It’s that time in my life where school is suddenly in the picture, via a certain 4-year-old I know 🙂 One thing I’ve already noticed is how ready a child can be for a new challenge. A challenge that is big, worrying, exciting, almost too much to get your head around – yet, at the same time, exactly what you needed without realizing just how ready you were to take on something completely new.
Whenever you are learning something new, there’s nothing more important than the feedback loop – you need to know how you’re doing at your task. This helps you improve your learning process to bring that moment nearer when you’ll be able to say “Yes! Now I can do this.”
Education matters to me. Not least because I spent about 20 years at a school of some description. And learning new things is my favorite passtime, especially at work 😉
What will education look like in the future? What will that mean for teachers? And how will the pupils fare under the new educational practice?
Education by specialists: the temporary teacher
If there’s one thing in my career I’ve regretted it’s not pouring some strategy into my learning processes sooner.
Here’s the thing: I was a fast learning kid. No plodding for me. Sounds great, right?Wrong. The one thing you need to consider – I’m now looking at it as a parent – is that if your kid is (or if you are) very fast on the uptake, part of all that learning capacity should go into the strategy of learning. Don’t wait till your kid is 16 years old.
Questions for your learning strategy
Starting small, explore questions like these:
- What is learning?
- How can you learn something new?
- What different methods of learning are there?
- What works for learning different topics?
- How can you tell how you should go about a new task or a new subject? It’s ‘meta’ time 🙂
Most importantly, you need to take the whole concept of learning to a level where the task in hand no longer matters. Only when knowing how to perform a specific task is no longer enough does your need to know #5 become apparent.
How can being a fast learner spoil your learning?
That’s easy. My default learning strategy was: “You read it. You read it again. You’re ready.” Sophisticated stuff, I know. It worked for me most of the time.
Oddly enough, it didn’t work with maths after a certain point. Of course now I know that I was trying to memorize everything without understanding any of it.
There’s nothing like a crisis to revise your learning strategy
When did I finally revise my learning ‘strategy’? After I failed big time in my first year at university. I had four exams and failed two. How did that happen? Actually this is a bit embarrassing in retrospect. I failed because I couldn’t read and memorize everything in that foot-high pile of … well, stuff about art 😉
This was an eye-opener. I had skipped maths before my grades reached embarrassing levels. Getting really poor grades for the first time in your life makes it painfully clear you’re doing something fundamentally wrong. It is, as they say, a great learning opportunity. Yay!
It worked. I learned.
How does a learning strategy help you in your career?
Whenever you’re faced with a new task, new job, new career, you’ll find yourself having to figure out what will work best in that particular situation. Doing what you always did will lead to good results in some cases, or it will leave you in a smelly bog wondering what went wrong.
Bringing a strategic approach to your tasks means you will do things like:
- come up with a rough guide or plan for a new task,
- consciously opt for a general direction that’s most likely to get results,
- finetune your actions as you go along.
Take a learning approach to your career – starting today.
- Thomas L. Friedman, Need a job? Invent it. The New York Times, March 30, 2013.
- Plus I wrote about learning and quick-and-dirty career plans.
- For the practical side: a couple of tips for LinkedIn. Or check out my “Social media” category.
How do you approach new tasks? Add your thoughts about learning, plodding, career, and school issues in a comment. I will, as always, reply to anything non-spammy 😉