The Learning Journey

January 7, 2016

I am a Learning Professional and my main job is to create a background for learning. I encourage learning and develop learning content that helps individuals in their learning journey. My purpose? To make learning journeys more interactive, more efficient and more fun.

The learning journey is an amazing experience and should be seen such because of 3 reasons:

  • It makes you “grow” – you become a knowledge gardener. Whatever you seed now, will grow your harvest tomorrow.

  • It makes you glow – yes, glow! People who are open to learning become smarter day by day and their presence is glowing and inspiring.

  • It makes you powerful – the greatest power of all lies inside the mind and with everything that we learn, we strengthen the mind, which results in strengthening our own power.

 

So, considering you want to have the greatest learning journey, why not try to adopt these 3 important rules:

 

1. Learn

This is the first and the most important one. You have to take initiative and just start from somewhere. You might want to learn a new language, a new instrument, learn that software you’ve been postponing for days etc. You feel overwhelmed thinking about the volume of hours you will need to spend to develop this skill. You also feel maybe intimidated by other who are already experts or seniors in the field. Am I right?

Let me tell you a fact: you can learn anything you want. You can! And it’s not just me telling you that. Take for example the research of Josh Kaufman (see his presentation at TEDx), which says that you need just 20 hours to learn a new skill.  In my opinion it’s sounds a bit of a stretch but I am sure let’s be reasonable, we can’t learn medicine for example in 20 hours.

Josh suggests that the most important things you should do to learn a new skill fast and easy are:

  • Deconstruct the skill. I also like to call it “eat the elephant in pieces”, which mean that you have break the skill into small chunks of information.  Or if you want, take the baby steps.

  • Learn enough to self-correct. Leveraging whatever resources you can (online courses, books, CDs, and so forth) to learn just enough to practice and correct. Learning becomes about doing and course correcting.

  • Remove barriers to distraction. Build the willpower that will keep you from getting distracted.

  • Practice for at least 20 hours. 

2. Remember

Are you the kind of person that never remembers people’s names for example? The problem is not you not remembering, the problem is you not trying enough to remember. Remembering it takes effort, it’s an active process.

The internet is booming of memory improvement techniques so do a little bit of research and see what works for you. One that I’ve personally used it called “the memory linking technique”. It’s a conscious exercise of associating key ideas or key words that you want to remember with something else that is familiar for you. Read more about it here.

 

3. Do 

What would be learning without practice? Maybe a waste of time somebody could say.

When I was still in school I dreamed about becoming a teacher. I knew I liked literature and languages. So I went to this high-school in my hometown (Targu Mures, Romania), where I studied Romanian, English, Spanish, French and Latin. Pure grammar and literature. I soon became very interested mostly in English and Spanish. So by the end of the 4 years of high school I already had advanced skills of both and could easily write essays and speak the language fluently.

 

It’s been 9 years since then. My English skills have improved a lot but my Spanish skills are now very basic. Maybe you find this story familiar to yours in some ways.

The point is that unless you practice what you learn, you will not get the most out of your learning journey. Start practicing! Do an activity repetitively and soon you will master it.

 

My advice for you is to make your learning journey enjoyable and to make it a lifelong habit. Be the learning gardener that takes care of his seeds and celebrates his harvest.

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© Liliana Cotoara 2016

Instructional Designer in Vancouver

liliana.cotoara@gmail.com