6 Ways to Become a Better Learner February 24, 2017 15:58

Learning is a process, a method, an area of mastery, and with effort, focus, and practice, we can get a lot better at gaining expertise.

Learning is a process, a method, an area of mastery, and with effort, focus, and practice, we can get a lot better at gaining expertise.

Find Value

Find value

Find value. It's impossible to learn if we don't want to learn, and to gain expertise, people have to see skills and knowledge as valuable. So look for relevance in your learning and find ways to make expertise meaningful to you. If you're learning math and love gymnastics, for instance, then work on math problems involving rotations. If you're learning knitting, create a sweater for a close friend.

Create targets

In the early part of learning, focus is key. People need to figure out exactly what skills that they want to learn. Think of learning, then, as a type of knowledge management, and to succeed, we need goals, deadlines, and strategies. Indeed, hundreds of studies have shown that people with clear goals outperform people with vague aspirations like "do a good job."

Develop knowledge and skills

In this stage of learning, people need to hone their abilities and take steps to improve performance. In short, people need to practice, setting aside time to develop an area of mastery.

Develop Skill and Knowledge

Extend expertise

At this point in the learning process, we want to go beyond the basics and apply what we know. We want to flesh out our skills and knowledge, and people can gain a lot by expanding on a skill. Want to get better at public speaking, for instance? Do more public speaking of all kinds, from lectures to media interviews.

Relate skills

This is the phase where we see how it all fits together. After all, we don't want to know just a single detail or procedure—we want to know how that detail or procedure interacts with other details and procedures. In short, we want to understand the underlying system of an area of expertise.

Rethink Understanding

Rethink understanding

When it comes to learning, it's easy to make mistakes, to be overconfident, and we need to review our knowledge, to reconsider our understanding. So people should ask themselves as they learn: Do I really know what I think that I know?