I always wonder what can we do to efficiently establish a map in our mind to store the knowledge of a field that is completely new to us.
Well, a brute-force but probably effective way can be,
1) ask yourself a bunch of questions and answer them;
2) use the answers to build a simple time-space map in mind.
I ask myself five questions to understand an area about which I have no systematic knowledge.
1. What is it?
2. Where is it in a bigger picture?
3. When/Why was it originated?
4. Where can it be applied?
5. Where are we now in this field?
The answers of the first two questions can help us create a new node of the concept and put it somewhere in our existing knowledge space.