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Habit-Forming Learning vs. Forced Learning

Habit-Forming Learning vs. Forced Learning

Do you struggle when learning new things? Most people do -- even when receiving a formal education in school or attending college, it can be hard to make new concepts stick. 

New research in how people learn challenges the old methods of teaching. One of these new developments in education is habit-forming learning. In this article, we’ll look at why habit-forming learning is one of the best ways to learn new information and make it stick. And we’ll see some ways that you can use habit-forming learning to build your skills as a programmer.

What is Habit-Forming Learning?

How much do you remember from your high school world history classes? Unless you elected a career that requires you to use that knowledge every day, you probably remember very little from those classes.

But you also learned things that stuck with you. You are reading this article because you learned how to read. But unlike the specifics of the fall of the Roman empire or eighteenth century romanticism, you remember how to read because what you learned turned into a habit. By practicing regularly, you got better and better at reading until it became second nature to you.

So habit-forming learning is simply the process of making learning into a regular part of your life.

This approach is in contrast to the traditional way of learning, called forced learning or rote learning. With forced learning, you memorize facts with the goal of completing exercises or passing tests. But once the class is over, the tests are done, and the objectives are accomplished, the material quickly fades from our minds. You find that the new information doesn’t really stick over the long term -- because our minds are quick to discard anything that’s not relevant. Once you’ve finished the course or taken the test, you’ll begin to forget it just as quickly as you learned it.

So is there a better way to learn new information? Can you really get a new skill to “stick”? To really retain new information, you must make learning into a habit -- something you do regularly and repeatedly. Like reading, you continue to practice it every day, until it becomes second nature. This requires a combination of learning new information, reviewing old information, and applying both the new and old in practical exercise.

So how can you use habit-based learning to get new information to stick? Let’s dig into this process and see how it can help you to learn new skills more quickly.

Using Habit-Forming Learning to Boost Your Skills

Habit-forming learning is a combination of a few different techniques that you can use to learn new things more quickly and retain them over a longer period of time. You can use this technique to learn all kinds of new skills -- not just coding.

For example, you may want to learn a new language. Rather than just memorizing lists of words and grammatical rules, use habit-forming learning techniques to break your study down into smaller sessions. In each, you’ll spend time reviewing, learning new things, and practicing. Over time, you’ll make those study sessions a habit -- helping you to make progress toward your goal more quickly.

To take advantage of habit-forming learning, follow these simple steps:

Set a Goal

Before diving into studying, first decide what you want to accomplish and why. Most of us don’t learn things just for the sake of knowing them -- we need to have a reason. Is there a particular problem you’d like to solve with this knowledge? Would you like to improve your chances of finding a better job or make the jump to a new career? When you know what you want to learn and why, it will help you to stay focused on building your learning habits.

Break The Information Down Into Smaller Chunks

Have you ever “crammed” for a test or exam? If so, you probably found out that simply taking in a lot of information over a short period of time is not the best way to retain it. Instead, break the information down into bite-sized chunks that can be studied in a short amount of time -- perhaps even 5 or 15 minutes. This will help you stay focused on just one bit of information at a time and keep from being overwhelmed by too much information at once.

Study Frequently

Here’s where the “habit-forming” part comes in -- once you’ve got your study plan, you need to put time into it regularly. Taking just a few minutes each day to study will help you get into the habit of learning. And once the habit is formed, it will be much easier to keep making progress toward your goal. A daily reminder at a set time can help you to build your learning habit with a gentle reminder to get you started.

Review Past Material

To help retain what you’ve already learned, it’s good to spend part of your study time reviewing things you’ve already learned. Just a few minutes spent refreshing yourself on the past few lessons can boost your retention and help get you ready for the next bit of information. And when you see how each new piece of information builds on what you’ve learned previously, it will help the whole concept to become more clear in your mind.

Put It Into Practice

In addition to learning new things, you’ll also need to practice what you’ve learned. So take a few minutes at the end of your study period to get some hands-on practice using what you’ve just learned. This is a key part of habit-based learning that will help you to retain more information and learn new skills more quickly.


Once you’ve got your habit-based learning routine down, next comes the most important part: to keep doing it. Experts say it takes anywhere from two weeks to several months to form a new habit. So it’s important to focus on the process and continue learning until you’ve achieved your goal. Even if progress seems slow, just keep at it -- by spending time every day to review, learn, and practice, you’ll find yourself retaining more information and learning new things more quickly.

Habit-Forming Learning vs. Forced Learning by SoloLearn

How Habit-Forming Learning Can Help You Learn to Code

Habit-forming learning can be used anytime you need to learn something new. But learning how to program works especially well with the habit-forming learning process. What can appear to be an overwhelming concept can easily be broken down into smaller chunks and learned through the development of habit. 

A habit-forming learn-to-code course, such as those offered by SoloLearn, will take you from the basics of syntax, variables and control structures up through the more complex ideas of functions and object-oriented programming. Rather than memorizing everything about programming all at once, you’ll learn concepts in small, easy-to-digest chunks, with frequent reviews and exercises to make sure you’ve mastered a concept before moving on.

Also, having reminders and rewards can help you to make progress toward forming a learning habit. With gentle reminders, you’ll remember to set aside time to learn and practice. And having a reward system often helps people to visualize their progress more clearly. This can help you to build a stronger learning habit and reach your goals more quickly.

Another important factor in forming a good learning habit is how convenient you make it to accomplish your study goal. Think about this: if you use something every day, where do you put it? Deep in the back of your closet where it’s hard to find? No, you put it out in the open -- maybe on a dresser or countertop -- where it’s within easy reach when you need it. The same goes for your learning routine. Choose a learn-to-code course that makes it easy for you to take the time to study. With a well-designed mobile learning experience, you’ll be able to learn when and where it’s convenient for you. This can make all the difference in developing your learning habit. 

So if you’ve struggled with learning new things, don’t think that it’s a problem you can’t solve. You may just need to change the way you learn. When you turn learning into a regular habit, you’ll find that you can learn new skills more quickly than you ever thought possible. Start developing your coding habit with SoloLearn today.