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  • Ulrich Boser

Learning Is a Learned Behavior. Here’s How to Get Better at It.


Many people mistakenly believe that the ability to learn is a matter of intelligence. For them, learning is an immutable trait like eye color, simply luck of the genetic draw. People are born learners, or they’re not, the thinking goes. So why bother getting better at it?

However, a growing body of research is making it clear that learners are made, not born. Through the deliberate use of practice and dedicated strategies to improve our ability to learn, we can all develop expertise faster and more effectively. In short, we can all get better at getting better.

Here are three practical ways to build your learning skills, based on research:

Organize your goals - Research consistently shows that people with clear goals outperform people with vague aspirations like “do a good job.” By setting targets, people can manage their feelings more easily and achieve progress with their learning.

Think about thinking - Metacognition is crucial to the talent of learning. It is about being more inspective about how you know what you know. It’s a matter of asking ourselves questions like: Do I really get this idea? Could I explain it to a friend? What are my goals? Do I need more background knowledge? Or do I need more practice?

Reflect on your learning - Learning benefits from reflection, which requires quiet moments of introspection.

To read the full HBR article click here.


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