Most of us learn by doing or we just do things without ever learning. The workplace is full of people saying and doing things that they don't really understand. Now I'm not hating on these folks, but I can usually recognize when someone is talking about or doing something they don't quite comprehend. Mostly because they are unable to answer the most basic question, "why are we doing this?" They know the "how" but not the "why" of what they are doing.
Like I said, I'm not mad at them. I know the feeling of doing something without fully understanding it. It's a feeling that nearly every benefits professional experiences at least once. You see, we are often asked to do things with little or no instruction beforehand. Our boss can't help because he doesn't know how to do it or doesn't want to take the time to teach us; and the person who did it last is either gone or not interested in helping.
So how do you learn and not just do technical work with little or no assistance. You check out what was done before, copy it, and study it. Copy before study? Yes. Sometimes you just need to do the task and worry about understanding it later. But if you do have time to study before copying, by all means do that.
Case Study: Filing Form 5500 for Health & Welfare and Retirement Plans