The challenge with creating a great learning experience is getting the mix between theory and practice just right. Most conventional experiences just end up separating the two for simplicity. So, we end up overdoing theory in classrooms and overdoing practice in our day-to-day at work.
Skill building, thus, gets really hard for two reasons. First, the theory needs to be low on information and high on synthesis to make it applicable. And, second, it needs to be followed by attempts at applying it – with access to feedback.
So, if we’re seeking to help ourselves (and/or others) build skills, we need to design learning modules where we spend 20% of the time absorbing one simple, synthesized, idea followed by 80% of our time spent on attempting to practice it.
The test? If our attempts at learning aren’t changing how we actually operate, we aren’t learning.
To learn and not to do is not to learn.