EFFECTIVE LEARNING FOR THE HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL
Self-development separates the average professional from the highly successful professional. Whichever way we look at it, learning is an inevitable concomitant of life. Let us take one step back and determine whether what we are learning is contributing to our growth and that we are not just learning, but learning effectively .
1. Performance versus Learning
We reward ourselves with a pat on the back for performing well. Performing well could also be misleading depending on the level at which we are operating. When a novice performs a task at a level of knowledge and experience required to complete the novice task, it can be executed with excellent results. However, the same performance for a task that requires the knowledge and experience of an expert will not be sufficient to achieve excellent results. To perform at the level of an expert we need to grow. How? Growth comes from learning effectively until we reach the adequate level of performance. There comes a time when a comfort zone is reached and we perform well at that level. The focus has to again shift to effective learning that stimulates growth for the next level. Staying relevant is essential as a professional. Keep learning, but learn effectively that stimulates the right type of growth.
2. Learn, Forget and Learn Again
Consuming an enormous amount of information over a short period of time can be strenuous on the brain, but does the information stick in your memory. It will in the short term. Over the long term though it will probably be forgotten. Continuous cramming of information over a short period of time should be avoided as it can possibly lead to fatigue. So how do we ensure that what we learn can be remembered over a longer period of time? Learn in regular short periods over a longer period of time. This method of learning enables us to forget the information and learn the information again. Learning by forgetting ensures that when we refresh our knowledge on the specific topic we are learning to remember information over a long period of time that remains in our memory.
3. Learn to Understand
The best way to remember what we learn is to understand what we are reading. We make the mistake of reading information without reading it in the context. The information goes in and immediately out again. We might as well not have read it in the first place. Read to understand the context and when the context changes pause and identify how the new context relates to the previous context. This might be difficult at first, especially when time is limited. Avoid the time limitation by planning your learning effectively. Next, if possible, try to tie the information to a major event that happened in your life. A major event could trigger a memory that may enable you to remember.
Effective learning is achieved by learning that stimulates growth, learning in regular short periods over a longer period of time, learning to understand the context and associating the context with a life event. Invest time in your learning and reap the rewards.