How to Become a Lifelong Learner 2022


Abraham Lincoln said,"I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday."This opens the premise that learning is a daily adventure that one carries and explores throughout life. Learning doesn't stop just because school does. People who are truly effective generally did not get that way by sitting still; they apply themselves to constant learning and competing against themselves to grow and learn day by day. Making a commitment to yourself to learn something new every day, you will not only enjoy what you discover, but you will be able to apply your knowledge and become a teacher to future generations.

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1Learn how you learn. Determine your own preferred learning style or styles. Note what learning techniques are most efficient for you and use them as much as is practical, such as viewing online tutorials on websites like YouTube if you're more of a visual learner.

Most people learn through multiple methods but favor one or two. Use your preferences to your advantage.

2Learn where your talents and interests lie. Try many different things so that you don't box yourself into believing you're only good at a few things. It's probable that you're good at many things, but you won't know until you've tried.

Be wary of past memories that tell you to stay away from certain things. This can soon inhibit you from trying a lot of new things if taken to an extreme. As you grow you develop more experience, coordination, responsiveness, and confidence that one experience can't teach, but you can apply to re-learning an old experience. For example, if you had a bad experience riding a horse when younger, not getting back on a horse when you're older and calmer might mean you miss out on a trek of a lifetime. Or, you might have hated certain sports, tastes or activities when younger because of your lack of experience, strength or maturity. All these things change as you mature, develop, and adjust to new environments. Be careful not to let past experiences like these cut off opportunities for you now.

3Look at learning as an exploration and opportunity, not a chore. Don't just force yourself to learn things because they're important or necessary. Instead, learn things that you need to learn alongside things you love to learn. Follow your heart, as well as your sense of duty. Do you remember the 8th grade history that you hated so much, with all those names and dates that seemed to mean nothing? The point was to bring you to learn details now that will knit chunks of information together later. It was a chore then, but it makes sense, now.

Even when you're learning the things you have to, such as on-the-job knowledge, seek to go beyond what you're being asked to learn. Look at the history, case studies, different applications, etc., to make your learning experience much more well-rounded.

4Learn the basics. It can be a grind at times, but you'll be able to remember, connect and figure out all kinds of complicated things through relatively few, simple building blocks if you learn some math and natural-science concepts. You can look up precise formulas and trivia again later, but the concepts will do the most good and save a lot of time in repeated look-ups if mostly learned by heart. Try some free OpenCourseWare, TED Talks or iTunes University for comprehensive presentations from famous professors and experts in their fields.

Mix learning the basics with more fun learning, like intellectual hobbies and games. Don't space them out so far that you forget what came before in a sequence; a half-class or class every day or two might be a good pace. Check into DIY U for a list of colleges and institutions that offer low cost or free courses.

If you find complex math very unintuitive in isolation, you can look it up as you learn things that use it. Without seeing the applications, it's hard to distinguish the concepts you need from the computational tricks most people don't.

Read books by people who experienced difficulties with the basics of math, science or other subjects but have still managed to find workarounds without giving up. Their ways of learning might help you to improve your own.

5Read, read, read. Make friends with your local library and new and used book sellers. Reading is a portal into other worlds and into the minds of your fellow human beings. Through reading you will never stop learning and being amazed by the incredible creativity, intelligence and yes, even banality, of the human species. Wise people read lots of books, all the time; it's as simple as that. And reading will help you to learn the discoveries and mistakes of others who have gone before you; reading is, in effect, a shortcut so that you don't have to learn things the hard way.

Read all sorts of books. Just because you're usually a mystery fan doesn't mean you shouldn't try nonfiction now and then. Don't limit yourself.

Recognize the educational value in whatever you read. Nonfiction, of course, teaches about its subject. Fiction, freed from that constraint, can teach more about good writing, storytelling, vocabulary, and human nature generally. Indeed, fiction will tell you a great deal about the mores, morals, thinking and habits of the time during which it was written, and it is also said that fiction readers are more empathetic than those who avoid it because it teaches us about interacting in the social world.

Newspapers, magazines, manuals, and comic books are all worth reading. As are websites, blogs, reviews and other online sources of information.

6Broaden your definition of learning. Take a look at the Theory of Multiple Intelligences if you don't know it yet. Consider how you might fit in, and where you can improve.

Refine your existing skills. Are you already good at fly fishing? Computers? Teaching? Playing saxophone? Hone these skills and take them to the next level.

Try new things, both inside and outside your preferred skill areas.

7Do things outside your vocation. As an adult, your experience may be your best teacher. Whether you work for pay or volunteer your time, focus on a project or tinker with whatever grabs your attention, try lots of things and notice the results. Apply the results to other things in your life, to expand the value of what you've learned. You never know when an opportune discovery might arise as a result of your observations and innovative approaches.

8Create. Not all learning comes from outside you. In fact, some of the most powerful learning happens when you are creating or formulating something for yourself. Creation, like intelligence, can be artistic or scientific; physical or intellectual; social or solitary. Try different media and methods and refine the ones you like the most.

9Observe. Look more closely at your world, and examine both the usual and the unusual. Also, look at the world from different levels. Chances are you already respond differently to the news of a friend than to the news of a country, for example.

Respond to what you observe, and notice and examine your own response.

Be mindful; if you find that it's difficult to observe things for long enough, consider meditating. This will help you to learn to see things you haven't noticed since you were a young child.

10Take classes, both formal and informal. No matter how dedicated an autodidact you are, some subjects are best learned with the aid of a teacher. Remember that a teacher may be found in a classroom, but also in an office, a neighbor's garage, a store, a restaurant, or a taxicab. The teacher may also be a mentor or a guide of some sort in your life, such as a life coach or counselor.

Several of the world's best universities provide videos and materials for their courses free over the Internet as the"Open CourseWare"project. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is an exceptional contributor, with hundreds of courses. You can also use iTunes University, which can be viewed via your computer or your portable electronic devices.

11Ask questions. Asking the right questions can be more important than having the answers. It can also turn just about anybody into a teacher. Be sure to listen closely and understand the response.

Sometimes a response is difficult to understand. Feel free to take notes, ask more questions and to break down the response into smaller components to try to make sense of it. Return to your preferred learning style––if something is easier drawn in pictures, then draw it out to help make better sense of it.

Keep a journal or notebook to record what you learn and what questions you still have. Questions can teach as much as, or more than, answers. A journal or notebook can also record your progress.

12Evaluate and reflect on what you learn. Does it make sense? Is it true? Who said so? How was it determined? Can it be verified? Is an argument or piece of advice logical, valuable, applicable?

Read How to develop critical thinking skills and How to improve critical thinking skills for more ideas on ways to evaluate what you're learning.

13Apply what you learn. This is the best way to test it and it will help you learn it more completely and retain it longer. It will also help you to discover flaws and strengths in your learning, which is how we progress the sum of human knowledge. Who knows what you may be about to discover, uncover or link together?

14Harness the power of play. Plenty of learning comes from the process of experimenting, tinkering, and just being silly. Take time to mess around and try new things without pressure.

15Teach others. Teaching is a wonderful way to learn a subject better and improve your own understanding of it. If you're not a teacher or tutor, you can write about your knowledge in a wiki, where you and other contributors will know you can return to see something even better, or forum, or simply volunteer an answer when somebody asks.

Joseph Joubert once said that"To teach is to learn twice."In teaching others how to learn things, you will find that you learn even more than the students. Not only will you need to have a good grasp of your materials, you will need to respond to the querying minds of your students and extend your understanding beyond what you have considered it to be up to the point of each question asked of you.