As children we were encouraged to learn something new every day.
We did experiments at school, played different sports, took part in extracurricular activities, joined cultural organizations and were never afraid to try out something new.
But once you reach adulthood and often get sucked into the daily routine of a 9-5 job and all the other “adult” responsibilities, somehow learning new things is not a priority anymore.
But it shouldn't be like that. “Brain is like a muscle” and just like other muscles, you have to exercise the brain what you can do by learning new things 🧠
Among the many benefits of learning new things (exercising your brain, acquiring new skills, meeting like-minded people etc.), one of the biggest benefits of it all is that it builds your self-esteem.
Practice makes perfect, and when we see ourselves mastering new knowledge and skills, we build self-esteem and become more and more confident in our abilities.
THE CHALLENGE OF LEARNING NEW THINGS
One of the biggest challenges of learning new things is figuring out what learning style fits you the best. We are not all the same when it comes to how we process information, so we each have our own learning style that fits us best.
You might remember the time you were enrolled at school or university and how some students got straight A's while others struggled to get good grades and learn the material 🤯
This doesn't mean that some students are more “gifted” or smarter than others. It only shows that the school's traditional learning style worked better for some students, while it didn't really work for all of them.
The good thing is that as time goes you start to understand what kind of learning style works best for you.
Maybe you like to learn in a group/class setting, maybe you prefer a one-on-one session with a tutor, maybe you like to learn individually - at your own pace and uninterrupted by others.
WHAT'S MY LEARNING STYLE?
Think about this for a second - what would be your preferred way of learning something new? 🧐
When you think about this - you also need to think about the way you process information as well. Some people are visual learners, some prefer reading the material, taking notes, listening, etc.
The vast majority of people fit multiple learning styles to various degrees, so it is completely normal to mix it up depending on what exactly you're learning etc.
What is more - keep in mind that learning doesn't have to be hard! You can learn new things not only by enrolling in specific classes, but also by attending events, going to conferences, listening to podcasts and many more! Just have fun and learn along the way!
LET'S GET LEARNING!
So when you have decided upon what is that you want to learn (it can be anything from learning a new software, musical instrument, hobby, sport etc. to taking professional studies to expand your career expertise, learn more about a specific topic or yourself), it is time to choose the best way for learning.
We have summarized a list of different ways in how you can learn new things! Find one that works for you, your goals and give it a go!
ENROLL IN CLASSES/EDUCATIONAL FACILITY
Enrolling in classes dedicated to the subject of what you want to learn is one of the most traditional ways of learning new things.
Typically it will involve face-to-face classes in a group setting, video and presentation learning, group and/or individual work submissions and passing tests/exams to prove that you have learned the study material.
Usually you will be required to do some outside work and home assignments for practice and to cover more study material 📖
You will most probably need access to a computer, certain books and other resources/tools to successfully learn the material.
If you complete the studies successfully, you should also get a certificate/diploma as a proof of your knowledge & skills.
This study approach is a great choice if you prefer learning in groups and having a professional teacher that explains the material.
Although a lot depends on the particular teacher/professor - if they are great at what they do and love the subject themselves - your study experience should be awesome!
Enrolling in classes is also a great way to meet like-minded people (your study mates) who most likely will help you and support you throughout the study process. Some of them can even become your life long friends, hey!
In addition to that - never underestimate the power of networking! Maybe some of your study mates will open new doors and opportunities for you in the future 🤝
Having a private tutor in general is very similar to being enrolled in classes, only this time the face-to-face classes take place in an individual setting.
Because the tutor is focused on teaching just one individual student, the study process and methods can be tailored and adjusted to fit the student's preferred learning style.
This type of learning can also be considered more effective and efficient, however, bear in mind that having a private tutor won't come cheap 💸
With courses available in almost every subject, students are increasingly turning to online learning as a viable alternative to traditional study methods 💻
Apart from many higher eduactional instituations and top universities that offer online courses and study programs, specialised online education platforms like Udemy, Skillshare, Udacity, Coursera and many more offer a variety of courses on almost any subject you could think of.
The resources offered for learning online will depend on the institution where you take your online program, but in most cases online learning will include recorded lectures and video tutorials, which will serve as the base for your studies.
For those experiencing online education for the first time - some things will definitely take getting used to!
While online classes can fit into any kind of lifestyle and give you the convenience of studying at your own pace, they also require a much more self-motivated learning style than traditional classes.
In order to be a successful distance learner, you have to be self-disciplined and able to work well on your own. Planning your time and setting study milestones is just as important, as it might be tempting to give up online studies whenever you find yourself “stuck” at something you don't know if you fully understand.
Another popular source for online education is Youtube. Although here the educational content quality may be questionable and not always up-to-date (Youtube content is generated by users, thus, it is not in any way regulated or reviewed before going out), many people come to Youtube to find easy, free of charge tutorials in their areas of interest ▶️
Bootcamps are short term, intense training sessions designed to prepare their participants/students for real life practical challenges. Typically the term “bootcamp” is used when talking about the digital/tech industry in particular, where learning in-demand skills is a must if you want to keep up with the industry trends 👩🏼💻
The origin of the concept is in a method used by the American armed forces to train troops that relied on working at a high intensity to achieve the best performance in a short period period of time.
Bootcamps can last anywhere from a couple of days to a few months. Many of them tend to be full-time, thus, whether online or face-to-face, bootcamps require many hours and a high level of commitment due to their powerful practical workload.
There are two types of student profiles that choose bootcamps as an effective way of learning something new: those who already have technological training, either recent graduates or professionals who want to enhance their skills within the sector; and those who do not know much about it but want to turn their career in a slightly different direction.
Bootcamp success also relies on such key factors as relatively small group size, concentrated agenda & classes and most importantly - total immersion based on practice.
CONFERENCES / SEMINARS / WORKSHOPS
There are lots of different types of events that you might want to attend to expand your knowledge and gain new insights on a specific topic of interest. The most well known and common ones are conferences, seminars and workshops.
Conferences tend to be the largest events vs. smaller workshops and seminars. They can number anywhere between fifty attendees to thousands of attendees, and the largest may host even more visitors that that.
Due to the on-going spread of Covid-19, a lot of events have switched to taking place online. Although it might take away some aspects of attending an event in person - technological advancements and features can create an awesome event experience even if you don't need to leave your house!
Conferences usually have a more general theme with a focus on presentations and lectures, whereas a workshop is usually more specific and hands-on, so to speak.
Such events are great if you want to learn more about a topic/industry you are passionate about, want to learn from experienced professionals and meet other like-minded people.
A lot of people use conferences for networking purposes - finding new business partners, service providers, etc.
They can also be a great source for inspiration and motivation - hearing successful people talk about their experience maybe just what you need to take the next step in your own journey 💫
Each book that you read is an opportunity to learn something new 📚
You can expand your vocabulary, exercise your brain, gain new knowledge and information, increase wellness, lower stress, and discover something new about yourself along the way.
Books can be expensive, so having a local library membership can be a good alternative way to get access to the books you want to read.
Electronic format books are also considered a cheaper (and more environmentally friendlier) option, but you might need to invest in a Kindle or similar device to make reading electronically more convenient.
Learning apps use modern mobile technologies, gamification, psychology, and best teaching practices to make learning easy and engaging. Many schools already use mobile apps, especially for tablets that can be used during classes, to make learning more interesting 📲
There are over 200,000 different apps for education on the App Store. Some of the most popular learning apps are used for learning languages, mathematics, training your memory, reaction, etc.
Educational apps became popular first of all because of their mobility.
People don’t have time to attend classes sit in front of books, but they still need knowledge. With mobile devices and educational software, it’s possible to learn anytime you want.
Educational apps also tend to be highly engaging and use proven learning strategies to progress as you go.
Learning applications can help you gain new skills, provide you with instructions, or even guide you through the whole learning path from a complete beginner to an advanced expert.
Are you ready to try it out?
Podcasts and audiobooks have become the new medium for information 🎧
Audiobooks are voice recordings of the text of a book that you listen to rather than read. Audiobooks can be exact word-for-word versions of books or abridged versions.
A podcast series usually features one or more recurring hosts engaged in a discussion about a particular topic or current event.
Discussion and content within a podcast can range from carefully scripted to completely improvised. You can find podcasts on literally every topic imaginable. From technology, culture, science, politics to cooking, celebrities, comedy and so on.
Available as digital audio files, audiobooks and podcasts can be played on a wide variety of consumer electronic devices, including phones, tablets, computers, in-car entertainment system or any device that supports streaming audio 🔈
The great thing about audio format is that you can combine listening with other type of activities at the same time. Have a long drive ahead of you? Why not listen to an audiobook as you drive? Going for a workout? Why not listen to a podcast? Cleaning your house? Listen to that new book you have been wanting to read while doing it!
In our modern day World, time is the most valuable resource we have. Use it wisely, use it consciously and constantly think about ways to be better than what you were yesterday! 💯
New knowledge and experiences are what make us grow, motivate us and inspire us. There are so many interesting things to learn in this lifetime! Don't forget that and never stop learning!
All images from Unsplash