26 March, 2010

Stages of Learning

This post is a reminder to myself. I am sure most of you already know whatever follows, yet, I (and many of us) forget it when the time comes and I succumb to my laziness.

There are 3 stages of learning

1) 0 to 100 in 6 seconds: Assume a running example of learning the guitar. Chances are that you started learning the guitar because you were inspired watching someone play. The first few classes are the most impressive. You have so much to learn that every moment of the class is a new lesson. Your concentration is the maximum and your instincts are being trained at full speed. You learn quick and pretty much everything around the world is a rhythm. Awesome days! These days typically last a month or two where your interest waxes to a peak.

2) Stabilising: After the initial churn when getting started, things start to stabilise. Your instincts have been nicely trained to play the guitar with lesser concentration. This is the phase where the learning speed slows down and the need to perfect even smallest aspect of whatever you are learning increases. This period is marked by constant practising of the same rhythms, concentrating on speed, control and reducing the error rate to the bare minimum.
Now, The first phase had raised the expectations so much that this phase turns into a sort of disappointing one. One starts to think that he is not made for this stuff or one may even lose interest for the lack of anything new. But, then this is the most important phase of learning anything! The phase where you perfect what you have learned. The phase where you groom that genius inside you that will one day unleash. Most of the times, when I get into this phase, I quit. It has happened in the past. With the guitar. But, however long this phase is, I know that if I outlast it and put my everything into it, I am going to go into the third phase a very happy man.

Most of the dabblers quit in this phase. So, it is a good filter too.

3) Mastering: So now you are in more control of yourself. You can command your fingers and wrists and you are ready to break out of the cocoon to fly. If you reach this phase, chances are you'll never turn back. Its a smooth ride to awesomeness from here. One day, I'll reach at this phase. I am already learning something that is a candidate for reaching this phase :-)

So guys, don't quit in phase 2. It'll be boring, monotonous and frustrating. But if you really really like what you are learning, you'll appreciate even the smallest improvements in yourself. Pray for me to outlast phase 2 (Haven't reached it yet, but I am going to need reminding this post when I reach the phase) :-)


Mia said...

So true! :)

And don't worry..I'll make sure all of us push you enough to stay put in stage 2!

The things we have to do as friends! :P

Zaru said...


i liked a post of urs..after ages..whew..congrats :P