My urge to share what I learn

Nov 4, 2020 · Blogging, About me, Workshops, Teaching, Career, Content creation · 3 minute read

Learn by sharing

I gave my first React workshop one and a half years ago. Around that time I also read (and experienced) that sharing while you learn is very beneficial for your learning process. These things have had a big impact on how I approached learning new things ever since.

The idea of sharing what you learn is that as soon as you start learning something new you also start sharing that with others. So imagine you are in the office (yes, I know, that's sooo 2019), you have read your first blog posts or watched some videos about some new technology, you turn you chair towards your colleague and share what you've just learned.

What probably will happen is that, while sharing, you realize that some things are falling into place and some things need some further investigation. And while you keep on learning and sharing you will grasp and solidify more and more.

Another way of sharing what you learn is blogging. Just like talking to someone else, blogging will also help you grasp and solidy what you learn. And while it would be nice other people read your blogs too, the fact you wrote the blog post already helped your learning process.

When sharing what you learn, you probably get feedback or questions. When these people already know something (or a lot) about the subject they will most likely challenge you which might give you good directions on how to proceed your learning. On the other hand, if someone is also new to the subject, that person might also learn something from you.

Learn by doing

According to the Learning Pyramid, sharing your knowledge, no matter how little knowledge you have, is the most effective way of learning new things for the reasons I just mentioned. The second most effective way of learning new things is learn by doing.

However, when you do (or make) something, without sharing, there's the risk you made something that just works, but might not be the best solution. So that's why I think it's good to combine these two. You learn something, put it into practice and share both what you learned and made. That way you make sharing more powerful, because you have something to show and you can also improve both your understanding and the thing you've made with it.

How I learn

Since I realized this, everytime I learn something new, I automatically think about ways how to share that. Not only because it helps me to learn more effective, for me it's also great fun. That doesn't mean I share everything I learn, because it also takes time, but at least it's something that crosses my mind.

I give workshops, talks, I write blog posts, interact with people on Twitter or Slack, etc. Doing that more often, the easier it gets, the more I learn and the more I like it. There are people who know more about things than me. However, they don't like to share their knowledge, but I do. So don't let thinking you are not the best stop you from sharing your knowledge anyway.

Before you know it you take it to the next level: you think of a subject that's on your wishlist to learn one day and you decide to write a blog post or give a talk about it. This not only gives you an incentive to finally learn it, sharing that knowledge also helps you to get a deep understanding of it.

I never gave a talk on a conference before, but because of my workshops I was asked to give a talk on a local conference. My go-to subject is React, but that wasn't really suitable for that conference. So I decided to give a talk about something I still had to learn: GraphQL.

The conference was cancelled, but I gave that talk on another occasion and now I know enough about GraphQL to be able to explain it to other people. That is also how I started giving React workshops.

Steering your career

In my daily job I rarely have the opportunity to choose which technologies to use. But because people now know I love React and know something about it, I did my first React project. That also might happen with GraphQL, or any other technology I really want to use, but haven't encountered yet.

If you don't have hands-on experience with specific technologies, but showed you know a lot about it because you learned and shared it, it might give you a better chance to still get hired for it. That way you might "steer" your career in another direction and do (or use) the things you want to.

And last but not least, openly sharing knowledge also shows you are a communicative person, which is a plus for many companies.

Oh, and by the way, I also gave a talk on what this blog post is about: learning by sharing and what benefits you'll get from that. 😃

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