I like to do crossword puzzles with an ink pen. These puzzles test what I have learned before and can apply again later. There are only “across” and “down” clues for me to complete the puzzle, but I don’t get to have the answers as I am solving. I have to pick up the puzzle to be solved and I have to figure it out. As I solve, I have to commit to the answer with some level of confidence as I write it in ink. I do puzzles as an opportunity to continue learning. There are many more puzzles that I am unable to complete, than there are that I have worked through to the end.
We can make the choice of mindlessly watching life go by or we can choose to engage in the difficult process of learning. Easy learning is googling the answers and the retention level will be virtually nil. Committing to the harder route of learning by pushing to solve on your own greatly increases what you retain and will then apply again in one form or another in the future. Nate Kornell, a cognitive Psychologist at Williams College, defined this concept as “desirable difficulties,” “obstacles that make learning more challenging, slower, and more frustrating in the short term, but better in the long run.”
Unfortunately it is true, the best lessons are often the hardest learned. In coaching and leading others to learn to solve puzzles/problems with you, don’t give people the answer sheet and ask them to complete the task. Not if you want them to learn and apply what they have learned at any point in the future.
Demonstrate yourself and coach others to learn deeply, the payoff is tremendous.
“Learning is the beginning of wealth. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins. The great breakthrough in your life comes when you realize it that you can learn anything you need to learn to accomplish any goal that you set for yourself. This means there are no limits on what you can be, have or do.” — Albert Einstein —