Ten New Ways to Learn

Learning is all around us, but so often it’s not noticed.  When you’re learning and NOT REALIZING you’re learning, that’s really good.  Which of these are you doing? And what can you add to ensure that 2014 is the year to take a stand on continuing your learning.

1) Attend webinars, but participate in the chat.  I wrote last time how the chat is where it’s at – that’s the informal learning where people are sharing ideas, thoughts, articles, videos, all relevant to the subject.

2) Network with the idea of helping others learn.  My friend Shalom Klein recently blogged about 24 new ideas for networking.  His top one was network with the idea of helping others.  I’d like to take it one step further – network with the idea of helping others learn.   By doing so, you create a much stronger bond and connection between you, where you both learn.  

3) Learn from a new source.   It’s everywhere – online, in person, at the public library, chamber events, in MOOCs, even at the gas station as you fill up the pump. Find and try a new source for learning and see what new perspective it provides.

4) Teach something.  One of the best ways to learn is to teach it, because of both the preparation you have to do and the learning in teaching.  Again, go to one of those new sources above and see if there’s a skill or talent you can share.  English as a Second Language is in constant need, so if nothing else, do that.  I currently am mentoring a Chinese student at Notre Dame, and his goal is to improve his English, so we meet once a week to cook for one another and share conversation.  It can be that simple.

5) Mentor or Reverse Mentor someone. Mentoring is not coaching – it’s being there to show the ropes, help people learn from your experience.  Reverse mentoring?   That’s showing the old folks what’s new and how to communicate and use all the latest tools and techniques available online and in the palm of your hand. And remind me how the new remote works again?!  

6) Immerse Yourself.  Don’t just dip your toe in the water, jump in with gusto.  The best way to acquire new skills is to use them whether it’s a new language, new skill or technique. I jumped into teaching a tuba-euphonium ensemble last semester and learned as much from preparing for the students as they did from the rehearsals.

7) Take on a new role or assignment. We all know the value of volunteering,  And it’s comfortable to do the same thing with the same people. But by looking outside your comfort zone, you’ll end up meeting new people, learning from them, and gaining valuable experience. This happened to me as I joined a new board for my alma mater. 

8) Fresh eyes.  If you wear glasses or contacts, you need to update your prescription from time to time to be able to see clearly.  What are you doing to make sure you are using this better vision to learn more?   Ask yourself how a new perspective can allow you to see things differently.  This can turn a mundane task or activity around and bring in fresh insight to all you do. 

9) Word for the year.  My word is understanding.  Understanding myself better, my job, my family, my life.   What word can you choose, and where and how can you apply that to how you learn?   If i truly understand, what will be different?  Thanks Melissa for sharing this with me!  

10)  Get out of your box.  Each week I scan the Notre Dame events to see what’s going on in terms of lectures, discussions, activities and concerts.   I try to find something new to attend each week to ensure that I keep growing and learn from others.   Even if you’re not on a college campus, you can find these types of things in your community. Just to be sure to take time to attend them, or if you can’t, find events online that you can attend.  

See how each of these ten ways can shed a new light on learning for you! 



About hprager

Father, husband, brother and son. Delighted to be friends and mentor to so many wonderful people. Passionate about: leadership, learning and development, education, nature and the environment, youth, music, jazz, the tuba, Israeli dancing, networking and helping others, humor, laughter, swimming, hiking, the Cubs, Northwestern athletics, theater, musicals, concerts, traveling and making new friends wherever I go. Helping the world be a better place when I leave it.
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