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Top 10 Strategies for Learning New Skills

Test Yourself

Testing even beats out methods such as re-reading and reviewing notes when it comes to making sure your learning sticks.

Because it takes the recall process a step further. Recall shows how much of the material you remember. Testing shows you how well you can use what you've learned. After all, that is the ultimate goal of learning.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Top 10 Strategies for Learning New Skills

Top 10 Strategies for Learning New Skills

https://zapier.com/blog/learning-new-skills/

zapier.com

10

Key Ideas

Ditch Your Learning Style

Learning styles (visual, auditory etc.) have actually little impact on our ability to learn.

The best way to learn depends on what you’re trying to learn in the first place. The key is to interact with the information. Using multiple sources will help you with this. Don't stick to books alone—gather relevant videos, podcasts, movies, and blogs as well.

Find Meaning In Learning

If you try to force yourself to just memorize random facts, you’re likely to forget them. 

We will most likely remember only the information that was meaningful to us, that we’ve been able to connect to our lives and our experiences.

Learn by Doing

We learn best when we perform the tasks we’re trying to learn. 

No matter how good your grades were at college, most of your learning takes place once you enter the workplace and start applying what you've learned.

Study the Greats, and Then Practice

While studying the greats is essential, it is more of a passive exercise. In order to gain from it, you need to apply that learning to your own work as well.

Teach What You Learn

One of the more surprising ways you can learn a new skill is to teach it to someone else.

When we learn with the intention to teach, we break the material down into simple, understandable chunks for ourselves. It also forces us to examine the topic more critically and thoroughly, helping us to understand it better.

Practicing Things You Find Difficult

Practice in itself is great, but if you’re practicing things you know well, you’re doing it wrong. 

In order to excel at any skill, you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone and practice things you aren't good at.

Take Frequent Breaks

It's important to let your brain relax for a while after a particularly intense session of study or practice, to give it time to connect the dots.

One good way to practice this is using the Pomodoro Technique: you work on a project for 25 minutes, and then give yourself a 5-minute break. 

Test Yourself

Testing even beats out methods such as re-reading and reviewing notes when it comes to making sure your learning sticks.

Because it takes the recall process a step further. Recall shows how much of the material you remember. Testing shows you how well you can use what you've learned. After all, that is the ultimate goal of learning.

Find A Mentor

Mentorship is perhaps the quickest way to take your skills to the next level. 

A mentor helps you navigate your field by offering invaluable perspective and experience.

Be Curious

Nothing stimulates learning quite like curiosity.

Take the lead of your learning journey. Seek answers from many sources. Don’t merely memorize theories and techniques—question them at every step. Think about why they matter, why they're relevant.

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Have a reason to study

Have an end goal in mind when you're learning.

  • What do you want to do with this information?
  • How is it going to improve your life?

Even if ...

Find the right instructor

Set some time aside to see what courses are available.
Take advantage of any free lessons, watch the introductions to their classes and see if the instructor will be a good fit for your skill level and speed.

Don’t binge

Watching online tutorial videos can become addictive. Keep in mind that you are trying to learn something, not get distracted.

How long you would be able to study depends on the density of the subject and the level of your knowledge about the subject.

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Re-reading and highlighting

Both of these study strategies are relatively ineffective. Passively reading the same text over and over again won’t do much for recall unless it’s spaced out over time. 

Different learning styles

Systematic studies of learning styles have consistently found no evidence or very weak evidence to support the idea that matching the material to a student’s learning style is more effective.

Right or left-brained

There is no conclusive evidence that people preferentially use the left or right hemisphere.

Certain functions are processed more by one region of the brain than others, and this is known as lateralization. But we all use our entire brain equally.

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2 kinds of prior knowledge

... you need two kinds of prior knowledge:

  • Knowledge about the subject at hand (math, history, or programming).
  • Knowledge about how learning actually works.

Force yourself to recall

When learning is difficult, you're doing your best learning, in the same way that lifting a weight at the limit of your capacity makes you stronger. 

When you keep trying to remember a piece of information, you interrupt the forgetting process and help cement the memory of that information into your brain. 

Interleaving

It's a strategy of mixing up the type of problems you solve when you're testing yourself.

That way, the testing conditions are more similar to real life, where you first have to figure out what kind of problem you have on your hands and then solve it. 

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