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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

10 Remarkable Traits of Successful Learners

10 Remarkable Traits of Successful Learners

If you look around, you’ll notice one key trait in all self-made people; they are successful learners who understand what they’re doing in life.

These people are masters at the art of learning. Before initiating a project, they make sure they understand what they’re getting themselves into and this trait alone helps them avoid dozens of hurdles in the way.

But in order to be a successful learner, there are a lot of other traits that you’ll need to develop.

You see, learning is a multi-factorial trait that’s influenced by a number of factors and habits.

In order to become a successful learner, here are a few traits that you need to inculcate in yourself.

But before I dive in, I’d like to recommend you who want to learn faster to take a FREE Learning Fast Track Class offered by Lifehack. It’s a 20-minute intensive class called Spark Your Learning Genius, and will surely upgrade your learning skills right away. Find out more about the Fast Track Class here.

1. Persistence

Successful learners understand that learning takes time. For them, persistence is the key to success because nothing worth learning is learned in a day or two.

As an individual, I believe that the lack of persistence is what holds most people from achieving greatness.

Almost everyone has grand ideas and ambitions in life. But only a handful of people manage to accomplish their set goals and targets because others usually don’t put in the amount of work needed to achieve their goal.

I say this a lot:

When it comes to dreams, most people are just in love with the final product and not the process.

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Successful people, on the other hand, are in love with both.

2. Patience

Persistence and patience often go hand-in-hand. And successful learners are masters of both.

With that said, there’s some difference between both these terms.

Persistence is usually for the known while patience comes in handy when the unknown strikes.

Allow me to explain:

When you plan ahead and work consistently on it, that’s persistence. In this case, you’re continuously working towards your goal and following the set plan or layout.

However, patience is tested when that plan unknowingly fails or experiences a hurdle. That’s when there’s a huge chance of people backing out.

But successful learners practice patience and take their time to work past problems.

A good way to build patience is to accept that your plan or projection is bound to show deviations and discrepancies.

People who can’t accept the fact that their plans could fail are the ones who fail the most. Successful learners avoid that problem by expecting their plan to not work out exactly the way it’s supposed to.

3. Conceptual Learning

Successful learners believe in understanding and grasping concepts instead of rote learning.

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A lot of successful people are of the view that grades aren’t important. That’s because what matters is your understanding of the concept, not the final grade that you get.

In real life, the concept is what helps you to apply your learning and get something out of it. That’s why successful learners spend more time building and strengthening their concepts than they do on rote learning.

4. Strong Memory

Sure, concepts are important. But there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be memorized after building a strong concept.

There are other things like language that require minimal concept and maximum memorization. That’s why successful learners have a strong memory and that’s something they spend a lot of time working on. In fact, you may find brain and memory games on their phone as they spend ample time working on their retaining ability.

5. Leading Abilities

Successful learners are often important people in social gatherings. That’s because people recognize them as learned individuals that need to be respected on the basis of their knowledge. Often, that knowledge results in an influx of wealth that further helps in improving the social status of these individuals.

All these factors add up to create a personality that’s a leader by nature. It’s like their aura has a magnetic effect that pulls others around it.

Now the thing about this trait is that it often isn’t acquired directly. It’s not like successful learners learn to lead. It happens at a subconscious level often as a secondary output of their learning ability.

6. Discerning Valuable from the Useless

When I went into college, I was right-out intimidated by the size of the books we had to study. And for a while, this used to bother me because I was under the impression that we had to study each and every word of those books.

But as time progressed, I realized that merely 40% of the book was enough to get me 80% of the grades. Essentially, that 40% was the valuable part of those books that I needed to focus on before I decided to work on anything else.

This is similar to the Pareto’s Principle, otherwise known as the 80-20 principle which suggests that 80% of the outcome comes from 20% of the effort.[1]

By focusing on the parts of books that mattered the most, I wasn’t just able to score good grades but it also allowed me to distribute my time to other activities. I would study, get good grades, maintain a social life and work on any side projects that I wanted.

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Most people thought that I’m awfully lucky or gifted, but the secret behind all of this was simply the ability to discern valuable from the useless.

If that’s something that you want to learn, I’d urge you to look around yourself and see what sort of learning activities or topics take most of your time but are of least importance for your goal, be it getting a good grade or succeeding at your business venture. If the task doesn’t contribute to your goal, it’s not worth spending your time on.

7. Bold Attitude

Successful learning requires a bold attitude.

I know it sounds absurd. But not everyone has the courage to learn everything.

A lot of people are intimidated by the time and effort required to learn a skill or a subject. And that intimidation holds them back from even taking that first step. They look at the mountain worth of input required and avoid the whole task in itself.

As I mentioned above, nothing worth learning is learned in a day or two; and successful learners understand that. To excel in their field, they take on a bold attitude that embraces hardship and uncertainty.

8. Questioning

The key to effective learning is to question the matter. In fact, a recent study showed that elaborative interrogation (or self-questioning) is a useful learning method.[2]

By questioning yourself and your logic, you’ll uncover aspects of the topic that you didn’t even know existed.

What’s more, you’ll notice that by questioning while you learn, you’ll be able to look at the concept from a variety of angles and point-of-views which will help you attain perspective.

In order to use this technique, set aside some extra time to ponder and question yourself about what you’re trying to learn.

When you do that, go into specifics and ask yourself questions that you probably don’t know the answer to. You’ll be surprised to notice that most answers just pop into your head once you actually question yourself.

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9. Following Routines

In a world full of distractions, managing one’s time is one of the most useful techniques to learn.

And when it comes to time management, there’s nothing better than the good’ol daily routine.

Almost all of us have a mental to-do list in our heads as we go about our day. However, what a lot of us lack is a routine and a priority order for that list.

Successful learners, however, are great at creating and following routines that help them maximize their learning and implement it in daily life.

Another aspect to consider here is that this ability of following routines stems from high self-discipline. A lot of people are great at creating routines, just not so much at following them. And that’s all that matters.

Take a look at these Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthy and High-Achieving You.

10. Sticking to Their Learning Style

There are many different types of learners in society. Some people learn best by listening while others write things down. Then there are individuals that like to have a hands-on learning experience.

The thing about successful learners is that they know what sort of learning style works best for them. This allows them to focus their learning methodology according to their preferred style so they can maximize their learning.

If you’re unaware of the major learning styles, here are a few:

  1. Visual Learners
  2. Auditory Learners
  3. Reading/Writing Learners
  4. Kinesthetic (hands-on) Learners

As soon as you know how you learn and the best way to learn, you can better retain information more effectively.

So here you are, 10 things you can learn from the successful learners in order to become a faster and smarter learner.

More on Learning Fast

Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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