want to publish, look for places. If you just want to make yourself understand something, try writing it down.