Would you like to be able to learn anything, and fast?! Today we’re not talking about how to learn something, but rather about learning how to learn anything.
When we want to learn something in a traditional classroom, we’re usually presented with two glaring problems:
- We never take the time to learn how to learn, and we jump ahead, right into studying from a textbook on the subject we’re trying to learn.
- We depend almost entirely on our teacher(s). Since we don’t take the time to learn how to learn, we become dependent learners. We allow ourselves to be told what to learn, how to learn it, and when to learn it.
What we should be doing is learning about the learning process, which is how we as humans and as learners can learn best. So, before you jump into learning something specific, the most important thing you can do right now is to become an expert on the learning process. It will help you to organize and control own your learning, and it will help you to learn faster, by minimizing the amount of time you used to spend studying with traditional methods, and maximize your results.
Many different experts and authors have their own systems to maximize learning. Overall, they share three general steps: imitate, assimilate, and innovate. Check out a few of their learning process stages and find what works for you. You will learn how to be a better learner in no time!
WAITZKIN’S FOUR STAGES OF LEARNING
In Josh Waitzkin’s “The Art of Learning,” he puts forth that there are four stages of learning:
- Lay a solid groundwork to understand the basics by studying the less complex tenets of a subject.
- Take a single idea or technique, and study it intensely, until you have an internal understanding of that subject.
- Add a group of other individual areas to your studies.
- Cultivate you intuition on the subject. Keep practicing different techniques until you have an intuitive feeling when you’re doing what you’re trying to get better at.
You can find Waitzkin’s book, “The Art of Learning: An Inner Journal to Optimal Performance,” here!
BROADWELL’S FOUR STAGES OF LEARNING
Martin Broadwell, also an author, suggest another set of learning stages:
- Unconscious incompetence (when you don’t know what you don’t know)
- Conscious incompetence (when you know what you don’t know)
- Conscious competence (when you know what you’re learning)
- Unconscious competence (when you are intuitively aware of what you’re able to do)
KAUFMAN’S THREE STAGES OF LEARNING
Josh Kaufam, author of “The First 20 Hours,” talks about three stages of learning:
- Cognitive stage (when we use our brain a lot, learn at the surface level, and nothing feels intuitive)
- Associative stage (when we apply what we’ve learned in the real world, and get feedback)
- Autonomous stage (when you’re able to perform the skill you’ve learned without thinking about it)
You can find Kaufman’s book, “The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything…Fast,” here!
OTHER GENERAL TIPS FOR LEARNING SUCCESS
- If you want to learn a subject that is very broad, break it down in to smaller parts.
- Watch others online (TED Talks are a great resource) performing the skill you want to learn.
- If you’re learning a skill that is physical or verbal, record yourself, watch your progress, and discover what can be improved.
- Eliminate any barriers to your success. For example, you could find an accountability partner to stay motivated together.
- Set smaller goals, and reward yourself when you reach them.
- Use the Pomodoro Technique, where you study/work intensely for 25 minutes, and then take a 5-minute break.
- Eliminate a lack of habit or time. Build a routine to keep your motivation going! Set appointments with yourself, make studying a new habit, make a plan and stick to it.
- If money is a barrier, research ways that are free. There are literally hundreds out there!
- Find a mentor or role model you can look up to and use as a guide.
For more awesome tips on how to make the best out of the learning process, check out our video lesson below!
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