If I was a kid today, I’d be hard pressed to keep up with technology. If nothing else, technology is moving so fast that it’s easy to be left behind. How can you help yourself, or your children, learn what they need and what is helpful for them? How do you nurture an independent learner?
We need to learn what we need to know to follow our passion
After we study for a while, we learn that we are better at some things than at others. We may be drawn to math, or writing, or art and get excited about one subject over another. Our mind may work in a way that enables us to learn one thing more easily than another. That’s why it’s a good idea to become an independent learner. You pick and choose what you need to know and figure out the best way to learn it.
We need to learn critical thinking
Critical thinking is when you explore something deeply enough to make an informed decision. The Oxford dictionary defines critical thinking as “The objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.” But I know that whatever conclusion we draw will be colored by who we are and what we’re capable of observing.
In critical thinking, you gather as much information as possible, you sift it through your own values and beliefs. You look at the facts. You weigh your options. You examine your needs and come up with a conclusion. Then you act. Or you don’t.
We need to learn what we don’t know
Until you explore the possibilities deeply enough, you cannot see all your choices. You need to at least have a glimpse of what you don’t know and decide what part of it is necessary to learn in order to move forward and what part can be left for another time.
We need a reality check
As an enthusiastic and independent learner, there comes a time when I get to look closely at what I’m doing to see if it’s creating the results I want. My example is self-publishing. I had great plans to get my books onto other platforms and on several services. There was a lot to learn in order to do that. My reality check was that I needed to determine the best use of my time – either by concentrating on writing or on learning the technical stuff to get my work up in a few more places.
My greatest value lies in my creativity. I get to trust that whoever needs to read my work will find it. It helps for me to know how to get my books on Amazon, but is there a better use for my time than figuring out how to get them onto other platforms? Should I start recording the audio version? Should it become a course? How will voice recognition improve my writing? Those are a lot of choices. How am I most impactful in service?
When I make that decision, I can make informed choices.
Learn what you want to learn
If it excites you, learn it. I recently discovered how much I enjoy Nova. I seem to have reached a certain point that it resonates with me. Now, instead of watching dramas that seem either too innocuous or too violent, I can learn about places and people and ideas that are new to me. I find that very exciting.
Whatever you want to learn, you can go on Google and find a course or a video or someone to take you through the basic steps. TED talks give me access to fascinating thinkers who express their passion well. I often join webinars and listen to podcasts that offer me a fresh perspective.
There’s no excuse for not learning what you’re drawn to. It’s very available. It’s up to you to apply yourself.
I enjoy painting, even though I wouldn’t consider myself a particularly good artist. A few years ago I took an oil-painting class, and although the result was a very bad version of Gauguin, I was excited that I had filled up a blank space with something from my mind.
I took a couple of art courses during my senior year in college. In composition I got a C, but in drawing I got an A+ because I had literally gone from stick figures to doing a decent three-minute sketch. That vast improvement was rewarded.
Explore what interests you – whether you’re any good at it or not. Just nurturing that aspect of yourself opens new possibilities.
Learn by teaching
A How to Write Magnetic Articles course I taught years ago greatly improved my own writing skills because I had to research and learn more and organize my thoughts in order to teach it to others.
As I’m on a personal quest to discover the meaning of concepts that intrigue me, writing about them to explain them to myself is how I’m eventually going to share them with others.
Keep learning. Share what you know. It will grow you.
Independent Learning is what you do for yourself
You don’t learn something to pass a test, or even to complete a task, you learn because something calls to you, you are compelled to explore whatever it is that fascinates you.
Are you an independent learner? What’s next on your agenda? How do you nurture your need to learn?
To Sing a Deeper Song consider:
How Do You Nurture “Different”
The Power of Your Personal Path
What to Do When You Are Between Teachers
The Art of Mastery
Fitting In Is Not What You Do To Be Extraordinary
27 – Why Have You Been Chose