When you want to take things to the next level in business, or just generally discover something new, it pays to know how to learn. You may think that learning is something you did in school and everything else is real life, but there is really rather a lot you can take from the principles of the classroom and apply to every aspect of your day.
In short, it all starts with learning how to learn…
What Does it All Mean?
This is far more than a catchy alliterative title; it’s a mindset that you can use to focus your productivity and move further and faster than ever before. The idea is that learning is just another activity, and therefore something that you can practice and improve upon. The first time you ride a bike it is never that easy, but with practice it becomes second nature. Exactly the same is true of learning. What most people miss is that although we spend years doing it in school, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ve found the optimal way to take on new information.
Cramming vs Learning
When you cram you take onboard huge quantities of information in a short space of time — often to try and pass an exam. Whilst this can result in a nice comfortable passing grade, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re learning. Learning is all about improving comprehension and understanding rather than remembering and recalling. There’s no better way to test your new knowledge than to apply it…
Apply What You Learn
The best way to improve is to apply what you’ve learnt in a real world setting. This could be as simple as using your new coding skills to make a simple program on your computer, or to sit down and explain a new concept to your friend. The most important thing here is not to be put off by what you may perceive as failure. When it comes to learning there’s really no such thing; it’s all about extending yourself to the point where your knowledge starts to breaks down, and then going away and improving it. That leads us nicely onto the next key point.
Learning is Always Iterative
We all know those people that seem to be able to do everything perfectly first time and ask ourselves: ‘How do they do it?’ The answer is that they iterate and what you’re seeing is actually just the result of hours upon hours of gradual progress.
Learning to learn is all about accepting that you won’t get anything perfect first time, and to be honest if you did then you wouldn’t get much satisfaction out of life. Iteration is the key word here because it reminds you of the importance of going around and around, over and over, and gradually building up your knowledge.
Take a little time to reflect on how this way of viewing learning compares and contrasts with how you currently approach it.
Then in our next blog we’re going to take a look at some practical strategies and techniques that you can employ to accelerate your learning.