Self-teaching is a big thing. Even when you’re googling something, you are technically already learning about something.
But what happens when you want to deep dive into a subject, or increase your proficiency, or skills on a subject? What do you do? And how do you go about it?
Again the internet gives us a trove of tips to organise for self-learning. A quick grasp through a barrel of blog posts I found on the topic of self-learning lists advice like (frequency count):
- Believe you can do it (ii)
- Understand yourself (ii)
- Know the end (ii)
- Find “How to” materials (iiiii)
- Get the tools you need (ii)
- Practice (iii)
- Record progress (i)
- Network, and connect with people (iiiii)
- Patience and persistence (iii)
- Make mistakes (ii)
- Set deadlines, and commit time (ii)
- Master the basics first (i)
- Work in practical projects with a goal (iiii)
- Avoid burnout (i)
- Cultivate your growth mindset (i)
- Create your study environment (i)
- Follow up on references (i)
- Teach (ii)
- Write & review things (ii)
These are all interesting points. But they have triggered a need to evaluate with me, because they don’t seem equally relevant.
Personally, I’d say that networking, persistence, and writing are my ways of coming to grips with a topic. These points are always top of my mind, and I put effort in these to get ahead on a learning project. Particularly around the aspect of networking, I always need to put a lot of effort in to find out who’s doing what (like finding the lay of the land, understanding key words to describe concepts, etc). I use that to create opportunities to start conversations with the wise people out there.
The rest of the mentioned points seem OK’ish to me, but I would consider most of them as a given for the way I set up my learning.
For instance, I have no trouble in adopting a topic that I love, and finding my motivation for diving in.
Also, I don’t need to remind myself about the importance of finding the how-to readings on topic.
Deadlines, and tracking progress are things that might be relevant to me, but don’t quite see how they’d help me. I do notice that I spend oodles, unrestrained periods of time floating over a topic before getting a focus, but I don’t feel the need to structure that time because I feel it only enriches my insight (but I’m open to suggestions here if your experience is different)
How about you?
Now, I’m wondering, what are some of your best practices for self-teaching? Which of the 19 points mentioned above resonate with you, and which ones don’t? What do you need to invest in/put effort in the most when you’re figuring out a topic, and creating your learning setting?
Perhaps we can start listing some points together on how we self-teach, and then organise some deep dives where we can exchange practices on the most important ones together!