Advertising
Advertising

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?

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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?

Advertising

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

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

The Ultimate Coffee Guide For Energy Boost Achieve Your Goals by Focusing on Critical Activities 12 Learning Goals For Personal Growth And Self Development Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It Having Trouble Reaching Goals? This Could Be Why

Trending in Learning

1 What Is Learning by Doing And Why Is It Effective? 2 7 Science-Backed Learning Hacks to Help You Learn Anything Faster 3 The Faster You Learn, the Easier You’ll Fall Behind 4 12 Reasons Why Rote Learning Isn’t Effective in Learning 5 7 Best Languages to Learn in Order to Stay Competitive

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on January 19, 2021

What Is Learning by Doing And Why Is It Effective?

What Is Learning by Doing And Why Is It Effective?

The list of teaching techniques is ever-expanding as there are multiple ways for us to gain knowledge. As a result, there are multiple techniques out there that leverage those particular skills. One such technique I want to share with you is learning by doing.

This technique has been around for a long time, and it’s a surprisingly effective one thanks to the various perks that come with it. Also called experiential learning, I’ll be sharing with you my knowledge on the subject, what it is deep down, and why it’s such an effective learning tool.

What Is Learning by Doing?

Learning by doing is the simple idea that we are capable of learning more about something when we perform the action.

For example, say you’re looking to play a musical instrument and were wondering how all of them sound and mix. In most other techniques, you’d be playing the instrument all by yourself in a studio. Learning by doing instead gives you a basic understanding of how to play the instrument and puts you up on a stage to play an improvised piece with other musicians.

Another way to think about this is by taking a more active approach to something as opposed to you passively learning about it. The argument is that active engagement provides deeper learning and that it’s okay if you make mistakes as you learn from those as well. This mentality brought forth a new name for this technique: experiential learning.

What Are Its Benefits?

Experimental learning has been around for eons now. It was Aristotle who wrote that “for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”

Advertising

Over the years, that way of thinking changed and developed and for a time was lost once computers were integrated into schools. It’s only been in recent years where schools have adopted this technique again. It’s clear why teachers are encouraging this as it offers five big benefits.

1. It’s More Engaging and More Memorable

The first benefit is that it’s more engaging and memorable. Since this requires action on your part, you’re not going to be able to weaken your performance. This is big since, traditionally, you’d learn from lectures, books, or articles, and learners could easily read—or not read—the text and walk away with no knowledge at all from it.

When you are forced into a situation where you have to do what you need to learn, it’s easier to remember those things. Every action provides personalized learning experiences, and it’s where motivation is built. That motivation connects to what is learned and felt. It teaches that learning is relevant and meaningful.

Beyond that, this experience allows the opportunity for learners to go through the learning cycle that involves extended effort, mistakes, and reflection, followed by refinement of strategies.

2. It Is More Personal

Stemming from the reason mentioned above, learning by doing offers a personal experience. Referring back to the cycle of effort, mistakes, reflection, and refinement, this cycle is only possible through personal emotions—the motivation and realization of knowledge of a particular topic tying into your values and ideals.

This connection is powerful and thus, offers a richer experience than reading from a book or articles such as this one. That personal connection is more important as it encourages exploration and curiosity from learners.

Advertising

If you’ve always wanted to bake a cake or cook a unique dish, you could read up on it or watch a video. Or you could get the ingredients and start going through it all yourself. Even if you make mistakes now, you have a better grasp of what to do for the next time you try it out. You’re also more invested in that since that’s food that you made with the intention of you having it.

3. It Is Community-Connected

Learning by doing involves the world at large rather than sitting alone in your room or a library stuck in a book. Since the whole city is your classroom technically, you’re able to leverage all kinds of things. You’re able to gather local assets and partners and connect local issues to larger global themes.

This leans more into the personal aspect that this technique encourages. You are part of a community, and this form of learning allows you to interact more and make a connection with it—not necessarily with the residents but certainly the environment around it.

4. It’s More Integrated Into People’s Lives

This form of learning is deeply integrated into our lives as well. Deep learning occurs best when learners can apply what they’ve learned in a classroom setting to answer questions around them that they care about.

Even though there is a lot of information out there, people are still always asking “what’s in it for me?” Even when it comes to learning, people will be more interested if they know that what they are learning is vital to their very way of life in some fashion. It’s forgettable if they’re unable to tie knowledge in with personal aspects of their lives. Thus, experiential learning makes the application of knowledge simpler.

5. It Builds Success Skills

The final benefit of learning by doing is that it builds up your skills for success. Learning by doing encourages you to step out of your comfort zone, discover something new, and try things out for the first time. You’re bound to make a mistake or two, but this technique doesn’t shame you for it.

Advertising

As a result, learning by doing can build your initiative for new things as well as persistence towards growth and development in a field. This could also lead to team management and collaboration skill growth. These are all vital things in personal growth as we move towards the future.

How to Get Started

While all these perks are helpful for you, how are you going to start? Well, there are several different approaches that you can take with this. Here are some of them that come to mind.

1. Low-Stakes Quizzes

In classroom settings, one way to introduce this technique is to have many low-stakes quizzes. These quizzes aren’t based on assessing one’s performance. Instead, these quizzes are designed to have learners engage with the content and to generate the learned information themselves.

Research shows that this method is an effective learning technique.[1] It allows students to improve their understanding and recall and promotes the “transfer” of knowledge to other settings.

2. Type of Mental Doing

Another approach is one that Psychologist Rich Mayer put together. According to him, learning is a generative activity.[2] His knowledge and the research done in his lab at Santa Barbara have repeatedly shown that we gain expertise by doing an action, but the action is based on what we already know.

For example, say you want to learn more about the Soviet dictator Stalin. All you need to do is link what you do know—that Stalin was a dictator—and link it to what you want to learn and retain. Stalin grew up in Georgia, killed millions of people, centralized power in Russia, and assisted in the victory of World War 2. This technique even applies to the most simple of memory tasks as our brain learns and relearns.

Advertising

3. Other Mental Activities

The final method I’ll share with you is taking the literal approach—getting out there and getting your hands dirty so to speak. But how you go about that is up to you. You could try reading an article and then going out and applying it immediately—like you could with this article. Or maybe you could find further engagement through puzzles or making a game out of the activity that you’re doing.

For example, if you wanted to learn about animal behavior patterns, you can read about them, go out to watch animals, and see if they perform the specific behaviors that you read about.

Final Thoughts

Learning by doing encourages active engagement with available materials and forces you to work harder to remember the material. It’s an effective technique because it helps ingrain knowledge into your memory. After all, you have a deeper personal connection to that knowledge, and you’ll be more motivated to use it in the future.

With that in mind, I encourage you to take what you’ve learned from reading this article and apply that in the real world. It’s only going to benefit you as you grow.

Featured photo credit: Van Tay Media via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next