These 5 tips for learning have made one come to realize how important it is to be constantly learning and even more so “learning to learn”. Whether about the industry I’m in or the world around me, but learning is something you cannot totally ignore because the lessons can either be of your own choosing or the lessons can happen upon you.
Learning is a life on its own, there is information on anything you want to do out under the sun and all it requires is your time and application. Having said that, learning is not as easy as many may portray and not as hard as commonly stated either, it all takes a consistency in your actions and attention to pick up the information and save it into your supercomputer (brain).
We can always take comfort in knowing that we can apply some common tasks that will help us improve daily and learn the art of learning to better equip ourselves for our future. Here are a few tips on how to successfully learn the life of learning.
These are the tips for learning.
Learning Objective (Agenda)
Your objective is the motivation that will become the engine of where you want your learning to take you. With anything you want to learn, there will be dozens of available methods to follow, and “experts” to learn from. This means that you want to spend a lot of time understanding who you’re learning from, what credibility they have, and how it fits with your learning style.
Success is often tied to the ability to implement structure in one’s life, so it’s a good idea to set goals and create realistic learning sessions. By “realistic,” we don’t just mean allocating more than an hour for that 5,000 word report — it’s also important to schedule time to recover between bouts of intense work, whether it’s learning new software or how to design or do accounting. Scheduling in relaxation time for the brain is called “the spacing effect,” and it’s known to improve long-term recall.
When you choose a skill that you want to learn, you have to write down your objective as a goal statement. However, you have to make sure that the goal is specific, and not vague.
As an example, in his article “How to Learn Anything: A Real-World Guide to Mastering Any New Skill”, Jeremy Duvall explains that he wanted to learn to code.
However, “I want to learn to code” is a vague goal. Therefore, he made his goal much more specific. Here’s the goal that he set for himself: “I want to learn CSS positioning so I can redesign some elements of my website”.
Duvall recommends that in order to make your goal more specific, you ask yourself the following questions:
• What specific problem am I trying to solve by learning this skill?
• Are there certain aspects of the skill that are more applicable to my situation than others?
Learn by doing
Think back to how you learned to play a sport, ride a bicycle, or make things. Instead of watching tutorial videos or reading a textbook on how to do something, the way to learn faster is to get into the trenches and gain experience through making mistakes.
Humans are natural learners—and we learn best when we perform the tasks we’re trying to learn. No matter how good your grades were at school, most of your learning takes place once you enter the workplace and start applying what you’ve learned.
Let’s say you’re trying to learn Niche Blogging. Don’t invest all your time in learning the jargon and theory—dive in as soon as you can to master the skill through trial and error. Start a blog. Write a few posts. Find out for yourself what works and what doesn’t. The more you do it, the more you learn.
Better yet, build new habits to enforce your new skills. Start small and reward yourself to start building a pattern of behavior that will reinforce what you’re learning.
This is the part where most of us struggle, and what many of us don’t want to hear is the rule that mastering anything faster requires practice. Learning requires frequency of and persistence in performing the same skill over and over again, until you can do it subconsciously, without having to think about it.
The best performers in the world understand this “secret” to learning faster and become the best, yet rarely talk about its importance because of how non-glamorous it sounds.
Expert-level performance is primarily the result of expert-level practice, not due to innate talent. As K. Anders. Ericsson, a scientific researcher from Florida State University, elaborated in a paper: “People believe that because expert performance is qualitatively different from normal performance, the expert performer must be endowed with characteristics qualitatively different from those of normal adults. This view has discouraged scientists from systematically examining expert performers and accounting for their performance in terms of the laws and principles of general psychology.”
Learn by teaching
The struggles of learning could be eased up if you have someone to share the experience with. Having someone to motivate you to continue on is important to help you stay on track. In connection to this, science also discovered that having someone to relay whatever you have learned could improve your performance levels well above your standard targets.
For instance, if you’re learning a foreign language, repeating what you have learned to another person helps improve your memory and mastery of that skill.
As you find new ways to develop new skills, don’t forget to find someone who can experience the journey with you to help boost your confidence levels. Even sharing your information with friends and family allows you to better recall and retain it while, most importantly, putting it into practical action.
Record your learning
Writing down what you’ve learned helps cement it in your mind and creates a mental stamp or record of the topic until next called upon.
If you want to translate information to knowledge, research suggests you should be writing down what you learn – by hand.
A 2014 study found that students who took notes on pen and paper learned more than students who typed notes on their laptops. Over a battery of tests, the pen-and-paper group were more adept at remembering facts, sorting out complex ideas, and synthesizing information.
Researchers say the physical act of touching pen to paper creates a stronger cognitive link to the material than merely typing, which happens far too quickly for retention to take place. Writing forces you to confront ideas head-on, which leads them to stick with you over time.
Keeping a learning journal is very important when you have finished school and do not have a specific book for a specific subject, that journal allows you to jot down thoughts, ideas and information you pickup and becomes your personal information digest.
Test yourself Regularly
Don’t wait until the week of the exam or project start — self-test regularly, or (even better) have a family member or friend ask the questions. If it’s difficult to remember the answer fairly quickly, it’s best to look it up. Otherwise, you’re really learning the “error state” of drawing a blank when asked the question. While “productive failure” is useful for problem solving, repeatedly failing to recall something that requires rote memorization (e.g. History or Law) won’t improve your learning abilities.
Testing yourself also includes randomly using that skill you are learning or applying that information you are toying with in your mind. When I was learning to code, I would randomly start making a project that would include using that specific skill, I would start coding until got stuck and then do testing and go research ways to find a fix to my problem, I found that to be more helpful and also helped me keep track of my level of competency.
There are many tips and tricks on how to learn fast and how to learn anything easily and with simplicity, the major fact is we cannot shy away from learning if we are to move beyond our present station in life. There are endless benefits of learning and all them are within reach when you know How to learn effectively.