The only way to learn in public is to build in public
Our natural fear of being judged leads most people to build, learn, and think privately. But seeking validation should not be the goal of learning in public. Instead, the goal should be to tap into your network's collective intelligence to create constructive feedback loops.
Corollary: learning in public should be synonymous with building in public. Claiming “I learned this!” is meaningless. How do you measure your levels of “learning”? The only way to learn publicly is to work on a project you own, and to share your progress. Not “I learned this!” but “I built this!”
It also ensures you keep your levels of consumption and creation balanced.
Keeping a public log of what you build is an effective way to track your learning progress. In the future, you can go back to previous projects and measure the gap between your prior and current levels of skills.
An overused Reid Hoffman's quote captures some of the idea of learning in public: “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late.” In practice, it means sharing what you build often and early; not waiting until a project is polished to ask for feedback; proactively seeking help and suggestions from your peers.
“Learning in Public” is scary for many reasons – people can find and cling to outdated information and users are exposing their knowledge during a vulnerable time in the project (i.e. when they don’t yet have all the answers). However, during this part of the process is when learning can be most valuable. — via How Do Rocket Scientists Learn? (aka, knowledge management lessons learned at Goddard, NASA)