How to learn X?

I’ll be honest, I was in two minds Before calling the title of this article How to learn X?. In the end, I decided to go with it. I’m not telling you anything you didn’t already know in this article. I’ve had a fun relationship with learning, there was a time when I absolutely hated learning anything and on the flip side there was a time when I loved learning. This article talks about the different ways we can learn something new and what I find the best way for me to learn X?.

Plus I’ll be making an announcement at the end of this article. Interested in learning more about the below image, continue reading to the end 🙏

Pradip Khakhar

Learning simplified

For me, I had a mindset shift when I realized that learning is based on two components:

  1. My desire and motivation to learn
  2. The ability of the person teaching

Now before anyone gets upset there are a few things I’d like to clarify:

  1. This is my personal opinion and not based on any scientific research
  2. Yes, I agree that learning is my responsibility and not the responsibility of the person teaching.

However, hang in there with me. Here is what I mean.

Imagine when you were sitting in a secondary school class (high school in the USA or any class in general) and you were excited about one particular class. (In my case it was learning French and computing if I can make it two classes).

I had a desire to learn a new language (french), however, the teacher made classes really fun, interactive and engaging. It was a class I looked forward to attending.

However, the “fun” teacher left the school and a new teacher was hired. I still had the desire to learn, however, classes became very boring and the teacher just didn’t have the same passion teaching as my previous teacher.

Could I still have done well in French, absolutely at the end of the day I’d like to think that I have the ability to control my own outcomes.

The point I’m trying to make is that:

  • When you are motivated to learn you’ll make it happen and,
  • When you are not motivated to learn you won’t want to learn. You’ll likely end up making excuses for why you didn’t learn
  • However, the way the materials are presented to you can make a difference in how you learn.

How do you learn?

Everyone learns differently and digests information differently. There is no right way to learn, the education industry and educators need to use different methodologies to connect with students. Below are 3 different mediums that can be used.

I use the term “education industry and educators” loosely as anyone can create educational content today with the technology and tools available to everyone.

Audio

Growing up l don’t recall the use of audio in any of my classes (not even the French class). However, over the last few years, audio has exploded with podcasts. According to podcast statistics, there are over 750,000 podcasts.

In my opinion, this number is outdated as the date of the article is June 01, 2019 and likely more podcasts have started, however, for people like me that have started a podcast but not published on a podcast platform such as Apple Podcasts my podcast will not show up anywhere (except with the host platform).

Listening to audio gives the listener the ability to learn something while multitasking. I often listen to podcasts while cooking, driving or while working I would have an episode running in the background.

Tweet me and let me know When do you listen to podcasts? Click To Tweet

Video

Video has been around for as long as I can remember. The quality of videos has increased tremendously with advances in camera gear and lower barriers to entry. Anyone can easily create a video on a mobile phone and upload it to online platforms in minutes. The power has shifted from corporations controlling the TV to creators who make online videos on platforms such as YouTube. The demand for video has only increased and supported by high engagement rates.

As a result, creating video courses, training and tutorials have exploded. Think about it:

  • When you were onboarded to the company you worked for, did they ask you to watch any videos?
  • Have you Googled and watched a video on YouTube that took you step by step to solve the problem you experienced. Only the other day I Googled something about editing audio files in Audition and how to do something in Photoshop. The best results were step by step YouTube videos by creators who are passionate about sharing their skills.
  • Video is being used in new ways everyday

Video is here to stay and more and more organizations are slowly starting to see the value video can bring their business. Compared to audio it’s much harder to multitask while watching videos since video combines both audio and visual.

Written

Written text includes slide decks, blogs, essays, etc. and in my opinion, written words have been around forever, well ok as far back as I can remember. Starting from first school (kindergarten in the US), learning was about reading. Don’t get me wrong reading is important (and so is writing) but it may not be the best format to learn for everyone.

How to learn X?

Learning is personal and different for each individual. Start to think about what kind of person you are and how you operate. Are you someone who:

  • Loves being in a social environment
  • Needs to write things down
  • Likes to draw or create formulas
  • Learns on your own
  • My personal favorite that has worked for me is “Learn by doing” 🤩

There is no right or wrong way of learning you have to find the best way that works for you. Be self-aware.

Once you’ve realized what your preferred way of learning is the next step is to start applying these methods in school or professional lives and see how it affects how you learn. Are you able to understand and process information quicker?

Naturally, you may not be able to use these methods everywhere. For example, if your boss wants you to read the annual report for Netflix it’s most likely going to be in a written PDF form and not a 3 part documentary (though that might be interesting).

Find what works for you and try to play to your strengths.

By becoming aware of how you learn you may find that you start to enjoy learning and retain information quicker.

Learn by Doing 🤩

This is my favorite method of learning and over the years I’ve realized that for me to effectively learn I need to “learn by doing 🤩” and what I mean is I like to get my hands dirty and learn by going through the motions of doing something.

For example, when I started my podcast I tried to listen to other podcasts, watch videos and read about how others have started their podcasts and what people recommend when starting a podcast.

This only got me so far, I needed a real-world application and I wanted to talk to others who are already podcasting.

I learned more actually going through the motions of starting, recording, and releasing a podcast episode than I did listening to podcasts, watching videos and reading blogs.

Now don’t get me wrong once I started the actual process of podcasting things started to click for me. Things I had heard on podcasts, watching videos and reading all started to make sense.

Let me know how do you learn?

Learn by Doing – Announcement

If you’re like me and like to learn new things by practicing and doing things with a hands-on approach. I am super excited to announce that next Thursday, October 24, 2019, I will be making an announcement that I think will be valuable to you.

If you have not subscribed to the email newsletter please do use the signup form 👇

Learn by Doing - announcement on October 24, 2019. @ 12 noon EST Click To Tweet

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Posted by Pradip Khakhar

Hi, I'm Pradip Khakhar. Product Manager and Founder The Product Angle.

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