There is a difference between education and learning. Joi Ito, entrepreneur and venture capitalist, said “Education is what people do to you and learning is what you do for yourself,” at TED2014 earlier this year. Well…I certainly agree with him. While several students might not be able to accept traditional education, but this is not the case for learning. I believe learning is a very personal experience which helps to inspire your mind, hone your skills and change your perspectives about the world.
Learning to be a Better You
Learning helps you to develop your thinking and yourself by challenging and expanding your knowledge. In my line of work I have met many students who were waiting to learn the right way from the right teacher. Here is the thing…learning does not happen. It is something you need to do through self-education.
In my experience the best way to learn and achieve your goals is by developing a strategy that allows you to go beyond the limitations of traditional education. You need to pursue education with a desire to learn and not with an intention to be taught.
Here are 6 simple yet effective tips that can help you to become a better thinker and learner-
Want To Learn
You may think that the desire to learn is very inherent, but let me tell you it’s not. You need to be very clear about what learning will do for your development. You need to be enthusiastic about exploring your interests and keen to find answers to your questions. Learning can happen only when you are willing to expand your understanding and acquire new knowledge.
Thus you need to be self-motivated instead of relying on your teacher. You should have the desire to learn and engage in topics which challenge and interest you. Waiting for the right method or the right teacher will not lead you anywhere. You can easily access learning materials through various platforms and tools, but you must find your desire to learn first.
Engage In Reading
I believe reading is one of the most effective ways to really grasp in a subject. Reading will help you to gather comprehensive knowledge about a particular topic and enable you to find meaning from what you learn. Reading allows me connect with the author and share his knowledge. It allows me to learn new information and find out how I can apply it in my life.
Attend Online Courses
There are a number of online learning platforms like edX, Khan Academy, Coursera, Udacity, Skillshare, TED, Creativelive, Udemy, 99U and others that offer various academic courses online, either for free or for a small tuition fee. You can easily access the educational content, which include video/audio lectures, presentation, reading materials and even learning communities, through your tablets or smartphones.
The truth is you need to improve your knowledge and skills in order to remain relevant in the competitive job market. These online courses help you achieve additional qualifications that help you to reshape your career. Schools and colleges are no doubt helpful…but they can’t teach you everything. So you need to take charge of your own learning. If you think that your college programme is not teaching you exactly what you want to learn then go for an online course.
Listen To What Experts Say
Listening to what experts have to say is a great way to acquire new and useful insights. If you go through interviews, video lectures and podcasts, you will get to learn a lot from their personal experiences. This acts as a private mentorship to some extent. It will also improve your listening skills and your attention span as you will have to gather helpful information from what the expert is saying.
By studying subjects that are challenging and not within your comfort zone, you involuntarily start learning new and useful insights that make you a better thinker. Going beyond your comfort zone will widen your understanding and help you to do your work better. This is truly a great way to exercise your mind as you will be able to learn new things from a topic that you were initially not even interested in.
Experiment, Evaluate and Share
Experimenting is an integral part of learning. You need find out if the subject helps you to work better and live smarter. You need to realise how the information changes your perspective regarding your business and the way you relate to people. The best way is to meet up with your colleagues and friends on a weekly basis and share your knowledge. By sharing what you have learned you can manage to discover new information that can be beneficial for you.
If you ask me, another great practice is to write whatever you have learnt. I am not talking about posting articles online; I am asking you to write whatever you have understood from your course. This will enable you to realise your understanding of the subject matter. When you review or edit your article, you will find many sections that are vague. So now you will know which particular areas you need to focus on and study further.
Speak with your fellow students and professors or you may also choose to attend an online course. When you have finally acquired your desired level of knowledge and have gained some expertise on the subject, make sure you share your knowledge with others.
I firmly believe that self-education is an excellent practice to follow in higher education and beyond. This habit will help you even in your workplace and throughout your career by allowing you to learn new skills and keeping your mind open.
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