Learning to Learn ( again)
How do I learn how to learn?
3 min read
I often wonder how one can know that the way they learn is the best possible way to learn a certain something. I do realize that this sounds absurd as all of us go through various phases that help us acknowledge what and what does not work for us through a series of trial and error but it is also worth considering that not everyone wants to learn how to learn.
It took me around 8 months to learn front-end web development while being a full-time student. Now that I am at this junction where I am almost ready to get my hands dirty with back-end technologies, I find myself asking this question: Did I really use the most efficient techniques to learn what I know?. In all honesty I do not think I did. I have seen people learn the same amount (if not more) in lesser time..I know, I know, It is different for everyone but I am also aware that the way I learned was not the best way. I could have saved myself a bunch of time if I researched and tried to experiment with my learning style.
But wait, What do I even mean by 'Learning'?
The word 'Learning' itself just means to gain some knowledge or acquire a new skill. This could actually be used in a plethora of different contexts, you could learn linear algebra or the 99th front-end framework that is trending right now, you could also learn to play the guitar maybe ( or procrastinate like me) or you could just try to learn a sport but here is my question- Do I use the same techniques to learn literally everything ?.
Should we use the same techniques everywhere?
Being in an education system where memorization and rot learning are prioritized over conceptual understanding, I conditioned my brain to study a certain thing until I knew it by heart, this was how I “learned” things. With that mindset, I set out to learn coding, not knowing that memorizing code by heart is literally the worst thing you can do while starting out and guess what ;)..there I was learning the code for reversing the digits of a given number in python.
I know it sounds hilarious but I did not know any better, I just knew learning by that name.
A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend of mine who is a phenomenal artist and I asked him how he improved his art and what does he think one should do to get better in the least amount of time, to my surprise he told me that when he was in the early stages of drawing, he would draw tens of thousands shapes everyday ranging from straight lines to cubes to slimey cylinders (idek what that means). He used the word “mileage” and explained to me that repetition is crucial when learning to draw. This got me thinking, would I be a better programmer if I reversed an array every single day?.
At this point I am convinced that using the same techniques for learning two different things can be a major set back. However I am not entirely sure how one can learn the most efficient method for learning a certain thing, should we really rely on our intuition and ignore all these loop holes that may arise because of it?
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!