Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pattern of learning

To succeed in 2015, we'll have to learn faster. Here's how:
1. You have to know what you want of your life before you become a master learner. If you don’t know what your goals are or dream life should look like, you don’t know WHAT to learn and, worse, you won’t be COMMITTED to truly learning it. Advanced learning requires clear focus and a definitive WHY for learning - without these you won’t stay disciplined enough to learn anything with real depth.
2. Avoid starting from scratch. With no model to begin from - no example or strategy you are following - you’re reinventing the wheel and doomed to waste time. So, what proven framework, person, strategy, or step-by-step instruction are you following in order to learn this new area?
3. Make a PRACTICE of mastering skillsets. A practice is a recurring habit or routine that deepens your skill in any given area. The important thing here is to make a daily practice of anything you truly want to learn. Without daily exposure and immersion in the area you are trying to learn you will never achieve mastery. Learning must be an everyday discipline.
4. Get feedback. As you begin something new, all leaps forward, all major advancement, rests on getting immediate feedback and direction. Learning is a social process, so ask other people for suggestions and direction as you move forward so you can adjust your approach. Don't listen to the haters, but never forget their can be valuable feedback from others even if you don't like how they delivered it.
5. Have a deadline. Without a timeline for developing your competencies, you’ll never act or you’ll fall off track. No deadline means guaranteed distraction. So, WHEN do you need to learn this new topic or reach the next level of skill? What’s the consequence if you don’t learn it by then? Knowing the answer to these two questions will accelerate your learning.
Watch the video and get the mp3/transcript here:
High performance coach and bestselling author of The Motivation Manifesto reveals 5 simple strategies for learning faster. These are common sense ideas but NOT common practice. You start with...
I am fascinated by ways people break down the steps to learning.  A how-to get information processed and used.  I am going to break these down to my own words.
1. Know your WHY?  I wrote a while back about knowing why you do what you do.  Then be committed to that WHY... without commitment it is easy to wander off on tangents that mean little to the central why.
2.  Learn from others.  We can't live long enough to make all the mistakes yourself.  This to me includes reading, taking classes, and listening to others.  

3.  Practice what you learn.  Learning means nothing if it is not put into practice.  

4. Get feedback.  This is the step that I feel a teacher, counselor or someone that has already gone before is helpful.  It is too easy to exchange ignorance.  The value is having someone to give healthy, informed feedback.  I was blessed with a professor that taught me the value of a good critique.  

5. A deadline is a goal with a date attached.  I agree with this one because without a deadline people tend to zig and zag or spin their wheels with minute details.  Deadlines keep me moving.  

The cool thing about this pattern is it can be used for learning anything.  I've used this myself many times.  I just have to remind myself that deadlines sometimes need to be fluid.  Moved back if needed or recognize that the task is larger than expected.  I believe in being a life long learner.  There is so much to learn in this world.  I would add one prerequisite....curiosity.

A story that I heard years ago illustrates the value of learning:

An older woman approached Dr. Louis Agassiz, a distinguished American
naturalist, after a lecture he gave in London. She complained that she had
never really had a chance to learn because of her lot in life. She and her
sister ran a boardinghouse and she simply didn't have time for anything
else. After listening to the woman's story, Dr. Agassiz responded, "Do you
say, madam, you never had a chance? What do you do?" She replied, "I skin
potatoes and chop onions." He then inquired, "Madam, where do you sit
during these interesting but homely duties?"

"On the bottom step of the kitchen stairs."
"Where do your feet rest?"
"On the glazed brick."
"What is glazed brick?"
"I don't know, sir."
"How long have you been sitting there?"
"Fifteen years."

Dr. Agassiz then handed her his business card saying, "Madam, here is my
personal card. Would you kindly write me a letter concerning the nature of
a glazed brick?"

An odd request indeed, especially from someone so highly esteemed in the
scientific world. The woman took the request seriously. She looked up
"brick" in the dictionary, which stated that it was a piece of baked clay.
This definition was far too simple to send to a famous scientist, so she
continued her search moving on to the encyclopedia. As she read about
bricks, she came to words that were unfamiliar to her, so she looked them
up in the dictionary. She became more and more intrigued. She studied
geology to understand how clay beds were created. She visited museums and
libraries to obtain more in-depth articles. She even visited a local
brickyard. When she felt her studies were complete on the matter, she sat
down and wrote Dr. Agassiz a 36-page letter on the subject of glazed brick
and tile.

In time, a reply came from Dr. Agassiz in which he informed her that it
was the best article he had ever seen on the subject and then asked, "If
you will kindly change the three words marked with asterisks, I will have
it published and pay you for it." Soon a letter was received by the old
spinster containing $250, quite a large sum in that day. Accompanying the
payment was another question, "What is under those bricks?"

She looked under the bricks and discovered ants. Thus she began an
in-depth study of ants. She found there were as many as 2,500 different
kinds. In order to understand the ant family she needed to study other
subjects as well. After extensive reading and careful study, she wrote 360
pages on the subject to Dr. Agassiz. This time he published it as a book
and sent her a large sum of money which she used to travel and visit all
the lands of her dreams. 

Graduation is not the end of learning. 

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