The Subtle Art of Self-Education
Did you know that 30 to 55% of courses you take in college or university are more than useless and won’t ever contribute to your career or life in any way? If you are both stoked and intrigued, please join the club and let us help you plan your education properly.
With the development of technology, it became much easier to access any knowledge base and learn new things. And, if you want to keep up with the market and be able to resist the AI invasion, you will have to educate yourself and create your self-directed learning template. But first things first, let’s set things straight and deal with the notion of self-education.
How do We Learn?
The vast majority of schools still keeps the problem-solution approach to an educational process. While this may still have worked a decade or two ago, now it is outdated. While many people believe the future is in project-based learning, I will not discuss this issue today, as it is not our main focus. Let’s have a look at what traditional approach has to suggest:
While this simple scheme was thought to be a model of education, it has nothing to do with the way we really learn:
This way we can find a better solution without having to fail. And while it may seem like a guessing game, it is a more realistic approach to a problem-solving experience.
There is nothing bad about the traditional educational system and we do not want you to quit college, however, you have to understand you will have to study a lot after you graduate if you want to keep up with any industry and be successful. It is particularly true for the fields that develop so quickly, you can hardly keep up the textbooks changing and upgrading. We are talking about software development, languages, project, and human resource management. It is even truer for the creative area of expertise, including web design and arts.
How to Self-study?
The first thing you have to do is to define the purpose of your learning and decide how much time you can devote to this learning on the weekly basis. You can find a timetable template to help you evaluate your time resources properly. How to prepare a learning plan? You can find a timetable template pdf you can print out and use to define how much time you actually have. Be honest with yourself about the amount of time you would be willing to devote to your learning.
Once you have made up your mind, you will have to define where and how to learn. Make sure to chose only those sources that match your self-education plan, as you have to take your learning speed and schedule into consideration.
Self-education Methods that Work
If you are looking for a good start, here are our top picks for the self-learning process that really works and will help you gain knowledge:
sandbox learning. Define the skill set you need to have, breaking it into the simple steps. Find a knowledge source and study the skill. Look for feedback and repeat until you achieve the desired result.
online courses. Nowadays online education is developed more than ever before, there is no need to apply for an online degree. Choose the skills you would kill to work on and find a narrow course to help you learn, or check the list later in this article.
personal internship. While being an apprentice, does not sound very exciting, it is one of the best ways to gain both practical competence and experience in fields that require actual physical skills. This includes cooking, photography or hand-drawing (btw, did you know that people who can draw can become 15-25% more successful as web designers than those who cannot?)
books, and self-guided research. While books are a well-known source of knowledge, there is one little thing that keeps bugging me. How can you learn something and be sure it’s not outdated? For example, most books on social media marketing that worked 3 to 5 years ago will be useless in 2018. The same principle applies to programming skills (while you still can study programming patterns and architecture from a textbook). Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we have to burn down all the libraries, however, you need to be careful even while learning a new language.
blogs and online resources. Despite the general mistrust of a blogosphere, you may find some gems in the dirt and learn some valuable skills from the blood all over the Internet. I once have stumbled upon a great blog about frugal leaving and flying under the radar, and while most of the things cannot be applied to a big-city-living, some of the recipes and household advice were amazing. You should also check blogs of some leaders of the industry you are interested in. Not only they have blogs but can also provide some training and learning material.
Implement and Practice
Once you begin learning something, try to practice it as much as possible (if it is applicable to your area of study). Try to speak if you are learning a new language, try out a new recipe if you are taking a cooking class or make some photos for your photography or art class. Implement any principles you have learned or try to simulate the situation where this knowledge can be used.
Do not forget you need some sort of feedback or evaluation to keep the track and understand where you are going. You may find a lot of free or low-cost services that provide online assessment for virtually any subject. You may seek some feedback in interest-oriented communities. Every self-learner will once face the criticism, so do not panic. No matter what you do and how you do it, there always will be some ready to mouth you down. If you are an artist willing to educate online, don’t let people drag you down the self-pity hole. Look for positive or consecutive feedback and keep up the good work.
This is pretty much everything you need to know about self-education in order to begin. Oh, almost forgot! Here are not one, but two PDF files to help you set your goals and keep track of your time.