10 strategies quick learners use to pick up anything

Learning is a skill in itself.

We need to get good at it, since the tools we use to do our jobs are changing every year.

In a recent Quora thread, users answered the question: What learning strategies do people who are “quick learners” follow? We’ve outlined some of the best ideas for for optimizing the learning process, along with the latest in productivity research, below.

To understand a problem, ask “why” five times.

In “The Lean Startup,” author Eric Ries offers the “Five Whys” technique for getting to the root of an issue. The idea is to get to the underlying cause of a superficial problem — one that, more often than not is more human than technical error.

To see the quintuple-why strategy in action, lets look at his hypothetical startup example:

1. A new release disabled a feature for customers. Why? Because a particular server failed.

2. Why did the server fail? Because an obscure subsystem was used in the wrong way.

3. Why was it used in the wrong way? The engineer who used it didn’t know how to use it properly.

4. Why didn’t he know? Because he was never trained.

5. Why wasn’t he trained? Because his manager doesn’t believe in training new engineers because he and his team are “too busy.”

By pushing the inquiry five times, Ries says we can see how a “purely technical fault is revealed quickly to be a very human managerial issue.”

Keep a positive attitude.

Worrying that you’re not going to be able to learn something is a poor investment of your mental energy, says Harvard Business School professor Alison Wood Brooks.

“Anxiety precludes you from exploring real solutions and real thought patterns that will come up with solutions,” she says. But when you’re feeling good about what might happen, you get into an opportunity-oriented mindset. “So you think of all of the good things that can happen. You’re more likely to make decisions and take actions that will make that world likely to occur.”

Don’t just learn about it; practice it.

“You can’t learn golf from a book. You need to swing a club at a ball,” says Quora user Mark Harrison, the head of technology at British financial company FundingKnight. “You can’t learn Ruby on Rails from a book — you need to put together a site.”

Find an expert, and then ask them about their expertise.

If you’re trying to learn a subject, talk to an expert who can explain it. Buy them lunch, and ask them all about their craft. Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” is a master of this. Whenever he’s trying to learn a sport, he’ll seek out the nearest silver medalist, arrange for an interview, and then grill them on technique.

Get an accountability buddy.

Find somebody else who’s trying to build the same skill as you — be it rock climbing, cello, or French cooking — and experience the learning process with them. Set up regular times to check in on your progress, whether in person or via Skype, Harrison recommends.

When you don’t understand, say so.

Another tip from Harrison: When you don’t understand something in a meeting, go ahead and put up your hand and ask, “Sorry, can you just explain why?” Dumb people will think it’s dumb, he says, but smart folks will admire the curiosity.

As Mortimer Adler advises in “How To Read A Book,” learning is very much a matter of being aware of when you’re perplexed, and then following up on that perplexity.

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

It’s not so much that practice makes perfect; it just makes actions go faster. This is because when you do something again and again — recall how you recited the alphabet as a kid — you strengthen bonds between brain cells.

by Drake Baer.

Read more @ https://agenda.weforum.org/2015/05/10-strategies-quick-learners-use-to-pick-up-anything/

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