Book – Make It Stick

Make-it-Stick.pngThis very enjoyable book gave me a different perspective than its primary purpose.

As I was educated in the former Soviet Union, study techniques were taught early, and the educational system was based on frequent concept tests.  Mnemonic rules were also known, but not used as much, as concepts rather than memorization was a base of education.  Math was considered easy and foreign languages were considered hard (can you imagine just sitting and memorizing words rather than learning a concept and applying it…?)  🙂   Re-reading text multiple times was not recommended and highlighting in a book was strictly prohibited.

What I did not realize,  is that I was lucky to go through that system (admittedly, kicking and screaming as a child), which allowed me to take a rational approach to learning later. However, I was very surprised when my colleagues seem to struggle more.

Once I hired a very curious person, who needed to learn one of the company’s systems.  I assumed that after reading the manual, this person would come up with a few little test projects to practice the knowledge in different aspects of the system.  It did not happen..  The person was waiting for a task to be assigned.

Now I understand why.  I gave the practice tasks and the person achieved mastery of the system very fast, but why I needed to give the practice tasks was a mystery to me…  Wouldn’t it be more fun to work on little tests of your own choice?  This person just did not know how.  I need to remember that and structure presentation of educational materials in the most reasonable form.

Another interesting concept: frequent switching between different jobs involved in the integrated process helps employees understand the entire process.  As we might assume that employees would try to understand “the large picture” intuitively, this type of training needs to be built into the overall function of the organization.

Excellent book!  It gave me more appreciation of little bothersome tests I disliked as a child decades ago 😉