Learning 2.0

How to Learn Post Formal Education | By: Kristen Haldeman | October 8, 2019

“The world is a university and everyone in it is a teacher. Make sure when you wake up in the morning, you go to school.” ―T. D. Jakes, author and pastor

I remember discussing with my aunt about my decision to attend a fully funded graduate program. When I told her that I committed, one of the reasons I mentioned was that I didn’t feel like I was quite done learning. She laughed and said to me, “You never will stop learning little grasshopper.” To be honest, I’m not sure what the little grasshopper part had to do with anything, maybe it made the saying sound more poetic. The first part makes perfect sense. We never really do stop learning; or least we should never stop learning.

However important, even essential, learning is, it seems to Roger Dean Duncan that it can be just as hard. He says, “Continuous learning has become a mantra for everyone from college newbies to seasoned C-suite veterans. Trouble is, most of us are bad at learning. Supremely bad.”

Fortunately for us, author Bradley R. Staats constructed a list of values, a framework, by which to improve learning abilities. These values include 

  • “Valuing failure

  • Focusing on process, not outcome, and on questions, not answers

  • Making time for reflection

  • Learning to be true to yourself by playing to your strengths

  • Pairing specialization with variety

  • Treating others as learning partners.”

(More information can be found in his book, Never Stop Learning: Stay Relevant, Reinvent Yourself, and Thrive.)

Learning something new does not necessarily require a textbook, a spiral-ringed notebook, a set of number 2 pencils, and a desk too small to fit all those things. On the contrary, learning, real learning, comes in the application. For example, we can learn that “valuing failure” and “making time for reflection” are ways to become a better learner. We can learn the facts and pass the test. However, until we value failure and until we make time for reflection, we are stuck in the too-small-desk chair and not experiencing the fullness of practical information. 

Fortunately, the opportunity to apply knowledge is ever present. Daily, even hourly, we interact with coworkers, clients, and bosses who demand our practice of interpersonal skills, and we all have that person who provides us the opportunity to practice our patience. We never stop learning because we never stop applying knowledge that we have. Sometimes, we may apply knowledge incorrectly, or perhaps the wrong knowledge all together, but we still learn something from those experiences. 

What did you learn today?