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Last Updated on December 17, 2020

10 Tips to Improve Your Learning Curve and Achieve More

10 Tips to Improve Your Learning Curve and Achieve More

Improving your learning curve is mandatory in order to avoid getting stuck in a vicious cycle. You may already be experiencing this cycle. Daily, you fail to manage your time efficiently because you’re not a pro at the tasks you do.

To become such, you need to put in the time.

It is just the same as when employers ask for work experience to hire you, but you need to get hired to get work experience.

Let’s first find out what the learning curve theory is. Then, you will get to know the top 10 tips to boost your learning curve so that you can eventually find a way out of this stress.

What Is the Learning Curve Theory?

The learning curve is basically a graphical representation of the time taken to do a task. As per this curve, the more times a person does a job, the less time it takes to do it successfully.

For example, if you’re strumming a guitar for the first time, you’ll probably take up a solid few minutes to figure out the finger placement for each chord. Once you get the hand of the task by repeating it multiple times, you can do the same job within seconds!

The theory itself is more mathematical. It involves a formula, observations over time, and a fair few measurements to create an accurate learning curve.[1]

However, for the implementation of this theory in your daily life, you don’t really have to do all the calculations. All that you need to be clear on is the idea of the learning curve so that you can use the science behind it to improve performance on difficult tasks in the long term.

The learning curve can be applied in all parts of life. Whether it is a toddler who is getting familiar with phonics or an adult who is learning a new language, this theory can be used everywhere.

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All in all, the main concept is that the repetition of any task or information will accustom the brain to perform quicker in that regard. The mind gets used to the process, it begins to become habitual in the method, and it ends up saving a lot of time.[2]

How to Improve Your Learning Curve

There are a few tricks you can use to speed up the improvement of your learning curve. Using these tips will help you master a whole host of skills.

1. Start With Your Strengths

When you’re starting out with a new process, it is best to go ahead with tasks that you are already well-aware of. This will help you get the hang of the process before you move on to tougher tasks. Starting with your strengths will also keep your motivation high.

If you’re not sure what your personal strengths are, this article may help.

Let’s say you’re already working on mastering pottery. Keep practicing the same skill instead of starting out with something completely new. Otherwise, you’ll lose whatever skill you have in pottery, and the new skill will take up more learning time, too.

2. Don’t Expect Miracles

In the process of improving your learning curve, you will have to put in a lot of time. It is not a magic trick that will make you a pro within a few days.

You can use tips to speed up your learning process, but at the same time, be prepared to dedicate ample time to these improvements. After an initial period of complex learning, the curve will begin to level off, meaning you’re getting better at your chosen skill[3].

Learning Curve Graph

    3. Repeat and Redo

    The learning curve theory is all about repeating the job at hand to reduce the total amount of time it takes.

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    Hence, the ultimate goal is to fit in as many repetitions as possible for a specific task. It gets boring and redundant, but without redoing the same thing over and over, your learning curve will not get any better.

    4. Use the Right Techniques

    Everyone has a different way of learning. However, he generalized learning techniques have come into existence after a lot of trial and error.

    You may be tempted to try out new methods of learning for yourself, but in the process of improving your learning curve, time is of immense importance. This is why you should stick to the tried and true techniques of learning whatever task you’re working on.

    You’ll have to do some research to find out what the right techniques for your chosen skill are. This article may help you get started.

    5. Take It One Step at a Time

    The learning curve varies for different tasks and skills. Therefore, only tackle one learning curve at a time.

    For example, f you’re working on a musical skill, stick to it until you master it. Then, move forward to something new. You will only make things more time-consuming and difficult if you attempt to tackle multiple skills and tasks simultaneously.

    Approaching various tasks at the same time will not be effective at all. Instead, it will do the complete opposite and further slow you down.

    Also, within one skill, divide the learning into chunks. Do not try to take on all the possible information at once.

    6. Evaluate Yourself

    Imagine doing all the hard work but not noticing any learning progress in the end. To keep this devastating misfortune from happening, keep evaluating yourself regularly. It can be done weekly or bi-weekly as per the nature of what you’re practicing.

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    Your personal evaluations should be honest. One way to measure your progress is to time yourself. It will be a foolproof representation of your advancement.

    If you’re not improving at a steady pace, you probably need to change your learning techniques. The fault may be in your schedule. You could be putting too much pressure on yourself or not working hard enough.

    7. Get External Evaluation

    Sometimes personal evaluations are just not enough. In these cases, a second opinion is never a bad option.

    You can record your learning curve progress and show it to someone else for feedback. Or, you can do the task in front of an expert.

    For example:

    If you’re improving your writing skills, you can time yourself and write a piece to later send to a professional writer for evaluation.

    Similarly, you can build a piece of furniture in front of a carpenter to get an opinion on your technique.

    The external evaluation will be the most useful if the feedback comes from an expert from the relevant industry. However, if that’s not possible, you can always find some use from a layman’s opinion, too.

    8. Stay Focused

    The entire technique of using the learning curve is dependent on your brain. If the brain isn’t focused, all your efforts will be useless.

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    To stay focused, you will have to work extremely hard. The hard work of a few days will help you out for the rest of your life. Alongside that, you cannot afford to waste time. Focus on the practical skills that will help you in life.

    All of these factors combined will lead to positive results. You can set out time in your schedule for mental exercises to strengthen your focus. Another thing to do is to practice your skill in isolation so that there are minimal distractions. Breaks are yet another vital part of maintaining your focus throughout the process.

    9. Stay Determined

    You know how charcoal has to go through indescribable pressure to become a diamond? Well, you’ll have to go through something similar, too. As said previously, it is not a magic trick.

    You can only be successful if you stay determined. If you head in intending to quit as things get difficult to manage, you’ll never reach your goal.

    10. Offer Assistance

    Once you feel like you’ve become a master, it’s time to further strengthen your learning.

    The best way to do it by teaching others[4]. You will not only repeat all the concepts yourself, but it will also help you improve any minor flaws that were left in your technique.

    Final Thoughts

    With all these tips in your mind, your learning curve can get closer to its optimal shape. The best way to utilize this strength is to boost your professional life with this method.

    You can start by working on the skills that will help you become a master at your job. Once you become the fastest, most suitable person for the job, you will automatically excel.

    There will be no competition, no matter how saturated the market is. You can increase your value and demand by using the learning curve theory to your advantage.

    All that’s left to do now is smartly use these tips and tricks. You will achieve guaranteed success in every part of your life with the help of the learning curve!

    More Tips on Learning

    Featured photo credit: Caleb Angel via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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    Published on April 12, 2021

    How to Take Constructive Criticism Like a Champ

    How to Take Constructive Criticism Like a Champ

    Did somebody just say the words “constructive criticism”? Great, just what I need—someone to tell me how to do my job, like I don’t know how to flawlessly execute on my job. Well, maybe not flawlessly, but I think I know what I’m doing thank you very much.

    This is how many people react when they hear the term constructive criticism. And it makes sense, as most of us don’t like to have someone telling us how we did something wrong or how we can do better. We like to feel like we are good at the things we choose to do unless, of course, we are trying something new. We take a certain amount of pride in how we do our various jobs and don’t like to have our shortcomings pointed out to us.

    Before we get too worked up, let’s take a look at what constructive criticism is and how we can utilize it to help us improve at work or wherever we want to. we will learn that constructive criticism can be used to our advantage.

    What Is Constructive Criticism?

    First and foremost, it would be helpful to make sure we have a good understanding of what constructive criticism is.

    When we hear the word “criticism,” our minds typically think negatively and hostile—like one person is standing over another person telling them that the way they are doing something is all wrong. And that is being critical.

    However, this is not the intent of constructive criticism. Constructive criticism is a helpful way of providing feedback that provides specific and actionable suggestions. Instead of one person acting like a manager giving a team member general non-specific advice, constructive criticism is specific to the actions and situation. Given properly, it provides specific and clear recommendations on how to make changes and improvements that will lead to a more positive outcome in a given situation.

    Accepting Constructive Criticism

    As we just read, constructive criticism is provided to help someone improve in one manner or another. It’s not negative generalities or complaining, it’s specific actionable input provided with the intent of helping someone improve on something they’ve done so they get more desirable results the next time.

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    This is exactly the context in which you should accept constructive criticism. It is meant to help you improve. Anyone who is interested in getting better and better at their job or craft should welcome it.

    Think about a time when you got a big win at work or were part of a team that scored a big win. What an incredible feeling! Now, think about a time when a big project crashed and burned at work, or you didn’t land a huge new client, or your team played poorly and lost a big game—not a good feeling.

    The way you handle these losses and learn from them to get better and score more “wins” is just like receiving constructive criticism. Learn from what went wrong to make things go right more often.

    How to Handle Constructive Criticism

    Now that we have a clear idea of what constructive criticism is, let’s look at the best ways to handle constructive criticism.

    1. Stop Your Initial Reaction

    When you see that some criticism is about to come your way, recognize it. Make yourself see what’s about to happen and tell yourself you will not react.

    The key here is stopping any sort of reaction you are going to have when your brain realizes what’s about to happen. The challenge is that our first reaction is not generally a good one, and we don’t want to wear an initial expression that comes off as highly defensive or angry.

    2. Don’t Take It Personally

    I’m so happy I fully embrace and believe in the “don’t take anything personally” mentality. It’s important to remember that nobody is doing something to you specifically. They are sharing their personal experience and insights from what they’ve learned and seen. This does not make it universally right, it’s simply the way they’ve experienced it. And we all have different experiences that make each of our points of view unique. It’s not about you, it’s about the situation. Don’t take it personally.

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    3. Remember the Benefit

    This is a good thing to do when your first initial reaction of “no” comes into your mind. Receiving constructive criticism is a way to help yourself improve. Remember that you don’t have to digest and implement every single suggestion word for word. Take the parts that resonate with you and use them the next time a similar situation comes around. This is how we learn and grow.

    4. Listen to Understand

    Active listening

    is very important here. Make sure that you are paying full attention to the speaker’s words and body language. You are attempting to understand completely so you are able to truly process the feedback and utilize it down the road. Keep your eyes and ears on the speaker and be present in the moment of receiving the feedback.

    5. Be Thankful

    It’s not easy to be thankful when someone is telling you how you could have done something better. This is where you put on your “big person pants” and tell them, “thank you for taking the time to share the feedback.”.

    If you think about it, they most likely want the best for you. Why else would they be taking the time to share their insights and input with you? If they didn’t care or have a vested interest, why would they take the time? Exactly. Remember this when saying thank you.

    6. Ask Questions to Understand Fully

    This is where you want to ask clarifying questions to make sure you are fully understanding what the person is saying to you. Make sure you are on the same page as what they are telling you. If you don’t take the time to ask questions to clear up any confusion, then, in the long run, this feedback won’t be of much value to you.

    Using Criticisms to Improve

    Now, let’s take a look at how constructive criticism helps us improve, as we’ve read that reviewing when things don’t go right and analyzing why they didn’t go right help us figure out ways to change what we did to gain better results next time.

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    1. Feedback Is Always Helpful

    The first way you can use constructive criticism to improve is by acknowledging that feedback is always helpful. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all feedback is beneficial to you. It just means that it’s helpful.

    You may disagree wholeheartedly on part of the feedback you receive, and that’s fine. The main thing to remember is that it’s always helpful. Gathering data, reviewing, and listening to others help you look at situations from an angle different than your own.

    Speaking of which…

    2. You Get Another Point of View

    A great thing about listening to someone provide constructive criticism to you is that you get another point of view. Too many times we base what we think we should do on only our own perceptions of something. It’s very possible to be so close to something that you don’t truly see it in an objective light.

    I know from back when I was an artist, I could get very locked into a certain project or painting. When I finally would take a break and ask someone else what they thought, many times they pointed out things I’d never noticed or thought of. The same concept applies here.

    3. It Shows You Are Worth It

    When someone takes the time to provide constructive criticism to you, it shows that they care and feel like you are worth it. They wouldn’t take the time if they didn’t think it would matter or that you weren’t worth it. This is something to think about the next time your manager wants to offer you some insight or advice.

    4. It Helps You Improve

    If you are willing to truly listen to constructive criticism, it can help you improve greatly. I think about a wide variety of times when I’ve gotten feedback and constructive criticism. I am known to invite it.

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    I look at it like this—we are all on the same team (whether that’s an actual team or work team) and trying to work towards the same goal. What can I do better that can help us collectively win as a team? I like to think that I’m pretty good at what I do. I also know that I can always get better. Help me to help you, which helps us both.

    5. It Can Inspire You

    Finally, constructive criticism can inspire you. Sometimes, the person providing you feedback will make you see something you never saw about yourself. This is how another point of view can be so valuable. This can be incredibly eye-opening and sometimes be even one of those “Aha!” moments.

    Summary

    We’ve looked at what constructive criticism is and how to accept it. We’ve seen how if we allow ourselves to listen and accept the feedback, it can incredibly valuable to our growth and improvement. Constructive criticism can help us get better and better at what we do. Not any less important, we’ve discovered how to take constructive criticism like a champ.

    Remember, getting feedback from others is critical to our growth in many areas of our life. Use constructive criticism to improve yourself.

    More About Constructive Criticism

    Featured photo credit: Mimi Thian via unsplash.com

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