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The new year brings hope, and also determination to make this year better. Will learning be a part of that for you?

I recently wrote a blog post for the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) that has some great sources for lifelong learning. Since then I’ve been asking myself how successful I’ve been with my own learning. The difficulty with some subjects, such as writing and marketing, is that there’s always more to learn and so many different topics and methods.

Evelyn Arvey, one of my co-authors, explained her learning process as “Select a subject and throw myself into it until I have a good understanding of it, or some chosen area of it. This may involve books, videos, classes, etc., but mostly it is a matter of hundreds of hours of intense hands-on work.”

I took a less focused approach to learning in 2020. I watched Masterclass videos (mostly about writing) in the evening as the mood struck me, and read books about writing that my editor suggested (and one she wrote). I took tutorials for different software from time to time. I looked up technology and software techniques as I needed them. I read random blog posts and articles.

While I’ve learned some valuable things, I think I could do even better this year. With that in mind, I asked myself these questions:

1. How should I quantify my learning? By length of time? By results? Course completion?

2. What can I learn that will help me at work and that I will also enjoy doing?

3. Is it better to focus on a single goal or should I improve a variety of skills at the same time?

4. How in-depth should I learn a topic? Does it sometimes suffice to know what details exist for further research?

5. How can more/better learning become a habit that fits in with my busy life?

6. Learning can be theoretical or practical. What combination is right for me?

7. How will I keep motivated?

By pondering these, I’ve come up with a personal plan for 2021 that could work as long as I continue asking questions and evaluating what works and what doesn’t.

This could be a great year for learning.

What about you? What are your learning goals this year? Have you got any advice to share?

I really hope that you found this post valuable. If so, please email it to your friends or share it on social media. I’d be so grateful. Thank you!

We Grew Tales, a collaboration of speculative fiction, humorous, and literary tales is available for purchase.

4 thoughts

  1. Excellent essay. The part about learning best from a variety of books, videos, lectures, and conversations struck me as interesting. I’m glad to hear from an educator about it!

  2. :How do you know when you have learned enough about a subject? Or that the breadth is correct?

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