The Best Way to Learn

“If you want to learn something, read about it.
If you want to understand something, write about it.
If you want to master something, teach it.”
~Yogi Bhajan

I usually aim to have the week’s article up on Wednesday, but yesterday I was doing recording for an online video tutorial website in the works. It’s not my project, but I helped contribute on sections covering DJ gear, cueing tracks and beatmatching. It was definitely challenging at moments but was certainly worthwhile and fun too. The experience got me thinking about how we learn by teaching.

The best test of whether or not you really understand a concept is trying to teach it to someone else. Teaching calls for complete understanding of the concept. – Richard Rusczyk

If you want to see where holes are in your knowledge or skills, show someone else how to do something step by step, or explain a concept bit by bit. If there’s somewhere that you aren’t really clear on, you’ll find out really quickly. Then, take the time to figure it out and learn your craft even better.

Look up Edgar Dale’s “Cone of Experience” and you’ll find that people retain less if they just read text, and people retain the most if they are teaching others, or having direct experience with that which they are trying to learn.

Teaching forces you to break down the components parts of a process. When a DJ has been playing for 10 years he doesn’t have to think about beatmatching, but if you ask him to explain it, it’s not as easy. We may get to the point where don’t have to think about performing a task anymore, but there will likely still be places where we can improve or learn whole new skills.

Also, when you are learning something new yourself, share it immediately with other people while you are learning it. This way you’ll you’ll learn them more solidly and quickly then if you kept it to yourself. Show someone how to use Ableton. Teach a younger friend how to beatmatch. You don’t have to be a pro to share. It’s probably more likely that you’ll become better through the process. Teach someone. You’ll learn it better yourself.

  • Who could you share some knowledge or skills with? (good karma too)
  • What could you show or explain to someone else?
  • Go do it.
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