What is learning in public and 5 things you can do to learn in public effectively

An image of a study desk with a laptop, notepad and coffee on it. Used to signify a person learning something.

Learning is typically considered a very private affair. Throughout school and college, and even in adulthood, you are presented with information and facts which you then process on your own.

But if we take a look at the learning process today, we can see something different. We can witness and participate in knowledge acquisition on various online platforms and social networks. Instead of keeping the learning process behind closed doors, more and more people are presenting what they’ve learned and discussing it in public.

Learning in public is a growing trend and it boils down to sharing your knowledge, projects, and ideas with others instead of keeping them to yourself.

And, how do you do this? By creating content about what you’re learning and making it accessible to others. You learn something or have an idea for a project and you share it with other people, whether in the form of a blog post, social media post, or YouTube video. By doing so, you become part of a unique knowledge chain in which all the people involved help build on that knowledge.

Teaching what you know to others is a great way to solidify what you have learned and can often reveal holes in your knowledge that you wouldn’t have identified otherwise.

From The Learning Process sub section of Motivation and Mindset, The Odin Project

There are a lot of options for how you can learn in public. The basic idea is to display your learning, get feedback and engage in discussions. Here are 5 things you can do to learn in public effectively and some benefits that learning in public brings.

5 things you can do to learn in public effectively

Make your work publicly accessible

First, decide what works best for you. If you don’t feel comfortable writing blog posts or speaking in front of a camera, you can simply share your projects on platforms like Stack Overflow or join discussions and post questions on Quora or Reddit. Another option is social media posts, whether on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or another social network that fits your needs. Tweeting about what you’re learning or issues you’re having with a project is bound to give you insight from other people and enhance your learning. You can also combine different types of content or even eventually all of the above.

Welcome feedback

If you make your work and learning public, you set yourself up for feedback from other members of your community. Embrace this feedback. Someone thinks you’re wrong or your work is just not that good? Great, that’s a learning opportunity for you. Ask them to explain where you made a mistake or what you misunderstood. Answer all the questions you get, even if you have to look the answer up yourself. You’ll learn by doing, which is the objective.

Be consistent

Keep your work and your content consistent. As with traditional learning, you shouldn’t skip things or disregard them. Document everything you do, down to every little step, and keep track of the problems you had and how you solved them. Think of it as creating a knowledge base for yourself and other members of your community.

Don’t count the clicks

Don’t judge your results by the number of likes. Creating your content and making it accessible isn’t about popularity, so don’t focus on the upvotes, followers, or views. Your goal is to learn. Even if no one reads your blog post, you’ll have a record of your learning journey. Along the way, others will surely benefit from your content, but don’t forget that the main beneficiary of the entire process is you.

Don’t just create, participate

Learning in public isn’t simply about sharing your knowledge or projects. You also need to take part in other people’s learning processes. Join discussions, comment on blog posts or videos you’ve enjoyed, thank the creator and ask questions. Also, teaching is a great way to learn, so you can consider setting up a workshop or speaking at a conference when you feel confident enough.

Benefits of learning in public

Don’t hesitate to share your work or feel reluctant because you think you don’t have much to share. The goal is to learn, so become part of the knowledge chain. If you keep your knowledge walled off from the rest of the world, you’ll miss out on some amazing benefits public learning provides.

When you’re learning in public you become a member of a community of people who are on the same path as you and dealing with the same issues, problems, and setbacks. There’s no pressure of not knowing something and you can learn at your own pace.

Over time, as you learn more and hone your skills, the content you share will add credibility to your work. The knowledge display you created can serve as your own unique portfolio and ultimately lead to job opportunities.

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