This is a long post to compensate for a missed post last Sunday, enjoy!
Here’s a little story, the co-founder of the company I’m currently on is a very great listener and is a very intelligent person. She always do her best to encourage us to learn in all sorts of topics; from finance, investment, and business into career development, history, and spirituality. One Friday evening, she did a presentation on how people could take different approaches to learning. First, she showed data on why people seem to have a hard time learning a new thing or two. Then she isolated one of the main issues — How do people learn?
The answers were simple: If not from experience, it’ll be from reading materials such as books, magazines, newspapers, and of course The Internet.
Then she introduced three basic types of recognition that is related to learning — Through touch/actions/experience, via visual/signal, and through hearing/verbal. Afterwards, she asked us to raise our hands if we think we belong to a certain type of recognition. It doesn’t matter if we raise our hands two times as long as we’re honest to ourselves. From what I remember, I raised my hands on visual and experience. At least that’s what I think I know from that time, and I’ve been honest with myself. Most of us raised our hands to visual.
She thought we’re lying — but I thought that everyone’s being honest or that we just don’t recognize what category do we fall in. Then, she proved her point and had statistics to back her up. Base on her research, we Filipinos are great listeners but are lazy readers (not all, but most). That’s the time she shared her experiences when she was still young and studying, she said that she was having a hard time reviewing before exams and participating in class recitations (I can’t believe her that time. I’m telling you, she’s really smart). Then she elaborated on how she solved those issues — by listening, instead of reading and memorizing text. She discovered that she can learn through that way, and now, I think she’s a guru in this practice. It’s amazing since I was always wondering why is she always wearing earphones whenever and wherever she’s in the office. It’s because she’s listening to audiobooks while working on anything (she’s great with numbers). And that time, I realized that it was the main reason why her knowledge is vast and widespread, she’s multitasking.
I saw it in everyone’s eyes, they’re amazed. And to be honest, I’m in awe. That moment? we’re convinced, we’ll try this listening to audiobook “thing”. She surprised us, and she’s already uploaded a ton of books in different categories for us to choose from. It’s not free, but she offers it very cheaply — a measly amount of 20 PHP per audiobook for interns and 50 PHP per audiobook for core employees. It was a sudden change of mind for others, they immediately bought audiobooks and the money went directly to our funds which will be used for food and other office supplies.
Me? Of course, your guy hesitated. Yes I was convinced, but I know in myself that I won’t be able to apply this easily. My focus when multitasking is only second to none. I was excited to try it yes, but I was just being honest to myself — “Nope Nards, you’re in for some focus issues”. I imagined that if I tried to listen while working or doing anything, I’m quite sure that — a.) I won’t understand what the narrator is saying and/or b.) I won’t be able to focus on coding plus c.) if I listen to an audiobook during my commute, I’ll just end up closing my eyes to sleep. So I did not download any audiobook that night or the following days.
I was browsing twitter one weekend night and a tweet caught my eyes. It was a tweet from a well-known Filipino open source contributor Rico Sta. Cruz. He did a podcast about open source contribution and the local Filipino tech communities. It’s so interesting for me, or to be more specific, it’s inspiring. It’s a Filipino developer doing a podcast on a recognized platform, Changelog. And so I listened, it was about almost an hour and a half but I did not fell asleep or got bored, and the best thing is I’m coding while listening. I told myself, “Alas! learning through audio while working!”, it was very good, I’m in the zone and I can listen to them talk about topics I’m interested about; it’s a win-win situation. After that night, I looked at Changelog’s other episodes, it’s a LOT. I became excited and listened to other topics. I did not stop from listening to podcasts from that night up until today and I know that I will still continue this.
I now find myself listening to different podcast channels and here are the ones that I love aside from Changelog: Soft Skills Engineering (They talk about questions that listeners ask and give advice, all the soft skills good stuff!), ENTERPRISEREADY (All about software sales in enterprise and how to build for it).
There’s a lot more that I tried to listen to, but these shows and channels are the ones that are on the top of my mind so you can start with those. I also do hope you discover your own approach to learning.