Superlearning and “OverLearning”

by instep on June 14, 2009

Today I was listening to a course on becoming more effective – in anything.

It reviewed the ideas of a path to learning – starting with Unconscious Incompetenence, then Conscious Incompetence, then Conscious Competence, and finally Unconscious Competence. So – in terms of reading – You dont know that you cant read, then you know that you cant read, then you can read by focusing and working to read, then you read without thinking.

The idea of overlearning was that we can choose to reach to or past the the level of unconscious competence. We have the ability to select skills to reach this level. My son reads as fast as I do, which is quite fast. He is nine years old. At an early stage we (he and I) decided that it would be great to be able to read really really well – and as fast as he wanted. Which is what we did. Now his school work is a doddle for him.

The same principle can be applied to anything. If you learn to juggle – then dont stop practicing when you can just do it ‘OK”. Keep going until you can do it with your eyes closed [almost]. That is assuming that you have chosen this as a key skill to ‘overlearn’.

Most of the time we learn stuff or skills – and when we get to an OK level – we stop improving. We either move on to a new skill or project, or we just allow ourselves to get a bit bored – or just decide not to get any better at it.

A key point to learning is that if we start with the expectation of at least unconscious competence as our standard – that is what we will get. Then once we reach this level – it is more available and more useful in our futures.

How many people out there are OK typists? Either chicken pecking or just going really slowly? This might be one of the skills that is worth overlearning. If you are going to be using a keyboard as a major part of your communication strategy – why on earth would you not choose to become superb at it? If you could type 3 times faster than you do now – what impact would it have on your productivity and power? Also – if you choose to be a slow typist – you are telling your brain it is ok to go slowly so your fingers can keep up.

Is the output side to slow reading. Some people still believe that reading slowly gives better comprehension – which you know is not true. If you dont know that – get on the Superlearn 101 Newsletter. I wonder if the same people who type slowly are also slow readers. Perhaps believing that slow typing is more accurate or easier to read? Ok that is a bit harsh – but – the principle of choosing skills to overlearn is a powerful one.

Your list of things to overlearn can come from your work, your study, or your play. There will be a massive benefit when you choose a talent or skill or overlearn – nail it – and move to the next one. Dont stop at being just consciously competent – go way beyond! Make your list and feel free to post below.


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