Imagine learning French all through high school, then not being able to hold a simple conversation when you take a trip to Paris. It’s a common situation, and it all comes about through a failure to transfer. Transfer is the process of learning something in one context (like a French class), then transferring it to another (like Paris). Despite its importance, formal education often fails to optimize transfer. The problem with formal education is that it sets up an indirect path between the learning context and the target environment – the context in which learned skills and knowledge are actually applied. Rote learning French vocabulary in a high school classroom is a far cry from asking the nearest Parisian how to get to the metro station. Ultralearners know to keep the path between their learning environment and their target environment as direct as possible. By doing this, they cultivate a quality of ultralearning called directness. How do you practice directness in learning? The most direct way to learn something is to do it. The most effective way to learn a language is to speak it. The most effective way to learn coding is to write code. This learning-by-doing approach is called project-based learning. It situates the skill you’re learning directly in your target environment – no transfer necessary! One of the most extreme but effective modes of project-based learning is immersive learning: total immersion in the target environment. A student of French who decides to spend three months in Paris is deploying an immersive learning approach. Of course, not everyone has time for immersive learning. Moreover, some skills don’t lend themselves to this approach. There’s a reason that trainee pilots don’t immerse themselves by flying Boeings on their first day of training. Instead, they learn in flight simulators. If immersive learning isn’t within your reach, use the flight simulator method by replicating the conditions and pressures of your target environment as closely as possible. If you can’t spend three months in France, for example, try a Skype tutorial with a French speaker. Whatever you’re learning, establish a direct path between your learning context and your target environment. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to drill down and perfect your technique, which we’ll look at in the next readim.