August 13, 2015
The way we learn is fundamentally changing.
The traditional path of Highschool > University > 1 Job > Retirement, is no longer the rule in our fast moving, evolving professional world. It’s nearly a relic.
And honestly who really wants it? It limits growth, ignores personal learning styles and defers the responsibility of learning to teachers and superiors.
Wherever you are, the responsibility to learn and excel is on you. The institutions you are a part of are there to provide the best tools and environments to accomplish that.
Let’s talk about those tools.
3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Learning A New Skill
1. What Kind of Learner Am I?
Your education is about you. The best way to teach yourself something is to choose a method that you learn from best.
Are you a Visual Learner? Auditory Learner? Kinesthetic? Your tool should be presented in that manner.
There is a good chance you might not know. That’s okay, you figure it out pretty quick. Look at your hobbies. Are you engaged by audiobooks, but bored by reading? Podcasts in your field might be good step. Do you like fixing things around your home? Choosing a tool that challenges you by performing your skill might be your jam.
2. What Tools Did the Pros Use To Learn?
Professionals are huge nerds about their skills. They are spending the majority of their waking hours using them and spend even more time learning to be better at what they do.
Introduce yourself to them! Use LinkedIn, your personal network or sites like meetup.com to make contact. Chances are they will be happy to grab a coffee and share their story. They used to be in your shoes and learned a lot to get where they are.
Just be sure to offer to pay for the coffee! It’s just polite and makes it more likely that they will want to meet up again soon.
Prepare some questions to ask and be friendly, it will go well. They will love to point you to the right tools.
3. Where will you be doing most of your learning?
Real life responsibilities will still demand most of your time while you decide to learn a new skill. The time you get will be precious! Plan out time to learn, maybe it will be on your lunch break, or maybe it will be in your favourite café before you get home.
Chances are the place you learn will play a large part in the tools you choose.
Remember this is your education, how you do it is your choice. Look for options, many cities have workspaces with great wifi and other excited individuals. Other options are libraries and companies that use the skill you are learning (they might be willing to host you).
Personally, I spend most of time learning from home. The wifi is good and all the tools I use can be accessed from my desk. To remove distractions I moved it into a quiet corner of my home. Remember there are always options!
Taking Control of Your Skills is Empowering
It feels really great to learn something on your terms. You show yourself and anyone watching that you are type of person that takes charge and finds solutions. That’s something that everyone is looking for.