For me studying is a big part of my life. In order to specialise in a particular field in IT. I need to continually study and implement my study in a lab environment. The purpose of implementation prepares me for real world application. I tried many learning methods, however the current 3 stage method seems to be the most effective for me personally. Now let’s be clear you will never be able to retain 100% of the learned material. However the goal is, that you are able to recall the key components of the topic, especially when questioned.
A lot may disagree with me. However in my personal opinion focus should be placed on retaining as much material as possible and not on just passing the “certification”. My reasoning behind this is that there is steep decline in memory after passing a certification. One should take into account this decline and focus on retaining as much material as possible before passing the cert, during the actual study period where motivation and commitment is at its peak.
focus should be placed on retaining as much material as possible and not on just passing the “certification”
The Study Plan
Stage 1 : Study the theory
stage 2 : Implementation
Stage 3 : Teach or blog the learned topic
Study the theory
For me the key element as with all studying is to focus on the theoretical aspects. This will help me understand the purpose or the reason behind the actual technology or business concept. For example in IT the purpose of bespoke software development.
At this stage I now understand the basic theoretical aspects, it’s time to put that in practice and actually perform the implementation. Staying on the I.T topic for example programming a software that will automate several tasks for you (e.g send email, create spreadsheet etc).
In my particular case I am extremely passionate about network engineering and network automation. It’s a subject that I am deeply committed to. In this stage I usually have a physical and a virtual lab environment which allows me to implement the learned theory in the previous.
My reasoning behind this is that there is steep decline in memory after passing a certification
By this stage I understand the purpose and fundamental reason behind topic theory (e.g programming). I also have a good idea how to do programming my self from the implementation stage. Subsequently I’ve learned the theory and the practical implementation of the topic. Now I must “validate” and “cement” that information in my memory. The best way I can achieve this is to try and teach someone regarding the studied topic. This has two powerful effects. The 1st it will provide me with a powerful feedback in terms of validation, if I am able to precisely teach this particular topic, I have securely understood the topic. consequently If I am unable to teach the topic then inherently this means there are gaps in my newly acquired knowledge, I need to go back to stage 1 (study the theory).
The 2nd powerful aspect about teaching is that it can have this magical ability to cement the learned topic in my mind, it somewhat becomes unforgettable for me personally.
There many ways to learn new skills. Personally When something is completely new, I have to read about it or watch some videos. Once I understand the basics and I implement to see how it works in action. Often, it works slightly different than what I thought when I learned about the theory. Explaining something to others helps me get rid of my knowledge gaps. Also, my experience is that if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t fully understand it and still have some knowledge gaps.
Also, my experience is that if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t fully understand it and still have some knowledge gaps
The key component to remember here is that, there is a significant and steep decline in knowledge almost immediately after passing the certification. The best way to counteract this, is to focus on retention during the peak of motivation and commitment, subsequently this is during the actual study period.
The key component to remember here is that, there is a significant and steep decline in knowledge almost immediately after passing the certification
Maybe your focus isn’t to retain that newly acquired knowledge. Maybe you are after a new role or a promotion that’s a perfectly understandable and viable reason. However the key aspect to take into account is; you need to study and put in time and effort, subsequently why not be patient for a few more weeks or months and make that time count by retaining as much of the newly acquired knowledge? Let’s make the study and lab time count!