What Is The Best Way To Learn, Or Learn How To Learn?
Once again, a smattering from many on this subject, but I can vouch for many of these techniques.
It means transferring the skills you have learned in one field to something else.
Some obvious examples.
- If you learn one instrument you can learn another easier than the first.
- If you have learnt a new language it is easier to learn another quicker than the first.
But there are other aspects of it.
If you have learned to play the piano, you will be able to learn touch typing easier. This is because learning touch typing requires a rhythm and hand-and-eye motor skills.
If you have learnt to draw well you will generally be more observant.
You can use Venn diagrams to see what skills have in common.
Let’s imagine you want to learn three different subjects of:
Also assume you were a beginner in each, and had only an hour a day to learn.
- Typing and piano both require hand practice (the overlapping skill)
- Touch Typing requires typing out words. You can choose to type out french words from french songs. So words are the common element.
- Piano requires learning songs. You can choose to learn french songs..
You can now use your practice hour in the following way.
- Practice your typing for twenty minutes. This will get your hands warmed up, and increase your french vocabulary.
- Then practise the piano for twenty minutes. Try singing the french words to the songs you are learning.
- Now practice your french by learning new french songs.
This is only an indication of how skills can be transferred. We do it all the time in lesser ways, but it can be worked out systematically.
In my own case I once worked as a sailor.
I transferred that skill to helping run a diving boat. I was able to get free diving lessons for doing this.
Once I had learned to dive, I took up underwater photography. I now used my diving skills to get photos.
Once I got photos I sent them to magazines, so used my photo skills to get into journalism.
Once I got into journalism I wrote travel articles about diving.
I then expanded my journalistic skills to other subjects.
In most cases I simply learned enough to do the job required, so I was never particularly good at any of them, but good enough to achieve my purpose.
From an outside view I appeared to be a quick learner with many skills, whereas I was a normal learner with adequate skills applied in a systematic way.
- Learning occurs because of repetition
- Learners must connect new knowledge to previous knowledge in order to learn
The first one is pretty straightforward. Repeatedly think about something and the neurons related to that something will grow dendrites and make associations with other neurons, making it easier for us to remember and recall that something, when needed. We all know how to learn or memorize by repetition.
The second is the more complicated one. Our brains store information by context and association based on existing mental models (AKA schema). If we want to learn new information successfully we need to either find an existing mental model that will associate with the new information or we need to build a new mental model in which the new information will fit.
The quick learner determines the analogous existing mental model or realizes when they don’t have an existing acceptable mental model and they back-off and build a new mental model before trying to absorb the concept that is new. Building new mental models can be done by outlining or mind-mapping. Start with the central new concept and branch off to the key features of that concept. Keep branching off until you reach a point where you have existing knowledge that can connect to the new knowledge.
Here is a crude example. Let’s assume we wanted to learn how to play chess:
By making the association between the shape of the Bishop piece and a picture of a bishop’s hat we will have a neural association that will make it easy for us to recognize which piece is the Bishop.
Using images wherever practical is a benefit, because our brains are better at remembering images than words.