"The ability to learn is the most significant activity of man”
Learning isn’t a new word to most people. It is a word we use every day because learning happens every time. First, let’s discuss learning before we talk about self-learning and the act of self-learning efficiently.
Learning is discovering something new, it could be something you have little or no knowledge about.
According to Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, learning is gaining new, or changing existing, knowledge, behaviours, skills, values, or preferences. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals, and some machines; there is also evidence for some kind of learning in certain plants. This I believe is quite a clear and concise definition of what learning is.
Thorndike identified the most characteristic form of learning of both lower animals and man as trial and error learning. It defines a trial as the time, many errors involved in a single reaching of the goal.
Self-learning is learning on your own. Discovering new skills, behaviours, knowledge and preferences all on your own with or without a guide or mentor.
Some people can learn on their own without even needing a mentor or someone to guide them. But most times if you are learning and you have someone that serves as a guide, it makes the learning process easier because the mentor must have gone through the same process.
Malcolm Knowles, defined self-learning as: “a process by which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, planning learning goals, identifying human and material resources for learning, and testing learning outcomes”.
The act of self-learning efficiently and progressively
Learning on your own doesn’t mean you will be productive, it doesn’t mean the process will be efficient and progressive. But how can you make it efficient and progressive? Now that is the question.
To learn efficiently and progressively, you need to have the beginner’s mindset. But what does beginner’s mindset means?
A beginner’s mindset is having an attitude of an absolute beginner no matter how much you already know or how expert you already are on a subject with a sense of curiosity and enthusiasm, and with a wholesome view. Beginner’s mindset known as “Shoshin”, a term from Zen Buddhism.
Having a beginner’s mindset is essential for fascinating reasons. When you are examining at things with the mindset of a novice, then you can gain more than if you are envisioning in the “I already know this” mindset. You will get to gain and learn more with the mindset of a newbie than the mindset of someone with experience.
For you to become an expert at what you do, you must relearn and revise what you think you already know about whatever it is you do. Keep learning, continually learning with an open mind, and you must set up your mind to accept new ideas and perspectives.
You must be motivated to learn more and open to improvements and emendations, instead of being right all the time. The mindset of a newbie already accepts these facts.
You are more open to opportunities and possibilities than if you think you know the result or have opinions about what will occur. It helps you to see things as they are instead of as you think they are.
For you to be efficient and progressive, stick to the act of practising as you learn. No matter how much you know, if you don’t practice what you have learnt, nothing will work out as you will expect.
Practise, as you learn. Whether you are taking an online course, watching YouTube videos or reading a book, practise as you learn to ensure you know whatever it is you have learnt.
Look for ideas on the internet, you can think through the things you do daily, ideas around how to improve your community and immediate community. Try as much as you can to implement these ideas with whatever it is you are learning.
Implement ideas you have worked on previously with the new skills you have gained.
Whatever you set out to do in life, for you to master it, for you to be proficient, you must be consistent. Consistency is key. But what is consistency, and how can you be consistent whenever you are learning? That is the question.
Simple definition of consistency is the quality of always performing similarly. For you to reach the peak of consistency, you must learn and practise every day.
It is difficult to be consistent if you don’t have a good schedule. If you learn and practise when you feel like, it is fine as long as you practise every day.
Good schedule can help you focus on your other engagements. Your schedule should include when to learn, when to practise and when to learn more.
In conclusion: With a newbie’s mindset, constant practising and consistency, your learning process will be efficient and progressive.