On learning how to learn

26 March, 2021 - 2 min read

I've been meaning to remove the dust out of my English writing skills for some time now and figured a great way to do it would be writing about a subject that I'm passionate about: learning how to learn.

Before migrating to IT, I've studied International Relations for nearly a decade. IR is a multidisciplinary field that makes you develop critical thinking in order to make sense of what is happening around you. Among the areas in which I've specialized were Foreign Policy Analysis, International Security and International Finance.

I'm mentioning this background for a simple reason. This wide range of subjects allowed me to develop a series of strategies in order to get acquainted with new topics, acquire theoretical knowledege and be able to comunicate ideas about them. More than that, it made me evaluate constantly those strategies' efficiency, and adapt them if needed.

At the moment, an important challenge has been to adapt these learning experiences to the study of software development. An important difference is that programming is a skill that takes constant and focused practice in order to be mastered. For that, I've been looking for mental models that provide a better way to combine theory with practice.

During this search, I've found a video from Alberto Souza where he lays out ideas for creating training practice routines in order to master new subjects. An idea Alberto shares, which rings many bells to me, is that software development on a profissional level share many aspects in common with performance sports. The fact that in order to reach a higher level of performance takes many hours of deliberate and focused practice.

A few takeaways from the video:

  • Establish learning objectives
  • Search for theoretical knowledge in areas that form these objectives
  • Practice, practice, practice
  • Analyze critically the quality of the sources you use to study
  • Develop a traning program to practice the knowledge you want to acquire
  • Measure performance (both quantitative and qualitative)

These are some initial thoughts on this subject. More to come soon.


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