When it comes to learning a new skill or subject, it’s not just a matter of simply absorbing information. There are other skills involved in the learning process that we often overlook. For example, having good study skills is essential for gathering and retaining knowledge. Developing these skills takes practice, and there are many ways to practice and apply what you’ve learned. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most valuable methods for practicing skills that have proven effective for many learners.
1. Deliberate Practice
The concept of deliberate practice has been around for a long time, and to many, it represents the true path to mastery. It’s been said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something, and this is often true. However, what is often overlooked is the type of practice that is needed to achieve this level of mastery. Anders Ericsson, the author of “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise,” was the first to uncover this phenomenon, and his research has shown that the key to overcoming learning plateaus is through deliberate practice.
Deliberate practice involves quick and rapid bursts of continued improvements. It involves breaking a skill down into different parts, having a schedule, having a coach or mentor to guide you, and seeking feedback. While you can practice a skill without a coach or mentor, it’s always better to have one. They can help you fine-tune your techniques and provide a feedback loop to ensure you’re progressing in the right direction.
2. Spaced Repetition
Spaced repetition is a technique often overlooked by schools and teachers, but it’s highly relevant to how we learn. It’s a perfect method for retaining information, practicing skills, and growing meaningfully as we get older. As the name suggests, spaced repetition is all about encountering certain pieces of information regularly. The more often you encounter this information, the less often you need your memory refreshed on it.
To use spaced repetition, review your notes within 20-24 hours of the initial intake of information. Recall the information the next day without the use of your notes at all. Do this during periods where not much is going on, like when you’re sitting down, going for a walk, or relaxing in general. From that point on, recall the information every 24 to 36 hours over the next several days. Finally, study it all over again after several more days have passed. If you’re studying for a test, make sure it’s done a week before that. A week gives your brain enough time to reprocess concepts.
3. Feedback Loop
A feedback loop can help you learn a skill by appreciating the information about your performance and optimizing the quality of your learning methods or style. Creating a feedback loop for your learning pursuits is simple:
– Establish definite outcomes and goals.
– Begin with the basics before delving into bigger challenges.
– Test yourself to see if you’re learning.
– Teach other people to reinforce concepts and get new perspectives.
– Reflect on your progress and make self-assessments.
– Look for a mentor to guide you.
Self-reflection is the ultimate way of getting feedback as you can look at your progress and make self-assessments. If you’re not progressing enough, ask how you can move to a higher aim or proficiency. Having a mentor can also help you be a better learner by giving you a new perspective and allowing you to grasp concepts faster.
Learning-by-teaching is one of the most effective ways to retain information, understand concepts, and ultimately be better at the skill or subject you’re learning. Several studies have shown that teaching improves the teacher’s learning as it compels them to retrieve information from previously studied subjects.
To use this method, you’ll need to find someone who’s interested in learning the same skill or subject you’re learning. Teach them what you’ve learned in a way that they can understand it. By explaining the topic to someone else, you’ll be able to identify any gaps in your understanding and fill them in. You’ll also be reinforcing the concepts in your mind by articulating them in a new way.
Learning a new skill or subject takes more than just absorbing information. It takes practice, and there are many effective methods for practicing and applying what you’ve learned. Deliberate practice is essential for overcoming learning plateaus. Spaced repetition is highly relevant for retaining information and practicing skills. A feedback loop is important for getting feedback and optimizing the quality of your learning methods. Learning-by-teaching is one of the most effective ways to retain information, understand concepts, and ultimately be better at a skill or subject. By using these methods, you’ll be able to learn faster, retain more, and ultimately achieve mastery.