How To “Ultralearn” and Accelerate Your Career

How to ultralearn and accelerate your career

To be successful in the modern workplace, you need to be constantly learning and growing. Accelerating your career demands that you stack up on knowledge and skills and learn them rapidly while fulfilling the daily requirements of your job.   

Successful companies like Google, for example, view learning and development as an essential part of the culture with the 20% rule which requires all employees to assign dedicated time to learn a skill.  

With or without the support of your organisation, it’s still possible to create the space and make learning a habit. How do you do it?  

  

Hello ‘Ultralearning’  

  

Scott Young, author of Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition and Accelerate Your Career, achieved fame for teaching himself the four-year MIT computer science curriculum in just 12 months.  

  

The same rapid and focused type of ‘ultralearning’ according to Scott, whether it’s to develop skills from coding to foreign languages, to public speaking, is possible for all of us.  

  

In his book, he lays out the techniques for how to teach yourself exceptionally quickly. Aside from charting his ultralearning journey, he studied people who have accomplished impressive self-directed learning projects.   

  

5 Steps to Start your Ultralearning Project  

If you are learning on your own for the first time, it’s ok if you don’t know exactly what you need to learn or how to do it. So, before you crack open a book or sign up for a course, take these steps to get your ultralearning project off to a good start –  

1. Identify the specific skill you want to acquire and that you can learn within a short period, say 1 to 2 months.  

2. Research how other people learned that skill in the past.  

3. Do a simple Google search to identify what learning resources are available.  

4. Find people who have learned the skill and have a conversation about the resources they used. This step is extremely crucial because you can’t waste time with resources that are not the best for the type of skill you want to learn.  

5. Schedule dedicated time for learning. Using Google’s 20% rule as an example, set aside Friday’s for weekly learning.  

  

5 Ways to Transfer Ultralearning  

Transfer learning is when you learn something from a book, an online course or a classroom and apply it in a different context, like in the real world, for example. Here are five ways to make the most out ultralearning and successfully transfer new knowledge into serviceable skills – 

 1. Just do it.   

Obviously, you need to start practising and failing forward to gain confidence in your new skill. If you’re trying to learn a new language, for example, start training by having more conversations.  

2. Mock projects  

While you’re still in the process of building competence to be functional in your new skill, work on mock projects such as a test website if you’re trying to learn how to create one.  

3. Space repetition  

If studying requires intense memorisation like learning tax codes or human anatomy, for example, use the flashcard technique to recall vast amounts of information effectively. 

4. Over-learning  

It’s the method of applying your new skills in a more challenging context. For example, using your newly acquired knowledge of coding by performing website troubleshooting, is the fastest way to gain mastery. 

5. Master and apprentice model   

Learning a new skill in tandem with someone who actually knows the skill can help you get quick feedback. Learning this way enables you to get from studying to performing super-fast.   


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