Make It Stick has given me a lot to write about; I don’t love everything about it, but it has given me some ideas for how I can work with my team to infuse principles into our curriculum that can help professionals, particularly professionals early in their career, be more effective learners. In no particular order, here are some worth thinking about:
- Be mindful while reading (p. 213). Stop frequently and quiz yourself on what you just read. Make reading an active search for answers, not passive information absorption. It takes longer, but is more effective. Audit and accounting standards can be dry, as can contracts, leases, and other documents, so this is a nice fit for CPAs, who have to extract information from documents like these.
- Adopt learning goals instead of performance goals (p. 180). Based on the ideas of Carol Dweck, a learning goal is when you focus on acquiring new skills and knowledge. A performance goal is focused on “validating your ability.” Getting an A is a performance goal; learning the material in a way that you can apply it to a real world problem is a learning goal.
- “Be the one in charge” (p. 159). “Mastery, especially of complex ideas, skills, and processes, is a quest. It is not a grade on a test, something bestowed by a coach, or a quality that simply seeps into your being…”
- “Describe what you want to do, know, or accomplish. Then list the competencies required, what you need to learn, and where you can find the knowledge or skill. The go get it. Consider your expertise to be in a state of continuing development, practice dynamic testing as a learning strategy to discover your weaknesses, and focus on improving yourself in those areas.” (p. 159)
- “Don’t rely on what feels best” (p. 159). Learning should feel effortful. If it feels easy, you probably aren’t learning as well as you think you are.