I went to university for seven years and earned four degrees. During that time, nobody ever taught me how to study, think or learn better. Like most people, I’ve learned how to learn by trial and error.
As a teacher now, I must admit with some embarrassment that I rarely tell my students how they can improve their learning.
Today, I want to break that cycle, and present three key steps to peak learning.
A peak learner is someone who is able to quickly change his/her knowledge, skills and behavior to fit his/her environment. More precisely, it’s someone who can maximize the speed and size of that change.
In order to get there, you need to work on three areas: awareness, behavior and competence, or ABC.
First, there’s no real learning without awareness. Whether you’re learning Spanish, golf, or how to be nicer, you need to hone your sense of observation to differentiate what works fine from what works great. Even if you’re already getting feedback from a coach or a teacher, evaluating correctly your learning practices and results is essential.
Do you want to turbo-boost your self-assessment capacity? Keep a personal journal.
Second, like any top athlete, you need to implement effective habits or behaviors into your life.
The last step is central to your quest. You must master some crucial strategies and competences.
Here are ten of them, which I will cover in greater depth in this blog: active recall, pretesting, self-testing, elaborate encoding, deliberate practice, visualization, semantic organization, optimal theory/practice ratio, optimal rehearsal intervals, working memory enhancement, and perceptual strengthening.
Knowledge workers have no choice but to become peak learners. The future arrives faster and faster, and the lifespan of your technical skills and knowledge is therefore getting shorter and shorter.
Becoming a peak learner is really your best competitive edge.