Learning how to learn with Rebecca

By September 10, 2020 Agent Academy No Comments

Learning how to learn with Rebecca

Let’s face it, staying focused and creative in the current climate is challenging.

As part of our Agent and Agent Academy BABs (Briefings at Breakfast) knowledge sharing sessions, I decided to share a handful of techniques that help me to stay focused, productive and creative – even in the most challenging of situations!

First up is The Pomodoro Technique.

I first came across this technique in 2014. I was working full time as well as studying, so finding time to learn something new was my biggest challenge!

What is it?

The pomodoro technique is an approach to time management.

For all you polyglots out there, you will notice that Pomodoro means tomato in Italian. Francesco Cirilllo created the technique in 1980 when he was studying programming at university. He used his tomato (pomodoro) kitchen timer to help him keep focused on his studies. He would set it for 20 mins and when it rang, he would get up and do something different for 5 minutes to switch his focus.

He repeated this throughout the day and found that the amount he could learn in one day shot right up!

In fact, it was so effective that he did further research into how long an average person can concentrate. It turns out that it’s around 20-25 minutes. He developed this technique into a complete system, which has proven to be a massive hit with productivity-seekers across the globe.

There is even an app now available to download to keep track of your Pomodoros!

You can find out more about it, here:  https://bit.ly/2VLy3yG

Secondly, we have the Cornell Method of Notetaking.

Unfortunately, I only came across this after having graduated from university. However, I still find it really useful today when I am trying to learn something new.

What is it?

It is a low-tech system for making notes, which also doubles up a study system.

Let me ask you this; how often do you take notes in class or a lecture and then actually re-read your notes afterwards? If you are anything like me, the answer is almost certainly never.

This technique helps you to focus on the key concepts of new information so that you can structure your thinking and make useful learning links in your brain.

On the left you write the key points; in the middle you write more detail and; at the end you write a brief summary of the learning on that page.

Making notes in this way can help you keep track of the key points you need to remember, and, what’s more, you have ready-made revision cards for exam-time practice.

You can find out more about it, here: https://bit.ly/3cK0JPR

Thirdly, I introduced the team to the delights of SCRUM.

I learnt about SCRUM in 2013 when I was working for an agile consultancy company which specialised in this type of training. They set about upskilling tech teams across the UK on how they could work better together, create value and satisfy user-demand.

What is it?

SCRUM is simply one approach to Agile Project Management.

Here is how it works. You have…

  • A Cross-Functional Team: No silo-ing here. A person or persons from each discipline needed to develop a product are brought together into one team who work collaboratively.
  • A Product Owner: The person responsible for prioritising work and keeping the client happy. This is SCRUM’s version of a traditional project manager.
  • A Scrum Master: The person responsible for ensuring the team is working well together and removing any barriers they might have.

The teams work together in a ‘sprint’ on very specific set of tasks. They focus completely on their tasks for the duration of a sprint (usually around two weeks). At the end of their sprint, they have a piece of a product which could be used or delivered to a client.

Why is it useful?

SCRUM doesn’t only focus on what is being done, but also on how it is being done.

In the creative and digital sector, we are constantly working on developing iterations of our work in order to improve it and make our clients happy.

Taking elements of agile project management can help us to see where we are working well as a cross-functional team, to determine how best to deliver value and to support us in remaining innovative.

This is, of course, a simplified version of SCRUM. If you would like to find out more, a good place to start is here: https://bit.ly/3arfQfo

I hope you enjoyed reading all about my BABs! If you have any techniques, tips or tricks you’d like to share, feel free to get in touch at rebecca@agentacademy.org.uk.

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