How to Teach Yourself Through Teaching Others

How to Teach Yourself Through Teaching OthersA long time ago, I spotted an image on the vast expanse of the Internet that basically stated as a fact that if you really want to learn a topic, the best way to do so is to teach it to others. After giving this tons of thought, I realized that this was pretty spot on. Now, in the Internet age, there are plenty of ways to go about teaching others a new idea or skill. Which way works best for you in particular might differ from the best way for another, as is the truth for any sort of learning process.

Writing a blog post and discussing your ideas is one great way of teaching others, even if no one is really listening. It is a good method of organizing all of your thoughts, outlining what you do know, and where your knowledge is lacking. When you do spot a hole, you can do some research and add additional information prior to publishing the post.

I know that when I’m writing a Linux or Android article and explaining how to do something or how a particular mechanic works, I often find myself searching the Internet to reinforce what I’m saying or to clarify a particular issue for myself. That way, I have a better understanding of the concepts at hand, which means my readers should, too (assuming I can articulate these concepts easily).

If you have much (read: tons) more to say, perhaps you might even consider writing a book or e-book on the topic. You can get your name out there as a published author as well as possibly make a bit of pocket change on the side. Plus, who knows? Perhaps your writing on how to properly cook a burger might make it to the top of a bestseller list, securing you financially for quite some time.

If you’re more extroverted, you might consider uploading a video or recording a podcast. Video tutorials are popular resources for people who want to learn a new skill, particularly when that skill is done on a computer (video editing, programming, etc.). Podcasts, on the other hand, are more in a similar vein to blog posts in that you can simply use them to get what you need to say said — hopefully in a fashion that both you and your listener can understand.

Speak your mind at a conference or even a small gathering. Presenting a topic in front of a crowd forces you to know what you’re talking about beforehand, or else you end up looking like a fool (take it from me, heh).

Actually, even if you’re not presenting personally, take some time to prepare some slides on a site such as Speaker Deck. Whether you’re presenting those slides or not, being hands on and filling them with information is still a great way to get your brain to force information to stick.

Make money doing it. All of the methods I mentioned above have the potential to be monetized. Advertisements on your blog, your YouTube videos, or inserted in your podcasts can generate revenue over time if you’re diligent and produce quality content. You might also opt to offer your services under some sort of subscription model, where people can pay you a monthly fee to have access to your articles, videos, podcasts, etc. Finally, you might even find a job where one of your tasks is to teach ideas and skills to other people. For example, the speakers at Google I/O are actual Google engineers who are getting up to do the talking and the teaching, which is quite a leap from the traditional desk work to which many people might isolate such a career.

With that said, I’m sure most people who read this have at least one thing they can teach the world. Choose the medium that would fit that idea the best and run with it. It’ll pay off for everyone in the end.

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