Learning Fast

Malcom Gladwell had it wrong. It doesn’t take 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. (Practicing something the same way over and over doesn’t make perfect.) Great At Work by Morten Hansen asserts that a key component of learning fast is deliberately creating learning loops. 

To do so, you need to:

  • Meticulously assess outcomes,
  • Solicit feedback,
  • And correct any flaws, no matter how small, that the feedback has uncovered.

That is a terrific outline for a learning loop.

Hansen uses the example of being a better public speaker; his job was to deliver keynote speeches. To improve, he spent 15 minutes a day deliberately improving this skill. Of course, he couldn’t give a keynote every day. Instead, he recorded his presentation, and then watched short 10 or 15 minute segments daily. He would then ask someone else to also watch those segments and provide him specific feedback on a behavior that he was trying to improve.

This example not only demonstrates exercising a learning loop, but doing so to learn fast.