To be a good leaner is a fundamental skill that will help with all other skills that follow. If you are able to learn effectively then any new task will be a whole lot easier. So, what makes a good learner?
- Good Learners Are Curious
A good learner wants to expand their knowledge, not because they want to know-it-all, but simply because they are curious. They are curious about the world and how it works, about themselves and other people, and about many other delights. They want to learn. Their curiosity is a constant drive to know more.
- Good Learners Will Put The Time And Effort In
You can’t expect to pick up a guitar for the first time and be playing Hendrix by the morning. It is simply not going to happen. You will be lucky if you can crack a couple of chords. Learning anything takes time and energy, and the degree to which you are willing to put this energy in, is the exact degree of the results you will obtain. Good learners are enthusiastic enough to put in enough effort. They are motivated to learn.
- Good Learners Ask Questions
People are a great source of knowledge and everyone has something that they can share. When a good learner meets someone who has an expertise that they find even mildly interesting, they will begin to fire questions. They want to know more and they are going to probe until they find out something new or useful.
- Good Learners Observe
Asking questions is one way in which a good learner gains knowledge, but another, and perhaps even more powerful characteristic, is that they are keen observers. They are always watching, absorbing what is going on around them. Their attention is wherever it needs to be to learn. If someone is carrying out a task in front of them, they have both eyes firmly planted on the process. They know that they can become experts vicariously; simply by observing. This is also the way to become extremely socially aware.
- Good Learners Can Give Themselves Over To A Real Authority
Real authority occurs when someone actually knows better. In terms of learning an authority figure is someone who’s knowledge far exceeds yours. Some people are simply too stubborn to learn. They have the best teacher they could possibly ask for in front of them, but their own inability to give themselves over to the authority prevents any real progression. The good learner immediately recognizes the opportunity, surrenders to the person who knows better, and says “okay, you show me.”
- Good Learners Have The Right Combination Of Open-Mindedness And Skepticism
This is a tough balance to strike, but you need both open-mindedness and skepticism in equal measures to be a good learner. A good learner has an open mind, and needs one so that they can engage with all of the extensive knowledge, ideas, and skills that the world contains. Without skepticism though they would readily absorb irrelevant or false information, and eventually this would poison their ability to learn effectively. A combination of both leads to maximum learning.
- Good Learners Process Information In A Meaningful Way
There is more to being a good learner than simply holding on to as much information as possible. Floating facts and irrelevant information are useless if not properly applied and integrated. A good learner is constantly building maps of their knowledge, and chopping and changing as new information challenges old assertions. They are painting a bigger and brighter picture for themselves each and every time they learn something new.