You can win something if you know the rules, put together some strategies, and you try to achieve the objective. In a class or when learning something on your own, you probably picked up the basic rules in first grade. Arrive on time. Listen. Do the activities. If you didn't learn the basic rules, you should probably try first grade again.
What about achieving the objective? It depends what the objective is, and that is up to you. I could read A Gamut of Games to understand the scope and variety of game play. Or I could master particular new games and play them. This is why so many teachers ask you what you want to learn.
But let's talk about strategies for learning. Imagine if you knew all the permitted moves in chess, but you chose your moves at a whim, with no strategy. You can guess what happens. I believe if you approach learning without a strategy, it's the same. You probably do have some learning strategies: asking questions, taking notes, copying the smart kid's notes. I'll give you some of mine.
When I start a book or a course, I open up a notebook and remind myself of these categories:
Then, as I go through it, I take notes. I have developed a visual vocabulary for each of these strategies, so they stand out in my notes. Like this:
When you encounter a concept, a formula that solves problems, or a great quote, don't just smile and nod wisely. Plan to memorize it. Use whatever works; brute force repetition is an option. Elaborative encoding is better. What you memorize becomes a useful tool you can pick up when you need it.
You will learn skills that are simple to understand but challenging to execute. Put those in your notes with a P for Practice. You can add these to your weekly or even daily routines as something to do until you're good at them.
There are some things you just realize you need to do. Download the checklist. Get a checkerboard to try the games in the book. If there's something you can do once as an outcome of your learning, give them your to-do mark. And then move them into your main to-do list.
You keep a to-do list, right?
Just as every professional development course contains a four-quadrant diagram, every book or course refers to background reading that will help you understand it better. Mark these in your notes. I also take the most promising ones and put them in my to-do list so I can buy, borrow, or steal a copy.
Okay, that's enough pictures of my notebook. Go get your own. And remember to subscribe, for more winning ideas, and news of our game launches on the App Store and Google Play.
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