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Why some people learn and master skills easily while most struggle and quit? Here are the right steps to learn any skill.
We know that learning something can many times be frustrating, but it’s partly because we have the wrong approach to the learning process. We unknowingly skip steps or even go against the correct way to learn.
How to learn faster
Here are the right steps to learn any skill:
1. Understanding. The first step to learning anything is to understand what you are trying to learn.
It does not stop there however, the fact that we understand something doesn’t mean we learned it. Think about the books you’ve read or the lectures you have attended; you probably understood most of it but days or even just hours later, you forgot almost everything.
2. Memorizing. The second step to learning is to memorize the steps of the skill or knowledge you are trying to learn. For example, you have to memorize the steps you for a golf swing, or the progressive steps to make a sale. If you can’t remember the steps, you will skip some of them and won’t be able to do things right. As you can see, understanding and memorizing are not the same thing, they are two different steps of the learning process. You can memorize without understanding, and you can understand without memorizing. Both steps are very important to learn things properly.
3. Safe Practice. After you understand what you are trying to learn and have memorized the steps, you can go into practicing the skill itself. The best way to practice is to do it in a safe environment where you can work on one piece of the skill at a time, make mistakes and correct. An important note here is that practice is not the same as repetition. For practice to be of any value you have to push yourself just a bit beyond your current level. You need to stretch a little beyond your comfort zone for your skill to develop.
4. Bridge (Simulation/Rehearsal). Once you have practiced your skill, you need to create an environment similar to real performance.
During the safe practice step, If you were learning a song in the guitar, you would have practiced a few pieces of the song at a time, stopping and repeating until you get them right, and then slowly putting the song together.
During the simulation step however, you need to play the entire song without stops or repeats as if you were performing it for an audience -but with the benefit of not having stakes in your performance. This will allow you to prepare for the real thing.
5. Performance. You understand what you are learning, you memorized the material, you practiced every piece individually, and you then put them together in a simulated “real game” scenario. You are now ready to “perform” (or execute if you will). The performance is where all comes together.
You are not necessarily learning at this stage, you are just letting what you learned during practice and simulation to come to life. This is the stage you dedicate so much time and energy for; here’s where you let your skill take over and enjoy the ride. While this step doesn’t advance your learning as much as the previous ones, it is vital for getting feedback to use in the last step…
6. Fine tune. Once you are done with your “performance” there is a final step in the learning process you won’t want to miss, fine-tuning. Right after the performance, you analyze what you did right and what needs correction. Take everything you think could use some improvement and bring it back to the “practice” stage or the “understanding” phase if the problem has to do with the knowledge of the skill. Correct what needs correction and go through the steps once more. Always remember, we are designed to learn.
If you diligently Keep running through the cycle (understanding, memorizing, practicing, simulating, performing and correcting) and you persist in the process, you will get better, it’s inevitable. This was an overview of the right learning structure. Every step has its own set of strategies, techniques, challenges, and benefits. We’ll be going back to these steps often and discussing them in depth in future articles.
In the upcoming articles we’ll be discussing Goals, Mastery, Learning strategies, and more. Don’t miss a post, sign up below to get my newest articles in your inbox.