You’ve heard the common saying “Learning how to learn is life’s most important lesson”. Which begs the question; ‘How do you know that you have learnt the best way to learn?’
As students in the technical field, we are often faced with fast-changing dynamics. Technology is changing at an insane rate, trends keep springing up every day, geeks are innovating incrementally, and new certifications seem to mushroom on Coursera, Pluralsight, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft, Google, and AWS, just to mention but a few.
It gets overwhelming, especially with the plethora of technical skills available currently. We want to do it all, but are we going about it the right way?
I know several friends who have started taking a course on these online learning platforms, just for them to drop out, either due to a lack of interest, lack of motivation, having too much on their plate due to academic pressure, or sheer exhaustion. I won’t just hook this on my friends, I have also fallen on the unfortunate end of this learning pyramid. I often find this highly demoralising, if one does not finish a course he/she started, their productivity takes a dive, and a negative feedback loop is formed, where one feels sad, pressured, or lazy from leaving a task incomplete. As Tik Tok puts it ‘The pressure is getting worser’.
I recently read a quote on Twitter that goes “If you are not willing to learn no one can help you but if you are willing to learn no one can stop you”.
I couldn’t agree more with this, most companies right now offer aptitude tests, behavioural and Pymetrics test testing one key skill and that is teachability.
How teachable are you?
You can assess yourself through your interaction with peers to try and figure out whether you have a teachable spirit or if it is a weak point that needs nurturing. Some are very loyal to the mantra “we’ll cross the bridge when we get there”. Sure, the bridge will be crossed, but at what cost and at what pace?
Before we get to the hypothetical bridge, we need to equip ourselves with what it takes to cross the bridge efficiently.
- Stop learning everything, just choose one or a couple if you must but one thing for sure, narrow down your niche and focus your attention on learning, actually learning the ins and outs of one skill at a time.
- While at it, do take notes , your brain is indeed a computer but for the love of Christ don’t overrate it, you know you’ll probably forget.
- Explain what you’ve learnt to someone else to test whether you got the fundamental concept. Alternatively, why don’t you just practice out loud, be it Infront of a mirror or otherwise, you can even explain the concepts to an imaginary audience! The best part, you might ask, nobody will judge you!
- Have a to-do list to help you organize your tasks. Ideally, you can set different times to handle different tasks depending on their difficulty level. Do the hard tasks while you are at full concentration and the easy tasks when you feel yourself tiring. Ticking off items on a to-do list is a good way to motivate you and boost your momentum.
- Pomodoro technique. Ever heard of it? I wish I knew about this one earlier. The Pomodoro technique teaches you to focus. You train your brain to focus on a task for 25 minutes then take a 5-minute break, focus for another 25 minutes, then take another break. Using this method, you can end up having long hours of productivity and achieving a lot of your daily goals.
- Don’t shy from a mistake. If anything, making mistakes and correcting them is one of the best ways to self-teach. Mistakes should not deter you from continuing with your learning journey. Be lenient enough with yourself, and keep embracing the mistakes, that’s the beauty of learning at your own pace.
- Test your knowledge. Yeah, we all wish Henry Fischel hadn’t invented school exams, but hey, testing your knowledge will enlighten you on your weaknesses and strong points, this way, learning becomes easier since you know exactly what to focus on to succeed. By testing yourself I don’t mean just giving yourself questions or tasks you are sure to ace, test your limits and push yourself to do more. Remember what Kipchoge said, of course, you are not limited!
Learning can be made fun if we change our mindset and attune our focus to be on growth. Cultivating a culture of pure and unaltered curiosity to know more and a genuine interest to learn a skill. It starts by pushing oneself to inquire clarifying questions, read books, watch shows, and generally consume content that adds inspirational, educational, and entertainment value. Entertainment, yes you read that right, entertainment is said to enrich learning experiences.
Till next Time!