• Do well in the modern world: master the core skills you need for success

Effective Learning

Educational issues

There are thousands of educational institutions all over the world. In developed countries, almost all children go to preschools, schools, colleges, etc., but learning effectiveness is still quite low.

After graduation, people cannot apply the knowledge they gained to real situations. That is why their certificates are useless, nothing more than pieces of paper. That is why in the USA about 2.3 million children are home-educated.

That is the reason why famous people such as Elon Musk, a business magnate and inventor, founded his own school even though he can pay for his children’s education. He believes that his children will get all necessary knowledge, and even more, in this school.

In his interview, Musk said that he considers problem-solving one of the fundamental skills people need to be taught at school. “It's important to teach problem-solving, or teach to the problem and not the tools,” he said. “Let's say you're trying to teach people about how engines work. A more traditional approach would be saying, 'we're going to teach all about screwdrivers and wrenches.' It is a complicated way to do it.”

He explained that it is much better to have object lessons. “Like ‘here’s the engine. Now let’s take it apart. How are we going to take it apart? You need a screwdriver. That's what the screwdriver is for. You need a wrench. That's what the wrench is for,” said Musk. “And then a very important thing happens: The relevance of the tools becomes apparent."

Learn effectively in any circumstances

Of course, some people succeed in their education and career. Some of these people are self-motivated; they have goals or dreams, and in order to achieve them, they will do their best even though they were not taught in the best schools or with the most efficient methods.

On the other hand, some people have the opportunity to study at innovative institutions – public, private or charter– where there are no bells to evoke shift-change signals at a factory, one-sided lectures, and heavy textbooks. Such schools provide revolutionary teaching methods, technologies, inspiring learning environments, collaborative group projects and so on.

A large number of famous individuals are former Montessori students, such as Jeffrey Bezos (the founder of Amazon.com), Bill Gates (the founder of Microsoft), Peter Drucker (a Management Guru), Mark Zuckerberg (a co-founder of Facebook), Larry Page (a co-founder of Google) and others. All of them are known for their initiative and creativity, i.e. ability to connect ideas or problems in ways they have never been connected before.

So we can see an apparent link between their distinctions and early education, as the Montessori approach is based on respect for a child’s natural physical, psychological and social development, independence and freedom within limits.

Unfortunately, not everyone has a chance to study at innovative institutions and benefit from their ways of teaching. But the most important thing is that we must be able to learn effectively everywhere, even if we are not taught appropriately. We should be able to absorb necessary information in all circumstances.

We are used to thinking that if we want to learn something, we should drill, review and reread it over and over again, be focused on our task, and that we shouldn’t divert our attention from it. But what if we were wrong? What if we can end up with better results by making less effort? What if effective learning means exactly that?

Follow your curiosity

“From the moment we are born, we are all learning quickly, efficiently, and automatically; but in our zeal to systematize the process we have ignored valuable, naturally enjoyable learning tools like forgetting, sleeping, and daydreaming,” says Benedict Carey, a journalist and author.

He said that we can train our brain, but it is not like any muscle of our body, “it is something else altogether, sensitive to mood, to timing, to circadian rhythms, as well as to location and environment. It doesn’t take orders well, to put it mildly.”

Hal Gregersen, the executive director of MIT Leadership Center and author of Innovator’s DNA, carried out a six-year study trying to find out “discovery skills” that distinguish innovators. In his interview, he said, “If you look at 4-year-olds, they are constantly asking questions and wondering how things work. But by the time they are 6 ½ years old, they stop asking questions because they quickly learn that teachers value the right answers more than provocative questions.”

He explained that high school students rarely show curiosity. “And by the time they’re grown up and are in corporate settings, they have already had the curiosity drummed out of them. 80% of executives spend less than 20% of their time on discovering new ideas. Unless, of course, they work for a company like Apple or Google,” Gregersen said.

He also believes that the most famous, innovative entrepreneurs were very lucky to study in an atmosphere where desire for learning was encouraged. He added, “A number of the innovative entrepreneurs also went to Montessori schools, where they learned to follow their curiosity. To paraphrase the famous Apple ad campaign, innovators not only learned early on to think different, they act different (and even talk different).”

Reboot your learning

Y Skills Institute aims at providing you with a new understanding of learning. We are going to make your learning process a gripping journey rather than a set of oppressive activities. All that you need right now is to have a desire to start, and then you will be surprised by finding out how often you fool yourself about having real knowledge.

New doors will be opened to you: effective methods, strategies, tools, and tips will help you to identify the gaps in your knowledge. You will find the ways of holding information more easily in your mind; find out the causes of procrastination and the ways for tackling it; improve your concentration and attention, and more.

“What is surprising is that a lot of learners use ineffective and inefficient strategies. In my laboratory, for example, we have surveyed college students about their learning. They most commonly use the strategy of repeated reading – simply reading through books or notes over and over,” wrote Barbara Oakley, a professor of Engineering and author of the book A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science. “We and other researchers have found that this passive and shallow strategy often produces minimal or no learning. We call this “labor in vain” – students are putting in labor but not getting anywhere.”

So, let’s stop going nowhere and follow only effective ways of learning — together! If you bring your efforts to the right track by learning properly, you’ll be able to not only obtain good results, but get the super-effective results as well.