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How to Build Skills That Matter

Designing your learning project

  • Don't focus on an ambitious goal. Yes, it could inspire you, but it could also frustrate you. 
  • Pick your quitting time in advance. Committing to an indefinite timetable means you’ll give up as soon as things get tough.
  • Regardless of how much reading is required, give priority to the practice you intend to do.

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How to Build Skills That Matter

How to Build Skills That Matter

https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2020/04/01/skills-that-matter/

scotthyoung.com

4

Key Ideas

Scott H Young

Scott H Young

"In times of difficulty, you want your efforts to matter. Not just to pass the time, but to build something that endures."

The illusion of transfer

Transfer is the ability to apply and use what you learn.
Research showed several times the fact that much of what we set out to learn doesn’t actually transfer to the situations we need it. This applies to school, but also to your own learning efforts.

Applying the knowledge

Make sure your learning project involves something you do or not just something you learn.

  • Don’t just learn a new language, aim to have conversations with people.
  • Don’t just read a book on JavaScript, build a functioning website.
  • Don’t just watch lectures, do practice problems from the exam.

Designing your learning project

  • Don't focus on an ambitious goal. Yes, it could inspire you, but it could also frustrate you. 
  • Pick your quitting time in advance. Committing to an indefinite timetable means you’ll give up as soon as things get tough.
  • Regardless of how much reading is required, give priority to the practice you intend to do.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Practice loops

Practice loops are useful as a concept to think about learning any skill. A practice loop is an activity or group of activities you repeat over and over again while learning somet...

Loops and drills

Many loops aren’t straightforward repetitions. You may never write the same essay twice. The loop isn't writing a particular essay, but the overall process for writing essays.

In the same way, each thing you learn may have more than one loop. Drills are smaller loops to focus on smaller parts of the bigger loop.

Designing Your Practice Loop

Step one involves figuring out what your loops are. These are the activities you repeat over and over when learning something.

Next, analyze the loop for different parts to see whether you can make improvements. It will result in faster learning.

2 more ideas

When to Study

When to Study

Studying time is more efficient if it is spread out over many sessions throughout the semester, with a little extra right before the exam.

Cover each piece of info five times from when you fi...

What and How to Study

Testing yourself, so you have to retrieve the information from memory, works much better than repeatedly reviewing the information, or creating a concept map (mind map).

After the first time learning the material, spend the subsequent studying to recalling the information, solving a problem or explaining the idea without glancing at the source.

What Kinds of Practice to Do

For a particular exam, use the following:
  • Mock tests and exams that are identical in style and form.
  • Redo problems from assignments, textbook questions or quizzes.
  • Generate your own questions or writing prompts based on the material.

2 more ideas

Long-term flexible commitment

What many people fail at with long-term commitments is that they make their initial vision too rigid.

Flexible commitment can help overcome this by bringing together two pr...

Walk the Winding Path

  1. Stick to short commitments. Get good at this skill before going further.
  2. Understand your goal at different levels. The highest goal should be fairly abstract.
  3. Set a much more specific agenda of how I could fulfill this.
  4. Have periodic reviews where you can change your direction and incorporate new ideas. 
  5. Don't let your reviews interfere with the short-term process of committing.

The winding path: Goals and projects

Imagine your ambitions on two levels:
  1. A goal level, which is big-picture and abstract. It has just enough detail to inspire, but not so much that you're stuck pursuing things that don’t matter when conditions change. 
  2. Underneath that, have projects: these tend to be short-to-medium term efforts you think will help realize the larger goal.

The flexibility of the system comes once one leg of a short-term commitment has ended. This provides an opportunity for pivoting and redirecting.