Although our education shouldn’t stop after we graduate from college or complete a training program, it’s sometimes hard to carry on the routine of constantly learning new things. Some of us are naturally curious and have no trouble searching out new sources of knowledge; however, others of us face busy schedules, might lack the right resources, and sometimes feel just too busy to keep learning. But that doesn’t mean we can’t change our routine! Those of us who do struggle to continue furthering our education could benefit from a few tips to keep our self-education on track. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t try to improve ourselves, our careers, and our knowledge.
One thing individual self-educators lack is a formal set of learning resources, the kind you might find at a university or training center. Instead of already having these resources readily available, self-educators must build their own library, so to speak. Search out and bookmark websites that provide free educational and inspirational material, such as TED or Project Gutenberg. Some universities also make lectures available on YouTube. Many educational programs are available on internet radio. Also check out physical libraries and museums in your area; be sure to visit these often, especially when new exhibits come to town.
Create Learning Goals
Teachers at all levels begin each semester, week, and day with a set of learning objectives to keep the class on track. Because you are your own teacher, you’ll want to think up your personal learning objectives. Create a semester of study for yourself. Maybe in three months, you’ll try to have a basic familiarity with a new language? Or perhaps your goal will be to have read an author’s major works of literature? Regardless of your interests, having a goal to aim for will help keep you learning.
Reflect on your Learning
As you study on your own, you may not have access to other students to help you. Instead, you might want to consider writing in a journal or learning log. By reflecting on your learning experience, you’ll be able to work through concepts you might initially not understand. Through reflection, you can try to reexamine things you’ve read, listened to, or experienced, all from a new perspective. Reflection as a learning tool is an important practice. Think of your self-reflection process as similar to how astronauts often debrief after an important mission.
Find a Partner
Finally, try to find a learning partner, someone with whom you can discuss what you’ve learned. Working together with a partner can often help you discover something you hadn’t previously thought up on your own. In many ways, someone who shares your own interest in learning can be just the right inspiration to keep you on your path. This person can be a husband or wife, a co-worker, a family member, or a neighbor. As long as you both can check in with each other and talk about your progress, you’ll feel as though you’re not alone in your pursuit of knowledge.