The Art of Learning — My Learning Process

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What is Learning?

According to Wikipedia,

Learning is the process of acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences.

From this explanation, it is obvious that when we learn we either acquire new KBS (knowledge, behaviors, skills) or modify existing ones (i.e become better at them or get acquainted with a new trend.

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Is learning an art?

Yes! Why?
What is art? Or better still, who is an artist?

An art is a skill at doing a specified thing, typically one acquired through practice.

An artist is a person who participates in understanding in the making of a work of art. The work of art being whatever we use the knowledge acquired via learning to do. Mark Zuckerberg learned software development and his work of art is Facebook, Oprah Winfrey learned about the show business and how to be an entrepreneur and her work of art is her show and other business enterprises she owns.

When we learn we are actively doing something: studying, reading or watching a video or whatever learning method you make use of which translates to the definition of art given above. Your first step at learning as a human is probably learning to walk or speak, we try over and over till we can communicate a little bit, then we improve on that and get better over time with practice.

The ART

There are several learning styles which I believe can all be categorized into 6 groups/stages as learning done via these stages usually is the best. These styles are subjective and some might not necessarily happen in the order stated below:

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1. Imagining

This is simply the process of coming up with ideas. An idea is a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action. I’ve heard phrases like “That’s a stupid idea” and I believe that’s wrong because no idea is stupid. If you look at many big companies, they started off with an idea that might sound silly at that point.

Look at Snapchat for instance, the idea behind it was a platform to send nudes to your lover (or whoever people send nudes to) and since then that idea has been refined and that has made SnapChat the application that it is today.

An idea is a seed, it sometimes can be squashed or look stupid but that seed can be nurtured into something great via cultivation.

2. Reflecting

When I hear the word reflection, what comes to mind is me looking at my self in the mirror. Once you’ve come up with an idea, you need to refine that idea and learn about it. An idea is just a seed, it needs to be planted and cultivated but before that phase, you have to understand what kind of seed it is, this would help with a plan for cultivation.

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I remember back when I was in Secondary School, my Agricultural Science teacher taught me about some plants that take about a year to fully grow and bear fruits and some took just 4 months. I also remember that there are different seasons for planting different seeds.

This is why Reflection is very important, you have to understand the seed (idea) before going ahead with it. This translates to understanding why you want to learn something.

3. Analyzing

This is the process of synthesizing what you’ve learned and coming up with strategic plans as to what to do with the ideas. Typically this comes during the process of learning while learning you discover new possibilities and your mind is broadened as you’re acquiring new knowledge and you’re now aware of things you didn’t know before.

4. Deciding

This involves making a decision on what to do with what you’ve learned. For instance, after learning how to speak you can decide to be a comedian or singer or actor. The decision you make with what you learn is as important as the learning itself.

5. Acting

Once you’re done analyzing your idea, it’s time to put it into action. You don’t learn how to read and write just to make sure you never read or write again. You acquired the skill to do something and sometimes you might have known the possibilities that could be attained with the skill initially but as soon as learning begins you find out you might want to build something small (or big — you never can tell how much your work might be of value to people out there).

6. Experiencing

The last, but not the least in my list is the most important of all. This is what I call the HOLY GRAIL of learning.

It involves learning from multiple angles, whether by creating something, failing at something (and trying again obviously, lol).

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The experience is what makes learning an unforgettable experience. With experience, you find out that it’s hard to forget what you’ve learned. It is also why several companies ask for some years of experience before hiring, because it is one thing to learn, it is another thing to have experience.

Experience, in my own words is the process of trying something over and over without caring if it fails. This is the ultimate process, in my own opinion.

This is my typical learning process. Thanks for reading.