The foundations for better learning are what put your mindset into a space where you are ready to receive and process as much information as possible.

The important word here is “mindset”, as it starts with a concept called “growth mindset”. Researcher Carol Dweck has done multitudes of research on the topic, and she found that most people have either a growth or fixed mindset.

People with fixed mindsets believe that intelligence and learning ability is innate and determined by genetics. People with growth mindsets believe that intelligence and learning ability is a result of effort and hard work, despite genetic fate. This is an extension of the myth we discussed in the first chapter, the notion that you have a genetic cap to your abilities.

In subsequent studies, Dweck found that people with fixed mindsets tended to learn far worse, because they believed that if they weren’t instantly proficient at something, they were genetically destined to be bad at it. Success was a sign of where they should focus their efforts, and failure was a sign of something to be avoided, as they didn’t feel that they could improve at it. People with growth mindsets, on the other hand, approached new topics with an expectation of struggle and challenge, and knew from their past experiences that hard work could help them overcome what appeared to be impossible at first 먹튀검증사이트.

When you believe that you will face struggle and require work to reach a level of proficiency in anything, you can imagine how this affects the way you learn and grow comfortable outside of your comfort zone. A growth mindset creates the optimistic belief that you can achieve just about anything with hard work and time.One of the foundations to better learning is the belief that you can learn better.

The next foundation is to understand the pyramid of learning, which you’ll see traces of throughout this book. Many people have questioned the accuracy of the pyramid, but I would argue that it’s not meant to be taken as an exact number, rather a useful guideline that demonstrates that really matters in retaining knowledge.

The pyramid is as follows:

  • You retain 5% when you hear a lecture
  • 10% when you read
  • 20% from audio visual processing
  • 30% from demonstrating [this and up are demonstration methods]
  • 50% from group discussion [this and below are participatory methods]
  • 75% from practice by doing
  • 90% from teaching others

As you can see, the exact numbers may not be that important, but the differences in style are telling. The middle few might differ for many people, but the ends of the spectrum are absolutely true. The more you proactively process and participate in the analysis of information, the better you will retain and learn it. The more passively you intake information without a second thought, the less you will retain and learn. Would you learn more from surfing for two hours, or watching a movie about surfing?

Let’s take two examples: one physical and one mental, to see how this works in real life.

If you want to learn how to ski, you aren’t going to learn much from a lecture or reading. You might learn about the mechanics and why certain actions matter, but you won’t actually be able to ski unless you do it. You demonstrate it for others, then receive immediately feedback, and you practice by doing so you can apply what you’ve learned. Obviously, for a physical act, we can see that learning is almost non-existent without moving down the spectrum toward active participation and analysis.

And now for the mental example.

If you want to learn more about the history of Spain, you might learn a good deal just from passively processing the information. You could take notes, re-read your notes, watch a documentary on Spanish conquistadors and Christopher Columbus, and easily be considered well-read on the topic.

However, imagine how much more you would gain if you were to dissect with others the motivations of the Spanish Inquisition, or create a video to demonstrate just how Columbus sailed across the Atlantic ocean. Further, imagine if you practiced rehearsing a speech about Spanish history that was meant to teach your co-workers. Finally, imagine that your co-workers were all Spanish, so they were going to pepper you with questions that you had to prepare for.

It’s a different level of learning that occurs when you roll up your sleeves and really analyze a topic versus simply reading it. Remember, while the pyramid of learning isn’t 100% accurate, it’s accurate at the top and bottom levels, which create important distinctions in learning technique.

The next foundation to better learning is to understand focus. The attention and energy we can put toward learning is our most valuable resource because it’s the most limited. We might have all weekend, but we might run out of attention span or energy to learn by Saturday afternoon. Therefore, we have to learn to extend our attention span and focus a bit better for better learning.

The first step in better focus is to give up your attempts at multi-tasking.

This could easily have been covered in the first chapter about myths, but I felt it fit better when talking about the quest for focus. When you attempt to multi-task, your focus, attention, and energy is spent switching between your tasks and re-orienting yourself to exactly where you were before you switched. It’s like swimming against the current. Every time you take a stroke, you might only get one quarter of a stroke forward because of the current, and sometimes you might even go backwards despite your best efforts.

It’s an inefficient use of your time that ends up in your becoming well-versed in the beginning stages of many tasks, but never quite seeing them to completion.

The better approach is to be willfully ignorant of everything else you need to do, while giving full attention to one task at a time. In a sense, a lumberjack can only chop the tree in front of him or her, and can’t do anything with a bunch of half-chopped trees. Chopping the tree in front of you will allow you to make better progress on everything more than actively working on it while multi-tasking. It’s counterintuitive yet true.

The next step is to proactively prevent procrastination, and you can do this in a few ways. You can visually clear your workspace so nothing catches your attention and distracts you. You can impose a “one-touch” rule, which means the first time you see or touch a task is the moment you take care of it to completion. This is easier said than done. Finally, you must beware of what I like to call the trap of productive procrastination.

It’s when we suddenly feel the need to vacuum our carpets or clean our bathrooms right when we have real work to do. It doesn’t feel like a waste of time because in theory you are doing something positive and productive. However, it doesn’t help your overall goal, and only assists you in avoiding something else. It may not be the worst habit, but it’s something we don’t realize we’re doing to simply avoid more urgent or difficult work.

The final step to better focus is to pay attention to your attention. What do I mean by this?

Think of your attention like a muscle. You can’t overwork it, and there is a limit as to what you can do with it on a daily basis. You can also train it to be bigger and better, and there are certain things that improve and discourage it. You can give it breaks and you can also recharge it.

The biggest takeaway should be that your attention is a limited quantity. You have to preserve it for the tasks that you need to get done. Whether this means saving it by avoiding other tasks, or preemptively removing temptation for your attention (such as television or objects to fiddle with) from your surroundings, you need to treat it like a battery that runs down throughout the day.

You can’t learn well when your attention levels are shot, so take care to pay attention to your attention before you start, and during your learning. Sometimes you can’t force yourself to push through, and that’s okay.

The end goal of all of these foundations is to set ourselves up for success, and success has been conveniently defined for these purposes by Noel Burch in the four levels of competency.

The four levels of competency are:

  • Unconscious competence ? We have incorrect intuition about what we’re learning because we don’t understand it at all.
  • Conscious incompetence ? We have incorrect analysis about what we’re learning, because we only know some of the ground rules.
  • Conscious competence ? We have correct analysis but not habits or intuition yet, as we’re only getting started with successful application of the ground rules.
  • Unconscious competence ? We have correct intuition about the future because we have seen and analyzed the application of the ground rules enough that we can understand what will happen before it happens.

The same examples from before clearly illustrate these levels of competency. You can only learn to ski when you understand the ground rules and develop habits to apply them, which gives you instinctual habits when you’re skiing down a slope that is new to you. Likewise, you might understand Spanish history, but if you take the trends and analyze them, you can explain why certain events occurred and justify the current Spanish position in Europe.

Be aware that unconscious competence is where some people start from, and it’s dangerous because they typically make terrible teachers because of their inability to explain their reasoning not based on a gut feeling.

The levels of competency and creating intuition mirror the true learning process in a nutshell:

1. Try
2. Achieve or fail
3. If you fail, analyze failure
4. Go to step one.

Where this process can go wrong is the following:

1. Try
2. Achieve or fail
3. If you fail, analyze failure incorrectly or fail to correct actions.
4. Go to step one.

The pyramid of learning, four levels of competency, and better focus all contribute to ensuring that you don’t fall into the trap of the second, failing process.

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