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Published on December 2, 2019

How to Learn Faster with a Feedback Loop

How to Learn Faster with a Feedback Loop

Learning is a crucial part of life. As the saying goes,

“You stop living the day you stop learning.”

It takes learning to be fulfilled in your career and business. Learning is also a cure for depression and discontentment concerning your career pursuit.

Learning is a skill that you need to cultivate all through life. If you want to master any knowledge or skill, you need to learn how to learn.

Without an effective learning process, you may end up repeating the same learning styles with no significant impact on your personal growth and development.

I know a friend who has a natural ability to compose songs. He always tells me he would love to play those songs on the piano but lack time to learn how to play the piano. Even if he wakes up one day with the ability to play that musical instrument, without practicing and spending time on the keyboard, he will never know how to run a simple chordal progression.

You will continue to have a limited time as you progress on your career pathway. So, what can help you evaluate your learning strategies and adjust where necessary?

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A feedback loop.

What Is the Feedback Loop?

The feedback loop is a process whereby a learner appreciates the information about their performance and leverages it to optimize the quality of their learning methods or style.

Here’s a breakdown of this definition:

  • Learner: The focus is on what the learner can do instead of the comments. Several parties could provide relevant feedback, and those parties include the teacher, the learner, his or her peers, or automated systems.
  • Appreciation: This is a major setback in feedback design. How do we appreciate or make sense of a concept? What are the skills required by the learners for learning to take place? What characteristics of the process enhance adequate appreciation or sense-making?
  • Information: What sort of feedback or information is relevant to the learners?(Individualized, detailed, personalized, multiple sources, task-oriented, thinking oriented, etc.)
  • Performance: Should feedback be on a single performance or the total performance?
  • Effect: How does the learner measure the impact of the feedback?
  • Quality: Feedback details need to focus on improvement. What would be the benchmark?

The purpose of a feedback loop is to establish a progression in learning. It will frequently occur in all subject areas.

How to Create a Feedback Loop

You can organize the feedback process by following the steps below.

1. Establish Goals and Definite Outcomes

Define your learning goals, the proficiency level you aspire to attain, and when you desire to gain the competencies.

You can utilize a S.M.A.R.T goal technique in establishing your goals. Remember, goals are mental signals that inform you of the direction you want to go. The results or outcomes are the ends-the actual reward of the labor.

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Specify the outcomes of your learning activities to make informed decisions on what you intend learning, how you will learn it (online education, self-education, or classroom learning), and why you desire to learn.

2. Start from the Simple to Complex Elements

Unrealistic expectations are the biggest challenge that causes learners to give up. If you don’t want to sign up for failure before you ever start, begin with the simple elements instead of jumping to the complex concepts.

Failure is imminent when you skip the smallest concept and take on new learning tasks with an expectation of completing the new skill in a short timeframe. Set realistic time frames if you don’t want to be frustrated, get burnt out or drive yourself insane.

Always recall the Japanese ‘Kaizen’ concept, which says,

Make small improvements every day.

It takes consistency and accumulation of smaller steps to achieve a bigger learning goal. We achieve giant strides when we are motivated during the learning process

3. Test Yourself

You need to evaluate yourself to know if you are learning or wasting time. Tests, not necessarily in the form of examination, will offer a proof of concept that check if your learning style is effective.

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Here are some ways to test yourself:

  • Conduct an in-depth discussion on the subject
  • Receive positive reviews on a job that leverages the new skill
  • Estimate the task efficiency before gaining the expertise and after learning the skill
  • Participate in an online test to test your knowledge
  • Take online courses to check your previous knowledge and discover any knowledge gap

4. Teach Others

This strategy has worked for me several times. If you want to learn faster, find someone to teach that knowledge you have gained.

Teaching is also a learning strategy. It compels you to unleash your ingenuity and view the concepts from different perspectives. You simplify complex concepts to help the learner understands when you teach. This also solidifies the knowledge you have gained as you remember and organize your learnings into different learning compartments.

As Albert Einstein said,

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

5. Reflect

No one wants to waste time utilizing a learning style or learning in a way that produces no significant learning outcome. So by doing a self-reflection, you identify the challenges you have throughout the learning process.

Ask yourself: How far have you progressed towards the learning goal? Do you think you can move to a higher aim or proficiency level?

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6. Find a Mentor

Mentorship is resourceful. A mentor will guide you on how to grasp a concept faster and holistically. They can utilize real-life experiences and ideas you will not find in courses and books. They can also easily detect the gaps in your skillset.

Not only that, mentors can inspire you when you face daunting challenges. They can remind you of your previous achievements and show you the capabilities that you possess. Most times, we forget our capabilities and focus on our weaknesses.

This article can help you find a suitable mentor: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

How to Have an Effective Feedback Loop

To make sure your feedback loop is effective, you will have to look at 3 key factors:

  • Consistency
  • Speed
  • Accuracy

If you want to learn more about this, make sure you go through this article to make your learning feedback loop effective:

How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want with a Feedback Loop

Bottom Line

Feedback becomes a crucial component of continuous growth and development when a culture of learning and growth is created. With the feedback loop, you can learn new goals while working on models to apply feedback throughout the learning process.

More About Learning Faster

Featured photo credit: Humble Lamb via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

7 Hardest Languages to Learn For English Speakers

7 Hardest Languages to Learn For English Speakers

What are the hardest languages to learn? It depends on what your native language is. If it’s English, you’re in the right place.

When you peel the onion back to the beginnings of language formation, such as by studying the language families tree below, you will be able to see where different languages branched off. Now, you may be able to notice why Spanish has similarities with languages like German, Italian, French, etc.

That’s why the hardest languages to learn for native Korean speakers will be different from those that are hardest for native English speakers like us. Today, we’re going to focus solely on the hardest languages to learn for English speakers (hint: they’re located in different branches on the language tree).[1]

Language tree

    If you’re looking for official statistics, the Defense Language Institute (where they teach members of the CIA foreign languages) has organized languages into four categories, the 1st Category being the easiest, and the 4th Category being the hardest languages to learn for English speakers.

    • Category 1: Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese
    • Category 2: German, Indonesian
    • Category 3: Hebrew, Hindi, Persian Farsi, Russian, Serbian, Tagalog, Thai, Urdu, Turkish, etc.
    • Category 4: Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, Modern Standard Arabic, etc.

    Before we take a closer look and see which of the above are the most difficult languages to learn, you can check out this TED Talk with John McWhorter to help you get inspired to learn a new language:

    1. Mandarin

    Number of native speakers: 1.2 billion

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    Country with the greatest number of speakers: China

    It may be the most widely spoken language in the world, but it is particularly challenging for English speakers. It is often spoken of as being the hardest language in the world to learn (and certainly the most difficult language on this list!).

    First, since Mandarin is a tonal language, you can have a completely different meaning of a word just by changing your tone. Just take a look at this visual of the four tones, and you can begin to imagine the difficulties this could cause English speakers[2].

    Mandarin tones in one of the hardest languages to learn

      Add to that thousands of characters, complex systems, Chinese dialects, and the language’s richness in homophones,[3] and you’ve got one of the hardest languages to learn in the world.

      2. Icelandic

      Number of native speakers: 330,000

      Country with the greatest number of speakers: Iceland

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      While the Icelandic language has not changed much since the island was settled in the ninth and tenth centuries[4], it continues to add new meaning to old words. It also doesn’t help that there are fewer than 400,000 native speakers who you can learn and practice with.

      3. Japanese

      Number of native speakers: 122 million

      Country with the greatest number of speakers: Japan

      Japanese has three independent writing systems[5]: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Before they can start writing, Japanese learners need to learn thousands of different characters in these writing systems. It is, however, significantly easier to learn than Mandarin!

      4. Hungarian

      Number of native speakers: 13 million

      Country with the greatest number of speakers: Hungary

      Most languages spoken in Europe come from the Indo-European language family shown in the tree above, but not Hungarian. It is, instead, a Finno-Ugric language[6] in which words are formed in an isolated manner.

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      In other words, it’s one of the hardest languages to learn because the word order is nothing like how English speakers normally structure words or sentences. For example, “with my [female] friend” is combined into just “barátnőmmel.” If you’re confused, don’t worry. So are we.

      5. Korean

      Number of native speakers: 66.3 million

      Country with the greatest number of speakers: South Korea

      Korean is a language isolate, which means it isn’t linked to any other language family root. It also has seven different speech levels that native speakers flip back and forth to depending on the formality. The image below just begins to scratch the surface of the complications caused by the speech levels and the use of honorifics[7]:

      korean speech levels: how to address other people

        6. Arabic

        Number of native speakers: 221 million

        Country with the greatest number of speakers: Egypt

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        Despite having 221 million native speakers you can potentially learn from, Arabic is still one of the hardest languages to learn. First, vowels are not included when writing. And, to complicate things further, most Arabic letters are written in four different forms, depending on the placement of the word.

        7. Finnish

        Number of native speakers: 5.4 million

        Country with the greatest number of speakers: Finland

        If you’ve ever watched The Lord of the Rings, you’ll know about the strange language the elves speak. The Finnish language is what the author J.R.R. Tolkien based the Elvish language on[8]. Finnish, like Hungarian, is a Finno-Ugric language in which grammar complications are taken to the extreme, which makes it difficult for English speakers.

        Furthermore, just when you’ve got the hang of translating Finnish to English, you’ll quickly find that modern Finnish speakers have their own way of expressing emotions that’s different from the traditional translation!

        The Bottom Line

        The hardest languages for English speakers to learn depends on a number of different factors, not just one. The number of speakers, the language’s origins, its similarity to English, and other factors contribute to determining how much difficulty you’ll have learning it.

        However, what’s important is not which is the hardest language to learn. As with learning any language, it comes down to how passionate you are about learning, how you’ll deal with psychological fears, and who you will go to for help.

        Every language will come with its own challenges, but it’ll also come with its own rewards, experiences, and fulfillment. Remember, whichever language you decide to learn, your time will be well worth the investment.

        More Language Learning Tips

        Featured photo credit: ORIENTO via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Soho Press: THE PROTO-INDO-EUROPEAN FAMILY
        [2] MIT: Mandarin Tones
        [3] Wikipedia: Homophonic puns in Mandarin Chinese
        [4] Iceland: Language
        [5] Dartmouth: Japanese Writing Systems
        [6] Britannica: Finno-Ugric languages
        [7] LingoDeer: Korean Speech Levels
        [8] Omniglot: Quenya

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