The Lifelong Learner :: Do what you can, with what you have, where you are -Roosevelt ::

Posts Tagged 'Learning'

Learning Less… But More! February 1st, 2012
Are you a lifelong learner? December 31st, 2009
Learning Better December 28th, 2009
15 Steps to Cultivate Lifelong Learning August 2nd, 2007

Learning Less… But More!

Am I really an effective learner?

Just so we’re clear and in context, that’s one of my goals.

I want to learn to remember. And the only way I know how to do that is if I do something with that information.

But what?

I can write about it. That’s #1. I should, as being an active blogger is one of my goals as well.

I should read more than one reference on the subject. That’s #2. Reading mutliple books, articles on the subject makes the knowledge deeper.

And finally, to seal the deal, I should apply the knowledge. That’s #3. If it’s related to programming, my profession, I should write a sample program. Applying knowledge is not always easy, and might actually consume the most time. But without it, I feel, I’m not going to put the knowledge into my long-term memory. And depends on the scope and compexity, I might have to apply it multiple times.

So to answer the question, I am slowly transitioning to being an effective learner. I used to learn a lot by reading. But that’s shallow knowledge and I easily forgot. Now I’m trying to make the learning deeper… learning less, but more!

Are you a lifelong learner?

I consider myself a lifelong learner. Hint: I named my blog The Lifelong Learner. :-)

But isn’t everyone a lifelong learner?

Don’t think so.

Here’s a test. Read the statements below. It’s a general summary of what a lifelong learner does. It’s not complete, but it should give you “yes, that’s what I do” or “that’s not me” answer.

…lifelong learning is different. It’s self-initiated and self-directed. A lifelong learner doesn’t need someone to tell him that knowledge is power. He doesn’t need someone to remind him that he needs to expose himself to useful and relevant information regularly. Because he knows that there’s no someone to do that. It has to all come from himself.

So someone who’s into lifelong learning actively seeks out every possible avenue that can satisfy his (or her) thirst for knowledge, even if that means paying out of his own pocket. He sees learning materials and training sessions as investments on himself. He understands that in this uncertain global market, investment in oneself is the safest and highest-yielding investment instruments available.

It’s all about the attitude. Sure, all of us are learning all the time. But are you actively looking to learn? Are you putting a lot of effort into it, or does it “just happen?” I think that’s the difference.

It’s easy to be a lifelong learner: have an open mind and be hungry for knowledge.

You think you can do that for the rest of your life? Easy! I thought so!

Reference
Lifelong Learning: Is Your Knowledge Library Shrinking in Size?
, the conscious life blog

Learning Better

I am beginning to evaluate the way I learn. I am trying to make changes so that the time that I put into learning/reading is more valuable.
It’s probably going to slow me down, but in the end, I will learn more and become more knowledgeable and productive.

What is it?

Do more with less! Yes, I think this is the key for me. I am doing too many things. I read to much. I have too many magazines. But the end
result is that I don’t learn enough. Yes, sounds bad. But that’s really how it is.

Why so?

Because I don’t learn on a level that I can remember. When I read an article for example. Is there anything that I take out of it? What do I mean? Do I extract information that I will actually remember?

Most of the time, I have to say it’s a no!

This is not easy. Not going to be easy.

I know.

But there are ways that I can implement that will allow me to learn more.

How?

I wish I knew.

But I think I know a way. I will try it. If I can share the information that I read/gather, then this will help me remember it. It will help me digest
it in another way. It will make me learn it in a more meaningful way.  Whether it’s twitter, my blog, a wiki page, anything. The point is to extract information that will go into my “long term” memory. Only then I will remember it.

So here it is. One of my goals for this year is to alter my learning. Change it so I focus more on the things that I learn. And that I really learn.

Reading is a lot of fun, but it could be even more fun when I can use it in a way that can help me. What am I going to do with all the knowledge I acquire? :-) A good problem to have.

15 Steps to Cultivate Lifelong Learning

An excellent guide to follow in your Lifelong Learning quest.

1) Always have a book.It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time. Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

2) Keep a “To-Learn” List

We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study. Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

3) Get More Intellectual Friends

Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart. But people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you. Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

4) Guided Thinking

Albert Einstein once said, “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.” Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

5) Put it Into Practice

Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush. If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

6) Teach Others

You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning. Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

7) Clean Your Input

Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance. I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming. Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

8 ) Learn in Groups

Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills. Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

9) Unlearn Assumptions

You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas. Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

10) Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does. Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

11) Start a Project

Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging. If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

12) Follow Your Intuition

Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind. Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

13) The Morning Fifteen

Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education. If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

14) Reap the Rewards

Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

15) Make it a Priority

Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

Reference

15 Steps to Cultivate Lifelong Learning – lifehack.org – authored by Scott H. Young

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