The interesting thing about learning is that anyone can do it. Learning is one of humanity’s most basic abilities. Also true, everyone learns differently. Learning how to learn involves knowing oneself first.
Three questions to ask before taking on a learning challenge are:
1. Do I need total silence to focus or do I need white noise?
Answering this question helps determine where and how to study. A major component of learning is reviewing the information taught, and it is essential to review information effectively and productively. If a person needs a library versus a noisy house full of kids drowned out by a good pair of headphones, that needs to be established for learning to happen. Becoming distracted or not being able to focus will undermine most learning efforts, no matter how intelligent a person may be.
2. Do I need more or less time to process ideas?
This is one of the most important determinations in learning for people of all ages and educational levels. There are people who simply think more quickly than others and have heightened capacities for comprehension. Their counterparts require more time to process information and understand what has been presented. Knowing this difference helps establish the best note-taking method. If a person is a quick learner, self-written notes without structure will probably do well when reviewing information. If a person needs more time, technological recording tools could be the most appropriate back-up plan.
3. Am I ready to be wrong and fail?
No one is born with all of the right answers. Answers come with the humility of questions asked. No one is always right. Being right comes after understanding what it is to be wrong. Finally, no one succeeds without experiencing the bittersweet disappointments of failure. If a person is not ready to be humbled then, this person is not ready to learn. Learning to learn is all about being able to accept that every single day has an opportunity to learn something new.
Most people will claim to love learning new things, but learning is not just finding out new tidbits on the internet or engaging an interesting person from time to time at a party. By the way, those two scenarios are indeed learning. Learning to learn, however, involves a state of mind that authentically pursues information and accuracy. Testing theories, asking questions, admitting confusion, and doubting opinions are all part of the learned individual.