How Do You Learn? Are You Modeling This For Your Kids?
When is the last time that you’ve really thought about your own learning and learning style?
Are you visual? Kinesthetic? Auditory? Or a combo of the above. Do you thrive as an independent learner or do you prefer a partner? How about a group setting?
For me, my learning style has definitely evolved over time. These days, most of my learning is independent and comes in a couple of predictable formats: written text (hard copy), electronic text, video or podcast. Most of my learning at the moment is also self-guided.
I’ve been asked this question a few times, so I thought I would provide you with an inside look at my process. These steps won’t be ideal for everyone, but they definitely work for me at my current stage of life, business & learning.
Here’s a book that I adore: Your Next Five Moves by Patrick Bet-David.
Yes, I prefer a print copy book compared to a digital copy.
Step One: You can see from the images here that I’m a person who loves to tab with mini-post-it-note flags. These things are the best! I like to tab along the side - not along the top.
Step Two: The next step that I love to do is underline relevant or meaningful passages with an HB2 pencil. I don’t know what it is about this for me, but I love the feeling of an “old school” pencil for this part of my process. Not a highlighter. Not a pen or marker. A pencil. ( I apologize to those folks reading here who are cringing at the thought of “marking up” an author’s work. Again, not everyone will be okay with this approach. I think it’s totally flattering!)
Step Three: I then take those underlined passages and transfer them to either a hand-written set of notes or to a google document. It depends on the book and how much time I’m willing to spend on this step of my process. (Pro tip: voice dictation / voice to text in google docs is a massive time-saver and it’s very accurate.)
Step Three B: Once I’ve transferred the specific meaningful sentence or paragraph, I then like to reference the page number in the margin.
Step Four: When I’m done, I have this sequential, condensed and highly meaningful compressed version (for me) of the book that I’ve just read. (The “Coles Notes” version - Does anyone remember that?)
Step Five: The book & my notes are stored together on a bookshelf where I can easily reference them in the future. Maximum efficiency achieved!
Now… Do I do this for every single thing that I read? Heck no. Just the really compelling stuff. You could say that I treat the great books like I’m taking a mini-course or studying for a university exam. Some of the content is that great!
I have developed & refined this process for myself over time because I could never remember where I read something. I would remember the information or context of the passage, but I could never locate it (again) to save my life. This inefficiency drove me bonkers.
( I despise inefficiency and / or doing things twice!) Especially, if I know that I will want to use the material later on for reference and credit the author correctly. Or, if I want to implement the idea and need to re-read the longer version for clarity.
This process also allows me to find something quickly and to take action on the important things that I take away from each book.
Another observation...I’ve noticed that readers tend to fall into a few categories:
a) people who don’t read at all
b) people who skim or scroll - they don’t read for meaning or to achieve greater understanding
c) people who read, and read, and read...etc . They then “do nothing” with the information they’ve just consumed. What’s the point if you don’t devise a plan or “action” anything that you’ve just learned? ( Sidebar: different conversation if you’re reading fiction for pure enjoyment or to escape. This type of reading is important too! )
I hope you’ve found this little behind the scenes tour to be helpful.
One final thought to ponder … Do you have a process that works for you and are you modeling this for your kids or students to see?
Send me your thoughts about this... tell me about your process! I'd love to hear about it. firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy reading! That's all I have for now.