The “Ultralearning” strategy of learning

The “Ultralearning” strategy of learning

by The Content Team
on July 13, 2021
  • Have you ever wondered about the disconnect between all the concepts you learned during your formal education and how many of those you apply in your daily life? 
  • Have you ever felt the need to accelerate your learning of a skill or preparing for an exam based on your pace and timelines versus the speed at which you (and the entire class) is taught by the teacher?
  • With the advancements in EdTech solutions by companies like Coursera, Khan Academy, et al, and availability of online content, have you thought of adding a skill in order to advance your career?  

I’m sure these questions would have come up in the minds of majority of you at some stage of your life. In this blog, I will be explaining about the Ultralearning strategy for acquiring skills and knowledge.  Scott Young, an author and a blogger, wrote about this learning strategy in his book titled “Ultralearning” in 2019. 

What is Ultralearning? 

Ultralearning is a self-directed and focused learning strategy to acquire skills and knowledge. In this strategy, the person makes a decision on what to learn, what not to learn, and how to do it. Then the person undertakes a focused and dedicated approach towards meeting the objective by pushing the limits and compressing the learning into the shortest feasible time. Ultralearning is a hard and aggressive strategy as the learning approach is very demanding and requires self-motivation, as compared to the traditional learning approaches. 

In the traditional way of learning where a teacher leads a class with a one-size-fits-all syllabus, the concepts that are taught are not useful to each student. As I have been writing in my blogs, that education should be learner-centric rather than teacher-centric. This traditional approach of learning results in students not being interested in what they are being taught, but they study and memorize to pass the exams. 

Contrary to the traditional way of learning, this problem is not present in the Ultralearning approach. This is because students take control of the topic by gathering information from multiple teachers by carrying out thorough research, and creating their own learning path with strict adherence to timelines.  In the section below, I will be providing a few success stories that have used the Ultralearning approach. 

Success stories of the Ultralearning strategy 

In the book “Ultralearning”, Scott Young gave examples of how he carried out two successful year-long experiments in learning using the Ultralearning strategy. In his first experiment, he attempted to learn MIT’s 4-year computer science curriculum without enrolling for the course in twelve months. He successfully completed the learning with evaluating himself by passing the final exams and completing the programming projects.

In Scott’s second experiment, he and his friend wanted to learn Spanish. Instead of enrolling in a Spanish course, they flew from America to Spain in 2013 with constraints that they will not speak in English for three months including no phone calls to friends in English either. Initially they struggled, but with no other option and self-motivation, they were able to make conversations in Spanish in a short span of three months. After Spanish, both of them learned three new languages (Portuguese, Mandarin and Korean) by travelling to Brazil, China and Korea over the next nine months. 

Other examples of people successfully applying Ultralearning strategy are – 

Examination Online’s successful project

We at Examination Online worked with mySATadvisor to build a unique comprehensive online practice and analytics testing platform to help students perform better and score higher on the SAT exam. Given the learning objective of scoring higher on the exam, we developed our customized solution with setting up a target score initially for each student, and then carrying out study planning with the help of flash cards, assignments and mock tests. We also developed advanced reporting tools to identify patterns and areas of improvement for students across various topics.

Bottom line is that the Ultralearning strategy can be a great learning approach in the current times where information is available in plenty that allows learners to pace themselves according to their schedules and objectives in mind. These objectives could be learning new hobbies or interests or upskilling for better career opportunities and growth. 

Anand Damani

CEO, Examination Online

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