I applied these self-learning principles to go from being college dropout to self-taught programmer.
With the bulk of human knowledge readily available on the Internet, we can learn anything we want. As we all know, with knowledge comes opportunity.
I’m a case study for this: You can really turn blog posts, video courses, and other online content into a new career or further your current one.
But how do you actually make your effort effective? How do you transform your time reading blog posts and watching MOOCs into truly furthering your career?
We spend so much time looking for resources and poring over information that you can’t use immediately. The process of learning online can be overwhelming and inefficient.
Try these principles and you might save some time:
- Learn by doing is the most effective way to mastery.
- When acquiring a new skill, learn only what you need to start. Then, start immediately.
- As soon as you learn new information, try to apply it immediately. This is why many courses are project-based; the lessons stick when you actually solve problems yourself.
- Learn how you learn. If you can absorb material simply by reading, then you will save a lot of money. If not, don’t kid yourself. I wasted a lot of time and money trying to learn from books when only code-along video courses have worked for me.
- Learning is an investment in yourself. View it as so, and applying your time and money will feel justified. Every improvement will feel like an increase in your ROI.
- If you need the skill, you won’t have to manufacture motivation. If it’s simply a hobby, your motivation will take much more willpower. Include the skill in your goals and you’ll find a way.
- Reminder: Writing it down is not the same as learning it.
It will take longer than you expect to understand, but shorter than you expect to be effective.