Learning How to Learn


I’ve been pondering about learning in the past days and thought of my process of learning as early as my college days.  Being creative requires a lot of time learning about things in all aspects of art, music, writing, photography, and business innovation. 

So I asked myself, what are the building blocks of learning?  I did some research and came across Dr. Barbara Oakley, a former US Army with a rank of Captain and the author of the book, “Learning How to Learn.”

Here are some excerpts:

· The brain creates synapses when you learn something new. And sleep helps you and your brain cell regenerate to speed up the learning process.

· Most of the time, we procrastinate when we try to learn about something. The main reason is because of anxiety of learning something new. My personal technique when I procrastinate is the 5-second rule of Mel Robbins. It works for me. Once you start, it will eventually lead to satisfaction.

 · Chunking – just like programming which you do the coding per function or method. Chunking is the art of grouping concepts such as chapters that form part of the entire subject.


· Exercise – it is a very effective way to learn better on top of sleep.  It helps your brain maintain the neurons that help stimulate learning.


A little over a decade ago, I started a blog, “Create Things Now.”  It was all about creating, creating music, photos, animation.  I learn something by chunking them into blog posts.  One example is a post about writing a song.  

The first time I did it, I researched on the practical formula for writing a song.  I started off with a title, then lyrics, then chord progression, and melody.  Then I researched about recording and mixing, and came across GarageBand, LogicPro, mixing and mastering.  

I eventually shutdown my blog for some personal reasons but now that I am back in blogging and business, my experience from my research led me to not hire a sound engineer when recording voiceovers for marketing videos that I produce.


So here’s my practical suggestion as your takeaway:

1. Choose a subject that you want to learn about and that you will use eventually. If you want to impress someone, say a friend who has a piano at home, then learn how to play the piano.

2. Just start. Buy a basic piano or a keyboard, go to YouTube and learn from tutorials. Pick out the songs you like and learn how to play them. Do it in chunks, start with the intro, have a break, then on to the verses. 

3. Schedule your learning session once a day, once a week or once a month. It doesn’t matter as long as you stick to it and make it a habit.

I am writing this because of my recent goal to come up with a presentation video about Hilsoft products, hence the photo in this blog.  I researched sample videos online, retrieved my old Fuji camera with tripod, set up my mic/GarageBand for the audio, bought a green paper for background graphics (just like in the movies) for later use in editing.  Then I chose to set up in our conference room because of good lighting by the window.

Take note, I learned in chunks—set lighting, video editing—from my blog 10 years ago. If I did it, so can you!

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