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Published on March 26, 2020

10 Tips to Improve Your Learning Curve

10 Tips to Improve Your Learning Curve

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.

If you don’t want to be stuck in this sinking swamp, you’re in the right place!

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, overtime observations, 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 for your improvement.

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 completely 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 whichever skills you want to!

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 lifting up 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 the process.

3. Repeat and Redo

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

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

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4. Use the Right Techniques

Everyone has a different way of learning. But guess what is also true? The 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 tough 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 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.

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.

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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 either over-pressurizing yourself or not working hard enough.

7. Get External Evaluation

Some things cannot be evaluated on your own, and sometimes personal evaluations are just not enough. A second opinion is never a bad option.

You can record your 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.

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 skills that will help you out in practical life.

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All 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 will have to put in a lot of effort.

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. You will not only repeat all the concepts yourself, but it will also help you improve on any minor flaws that were left in your technique.

Final Thoughts

With all these tips in your mind, your learning curve will only go up. 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 the 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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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

Have you ever heard of the idiom ‘practice makes perfect’? I’m pretty sure someone would have said that to you at least once in your life! It’s a common saying, often used to encourage someone when they’re learning or doing something that is new to them.

They may need many tries before succeeding and getting it right. It’s like learning to ride a bicycle, learning how to drive, taking up a second language, or cooking for the first time. It’s rare for anyone to ace it on their first try.

Whenever you want to start learning something new, I’m sure you’re always hoping to get good at it quickly. But the reality is, that sometimes it does take days, months or even years before you can confidently master a skill.

That’s simply how learning works. You try, you gain experience, you learn from it, and you try again. And each time, you’re improving and making progress. Every time you repeat this learning process, you’re going through something called a Feedback Loop. You’ll have to go through multiple feedback loops before confidently executing the skill.

What separates a fast learner from a slower learner is not some innate, natural talent. Instead, it’s because the fast learner understands how they learn, and has a systematic way to apply it all the time to learn a variety of things. They know how to effectively use their Feedback Loop to speed up the learning process.

So the good news for you, is that if you’re currently wanting to learn a new skill as quickly as possible, then you just need to learn how to create an effective Feedback Loop.

What is a Feedback Loop?

When we talk about feedback, it simple means getting information about how well you’re performing each time you make an attempt at practicing or applying a skill. Feedback is what tells you what went wrong, or what went right.

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A Feedback Loop is made up of 3 stages:

  1. Practice / Apply – This is the stage where you put what you want to learn into action.
  2. Measure – This is the stage where you’re acquiring information about your performance. This is also the stage that is most ignored… or done ineffectively.
  3. Learn – This is the stage where you analyze how well you performed, and make adjustments to improve and practice/apply again.

It’s important to recognize these 3 stages and put them into place each time you practice a new skill.

Many people only have Stage 1 completed, and a very unclear or fuzzy process for Stage 2, which leads to poor results in Stage 3.

A good, smooth cycle will help you continuously make improvements with each loop, creating steady progress and upgrading your understanding of the skill.

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, and Accuracy.

1. Be Consistent

Being consistent means having a regular way to get the same quality of feedback. You need to be able to compare every practice or learning experience in order to measure, learn and make adjustments. If your feedback is not consistent, then you’re going to have a hard time knowing what went wrong or what went right.

For example, say you’re learning to play the guitar. If you play a different song every time you practice, you’re going to get very inconsistent feedback. Because the difficulty, rhythm, and pace of every song is different, you won’t have a reliable way to compare how well you played the current song versus the last. So, the best way to learn would be to play the same song over and over again until you get to a certain proficiency.

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Seems obvious in this case, but it’s just an example. A lot of times learning is hard because we don’t focus on keeping with a consistent environment or actions.

2. Be Quick

Let’s move on to the second factor: speed. Having speedy or fast feedback is important because the longer it takes to get feedback, the longer it will take to improve on the skill. That’s why some people spend a tremendous amount of time practicing, but make very slow progress.

On the other hand, the best forms of feedback are almost instantaneous. The shorter the time it takes for one Feedback Loop to complete, the better. This is because you’ll have more attempts, which means more improvements within the same timespan.

So, the key to getting fast feedback is to take the skill or knowledge and break it down. Try to breakdown the skill into different components. They could be broken down into steps, subskills or processes, or even by difficulty.

For example, if the skill you want to learn involves a sequence (ie: there is a step by step process), you can break your learning down by each step. Create a Feedback Loop for each step individually instead of the whole process. Isolate the processes into different parts that you can focus and work on individually.

Let’s say you’re learning to cook. You can break this skill into steps, such as finding fresh and suitable ingredients, preparing and handling the ingredients, preparing condiments and sauces, serving and plating, etc.

Or let’s say you’d like to learn how to play soccer. You can identify the sub-skills that make up the larger learning techniques to playing soccer, and create feedback loops for each of them individually. So you could start by learning how to dribble the ball, followed by passing, and then shooting.

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The third and final factor to an effective Feedback Loop, is Accuracy. This means having feedback that actually reflects your performance accurately. Since you’re relying on feedback to tell you what and where to improve on the next time, this is very important. This is why measuring feedback is a key skill to have for an effective Feedback Loop.

3. Be Accurate

Obtaining accuracy in feedback becomes a common weak point for many learners, because it’s not always easy to define what “accuracy” means.

To get accurate feedback, we have to have a way of measuring it. The reason why we sometimes get poor feedback is because we’re trying to measure our progress without quantifying our performance. Or, we’re using the wrong metrics to quantify the feedback. Worse yet, it might just be that you were never measuring or recording your performance at all! Can you recall yourself being in a similar situation?

In order to find areas for improvement, you have to be able to compare your current performance with your previous performance. This is so that you have a baseline, or something to measure up against, to look for room for improvements.

Quantifying is a way to accurately measure your performance. Quantifying something means attaching a number to it. This helps to give objectivity and consistency when comparing two things. Quantifying feedback can give you constructive information that will help you improve during each cycle of the feedback loop.

Let’s say you’re practicing how to dribble a basketball. The first time you dribble, your coach tells you you’re doing a good job. The second time round, you get better and your coach affirms you by saying you’ve done a great job! Sure, your dribbling skill has improved–you know it, your coach knows it, but by how much? And how can you further improve your dribbling skills? A good job versus a great job doesn’t indicate how well you’ve performed, and how much better you can perform.

But, now in the second scenario, if you manage to dribble the basketball up and down the court 4 times continuously without letting the ball slip, your coach tells you you’ve done a good job. In the second round, your coach now tells you to dribble the basketball up and down the court 8 times continuously without letting the ball slip. You managed to do that and your coach tells you great job! You can now quantify your improvement by the number of times you were able to dribble the basketball across the court.

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With a quantity attached to your performance, you’re now able to push yourself further by learning to dribble 16 times or more across the basketball court. You can even add in new obstacles like having to dribble across the court with an opponent trying to snatch your basketball. If you’re successful, you can try dribbling across the court with 2 opponents snatching your basketball, so on and so forth. You’re now able to easily quantify your improvement.

Continuously Improve Your Feedback Loop!

So now that you’re familiar with the Feedback Loop, are you ready to put it into practice? What’s a new skill that you’d like to start on?

Try implementing every stage of the Feedback Loop when learning this new skill and see for yourself, whether your learning improves at a quicker rate.

It is essential to continuously improve your Feedback Loop in order to keep up your momentum, and avoid running into the law of diminishing returns. Improving your Feedback Loop means knowing what to measure next, and what questions to ask, to find out.

In fact, the technique you’ve learned from this article is only part of our Learning Course. If you’d like to discover more gems that will help you speed up your learning and push yourself towards the goals that you’ve been striving for, check out our Learn Anything Fast Course.

Or you can find out more learning tips in these articles:

Featured photo credit: Adeolu Eletu via unsplash.com

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