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Last Updated on February 3, 2021

How to Learn Faster and Grow More With a Feedback Loop

How to Learn Faster and Grow More With a Feedback Loop

Learning is a crucial part of life, and the feedback loop is an important part of learning. Learning leads to fulfillment in your hobbies, career, and business. Learning is also a cure for depression and discontentment concerning your career pursuits.

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.

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? The feedback loop is a useful tool that can get you started.

What Is the Feedback Loop?

The feedback loop is a process where a learner analyzes information about their performance and leverages it to optimize the quality of their learning methods or style. Whether it’s a positive feedback loop or negative feedback loop, all types of feedback can have an effect on how we go about learning, helping us improve it in the long run.

Here’s a breakdown of this definition:

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  • 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 given on a single performance or the total overall 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 where positive or negative feedback occurs.

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 achieve the desired level.

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.

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

2. Move From 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.

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Failure is imminent when you skip the smallest concept and take on new learning tasks with the expectation of completing the new skill in a short timeframe. Set realistic time frames during the feedback loop 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 an examination, will offer proof to help you check if your learning style is effective.

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 gaps

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 as part of the feedback loop.

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Teaching is also a learning strategy. It compels you to unleash your ingenuity and view the concepts from different perspectives[1]. You simplify complex concepts to help the learner understand when you teach. This also solidifies the knowledge you have gained as you remember and organize your learning 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 during a feedback loop, 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 with the feedback loop?

6. Find a Mentor

Mentorship is a great resource, as 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 and offer constructive criticism that you can analyze later.

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

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

The 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 Tips on Learning Faster

Featured photo credit: Humble Lamb via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done

How to Stop Information Overload and Get More Done

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.) And that’s basically it.

Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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