Learning how to Learn

Quote of the day: We are all pupils of life


That quote has been running through my mind ever since I finished university and started working. It dawned on me that we spend most of our schooling being told what to study. But very often we don't even question the method in which we are being taught, or why we study a particular subject. We are very much passengers in our learning journey. 


At university, I developed an organisation system for my studies, read system settings. Yet, structuring what I wanted to learn has been somewhat very difficult to do. I got so used to having a curriculum set up for me to follow that I didn't develop as an autodidact. So, I had to reprogram myself somehow regarding my learning.


This prompted me to start thinking about the learning processes. Hence, learning how to learn. This is of course with the goal of setting my knowledge journey and dictating to myself what to study and when to study it.


In order to ‘learn how to learn’ effectively, we must both understand how the brain functions and how our learning process is structured.


Learning Process:


We have two modes of learning. These are diffuse and focus mode. In the diffuse mode, we learn with a bit of distraction. However,  our brain is in full capacity connecting information that we have already seen before. 


The focus mode is the mode in which you are focusing on the subject at hand. For example: you are studying a mathematical concept and you are not distracted to think about anything else except the concepts.


The goal is to interweave these modes of thinking and as such improve your learning. You can begin by entering the focus mode to just grasp the basic concept of the topic at hand. And then when you feel like you are stuck, you can take a break or switch topics. This enables you to enter the diffuse mode which can facilitate connections with other areas that you have studied.


Having the knowledge of these modes of learning is not enough. You also need to combat procrastination which is often one of the main reasons as to why you don't stick to the studying of the subject matter. Simple technique to combat procrastination is like the Pomodoro technique where you set aside some time to focus on the topic at hand before taking a break. The break will allow you to enter into the diffuse mode. 


How long the time of focus should be is just a matter of determining initially when you begin to be easily distracted in your studies.