Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tips for Lifelong Learning

Hi, I'm Jarrod!
Hi! I’m Jarrod, and I’m a Udacity Course Developer working on courses for the Georgia Tech Online Masters in Computer Science. 

I’m also a lifelong learner, and I’ve picked up some best practices as I’ve learned using online resources over the years. Here’s a repost from my blog on why and how to be a lifelong learner:

In today’s fast-paced industry, learning will most likely involve seeking new skills in ways that challenge the norm. But thankfully, there is promise for such lifelong learning online–a promise that will save you time and money while helping you earn more of both.

Provided you have access to a decent computer and the Internet, the barrier to getting started is probably lower than it ever has been. And with those things in place, it is a matter of finding the content you wish to learn. So, to help others who may be looking to maximize their own learning efforts, I have listed some quick tips:

Set Achievable Goals
  • When you start learning, it is a good idea to set goals about what you want to learn or what you might do with your newly acquired knowledge. It might be landing that new job, building a tangible product, or impressing your current management. The goals may vary in size and complexity, but do revisit these goals throughout your learning process. Within a couple weeks ask yourself, “Am I getting closer to my goal?” or “Am I learning the skills necessary to reach my goals?” If you are not, then you may need to look elsewhere.

Learn with Others
  • By yourself, learning anything has a high propensity to become frustrating. Try teaming up with friends or colleagues. They can often be your best resource for maintaining motivation while you learn.

Make it a Habit
  • Online habits often include scrolling through social media or watching videos on Youtube. If you have the downtime for such activities, then you could spend that downtime learning something. And why not learn something? If you do, then you will have plenty more to talk about on social media anyways. So, make learning your new online habit by making a commitment to learn something new each day.

Do Something with Your Knowledge
  • Learning can sometimes be coupled with rote memorization, boring lectures, or theories that feel as if they can never be applied. So, it is extremely important to align your learning with a product or activity. If you are learning about beer, try brewing your own batch. If you are learning a new language, then speak it with others. Remember to apply your learning whenever and wherever possible.

Go! Be Fearless!
  • Don’t wait. Seek out the things you want to learn right now. The information available online is always growing, so just make sure you are getting it from a good source. And, whatever you do, do not be afraid. I used to think I could never start my own business, but through online learning resources I gained the knowledge to start my own business. I used to think that building a mobile app might be beyond my skill set, and now I have built several. So do not give up on learning or think it is too late. Start today!