Throughout the history, learning has been associated with intelligence, memory, curiosity and being in an intellectual environment. However, in such a fast moving world the burning questions are how we find motivation and time, how we learn more efficiently and quickly, and how we stay up-to-date continuously.
Many people mistakenly believe that people are born learners or not. So many srudies display that learning is a learned behaviour. From my perspective, learning is not a result or the last point we arrive, it is a continuous effort. It is a process that allows us to satisfy our curiosity, to pursue our interests, or to try new things.
In this post we will discover how learning mechanism works and which steps help us digest what we learn.
The mechanism of learning: Learning is a process where we turn our observations and experiences into behavioral change. In addition to that, some significant components such as memory, curiosity and repetition help us store information during this process. Sure, all of them are necessary but according to a majority of researches, memory might be our best friend in this process or the cruelest enemy. Learning is not just about remembering but also understanding, processing and formulating knowledge correctly. Alright, if you are ready, it is time to think about steps of learning.
Step One-Set a goal: We first have to set clear and achievable goals about what we want to learn. And then, we can develop strategies to reach these goals. For example, we can start by asking ourselves questions. Why do I want to learn this topic? What will I gain at the end of the day? Or how can I use this information in my personal/professional life? We can harness the power of questions in that stage.
Step Two-Be ready to learn: In this part, we need to arrange ourselves and our environment. In other words, we can start listing what motivates us and what hinders us from learning. We all have habits in our lives that make it easier for us to focus and keep us from focusing. For example, I am always using a list that contains my personal motivators and distractions. While learning something new or practicing something, I glance at my list and then I start. By the way, I wanted to share this step after setting a goal because maybe seeing your goal first helps you find enough motivation and go on with your process. Whatever floats your boat, you can also swap it with the first step.
Step Three-Make your learning enjoyable: Scientists proved that when people are releasing happiness hormones such as dopamine and serotonin, they might be willing to learn more and to try new things. Also, we know that the lack of these hormones affects our memory activities negatively. To my way of thinking, this step is very personal and we must search out a way that makes our learning simple. Let me give you example, when I learn something new, I benefit from my curiosity. In the past I was sharing what I learn with my close circle or with my team but now I am sharing it in Medium. Teaching someone something or acting like a teacher make this stage enjoyable for me. These are my catalysts on this journey and they work for me. However, that does not mean they work for everyone that‘s why you should find your method.
Step Four-Make connections: The ability to make connections involves your prior knowledg and prior experience with new ones. It is clear that we are more successful when we relate the topics to our daily lives. For instance, just imagine one who excels at statistics programs and s/he is also trying to learn a new program. Obviously, s/he can understand the key points because s/he is more inclined to comprehend the formulas and design. Another example comes from my own expertise. I was in a part of training that paved the way for being an internal instuctor in my last company. I realized that I was using my prior trainings such as considering personality types, asking right questions and making presentations in front of people. Thanks to this training I had a chance to tap into with my prior experience and incorporate all steps.
Step Five-Repeat: The last but not least, final step is repetition and in my opinion, it is the most challenging part because it requires discipline, time, and most importantly enthusiasm. The benefit of repetition is not only to ensure remembering, but also to learn the subject better. Even if the subject is understood very well when it is first learned, the information does not take place completely in the mind. Conversely, when the subject is repeated, the mind refreshes the information and connects with the old information. For example, I am writing these posts again and again in English to enhance my language and writing skills. My north star is to share my ideas by writing. Also, you can find yours that will evolve as you evolve. And I am sure you can find something that pushes you to reach your future goals.
To make a long story short, there is a saying that you will find cliche. Yet, it is absolutely true. “If you stay where you are, you will be left behind.” In every part of our lives we are learning new things from our baby steps to our last day. Maybe we are good at it or not. It should not be forgotten that we do not have to wait until we reach our goals to be proud of ourselves, to push ourselves to be perfect, to pursue the extraordinary. All we need on this journey is to be proud of every step we take.
Thank you for reading and I hope you liked it. Tschüss!