Hack how to learn a new skill
posted on April 22, 2016.
As a self-declared (and self-trained) nerd, I’ve been asked a lot of times how I had learnt a particular skill. And for a while my answer used to be “you just go ahead and learn it”, until I started reflecting more about it. Maybe my job teaching at university had something to do with it!
In this post (our second entry on learning), I’m going to share some of my experience. You can follow the links on each one of the topics, to read more about it, more details on my personal journey, and what some research papers, books and blogs say about the topic. The links will become available as the posts are published, stay tuned!Let's #hacklearning together! Click To Tweet
Some say there’s as many ways to learn as people in this world. But some ways have been proven to be more effective than others! In this post we’re going to visit several strategies (or “hacks”) with which you can make yourself more effective in learning. Try applying them when learning your next skill, or practicing your hobby!
- Get acquainted with the topic: when starting to learn, you need to acknowledge that you don’t know about it. And it’s ok. Get used to the terms and find out what are good entry-level references. Enjoy the confusion in this stage, it’s been proven to be useful for you on the long run.
- Break down what you’re learning: nobody learnt how to play the piano in one day. And neither will you. But you can start with smaller steps, parts of the skill where you can see if you’re doing progress or not.
- Repeat, but repeat wisely: make sure that you practice the skill in short, repeated, constant and focused bursts. The amount of time that you spend on the skill is not the right measure: it’s the number of repetitions, and how effective they are, that count.
- Let it sink: your rest does as much for your learning as your waking hours. Rest between practices, sleep well, even take naps. Acknowledge resting time.
- Give it all a purpose: make sure you’re pursuing a challenge, with quick gains where you can see your progress. Forget about tutorials: you can’t fail on those. Instead, solve real problems that you care about.