the learning mindset after university.

My learning mindset changed after school and during university. Learning in university was fundamentally different from learning in school. I had to change and learn differently to finish university and avoid failing.

The change was basically to adopt new learning techniques. There are a lot of evidence-based and scientifically proven learning techniques to master university. The methods that helped me the most are categorization, active recall, spaced repetition, and interleaving. Or as I like to call it: CASI.

They helped me a lot with consuming information, understanding, and remembering what I had to learn — which is fundamental in university.

But what happens after university?

I have the feeling that a new change in the learning mindset might be needed once again. Maybe we are missing something in the university learning mindset.

After university, we are often stuck in the university learning mindset where we consume information, try to memorize it, and in the best case even understand it. Maybe there is another part to learning we miss.

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” ― Aristotle

The change which is needed in our university learning mindset is to include applying our new knowledge and understanding.

Learning is not only about consuming, understanding, remembering. It is also about applying, using, experimenting, tinkering, testing. We have to learn by being active.

You can memorize all the writing tips, design principles, code snippets, or marketing strategies that you want. If you can’t use them, you didn’t even learn properly.

Apply writing tips in your articles. Use design principles in different design projects. Code and work on a personal project. Try out a marketing strategy. Apply your understanding. While applying, focus your awareness on different principles, ideas, and insights that you consumed. If possible, one principle at a time. Define awareness instructions, e.g.: “While designing this, I want to keep the whitespace aspect in mind so that my design can breathe; while writing, I want to focus on the ‘Touch of Twain’ and ‘Gaiman Grab’ principles.” Keep this instruction in mind while using new skills. It will help you experiment intentionally and deliberately with your new skill.

Take on responsibility

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

If you read a book, take an online course, or watch a tutorial, you might be told and taught different things. But you might not get involved because of meaningless practices or even missing practices. Thus keep in mind to always include a personal learning project in your learning sessions. If they don’t involve you, take on responsibility and involve yourself.

Take on responsibility, change your learning mindset, and start applying what you learn. Get comfortable with doing it even poorly at first. Practice and build experience to learn what you want to learn.

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