Advertising
Advertising

When You Never Stop Learning, These 5 Amazing Things Happen

When You Never Stop Learning, These 5 Amazing Things Happen

Imagine if what you’ve been told about learning is a myth.

For example, many people believe that learning ends when you leave college, or that you need to have a high IQ to be able to learn easily. And it’s also a common belief that only young people can learn new things.

Now, not only are all these beliefs completely wrong — but they’re also incredibly harmful to people who buy into them.

The truth is that the ability to learn is available to everyone, including yourself. You just need to find the desire, motivation and purpose to get the ‘learning habit’.

That’s what this article is all about.

I’m going to show you the incredible benefits of lifelong learning. And I’m going to inspire you to start traveling down this glorious road so you can transform your life.

Ready to get started?

Then read on as I reveal five amazing things that will happen when you never stop learning.

Advertising

1. You Have a Sharper Mind

Continuous learning helps to keep your mind fresh and your memory sharp.

In fact, research has shown that learning in general has beneficial effects on the brain, including lessening your risk of dementia.[1]

To give you an example of this in action, let me tell you about one of my life coaching clients.

He initially came to me as he felt like he had lost his way in life (he was in his mid-40s at the time). Upon speaking with him, it became obvious to me that not only was he directionless, but he also lacked the spark of life. You know what I mean, that drive and energy that you get once you’re excited about something.

During the course of several one-to-one sessions with him, I was able to help him find out what he wanted to do in his life, and I also instilled in him the power of continuous learning. I did this by asking him to learn at least one new thing a day.

After doing this for a month, he called me up to say that he was feeling enthusiastic about life again. He’d fallen in love with being curious about things and was learning new stuff everyday. He also told me that his mind and memory had never been sharper.

2. Your Confidence Is Boosted

If — like the person I mentioned above — you feel you’ve lost your way in life, then I’m guessing that your confidence has taken a knock too.

This is where learning new things and taking on new challenges can really help.

Advertising

For example, imagine that you made the decision today to learn how to rock climb (even though you’re afraid of heights!).

You might initially read a book on the topic, or watch a few videos on YouTube. After that, you’d probably want to enroll in a professional rock climbing group. That way, you could learn to gradually overcome your fear of heights, while at the same time learning the essential techniques of rock climbing.

Within a few weeks, you could be climbing to new heights!

3. Your Interpersonal Skills Are Improved

When you become an active learner, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll widen your social circle and improve your interpersonal skills.

Let’s say you decided to learn how to play chess…

At first, you might learn the rules and some of the basic moves by playing against a computerized opponent. But keep doing this often enough, and eventually you’ll want to test out your skills against a human opponent. This might be a friend, family member or colleague. But whoever it is, your mental battle with them will mean that you share a common experience. One that you’re sure to talk about often.

And if chess eventually becomes a favorite hobby of yours, you might well join a local chess club. This would allow you to meet lots of new people — all who love the game as much as you.

This type of learning can extend your social circle, attract new friends, and enhance your relationships.

Advertising

4. You Adapt Change a Lot Better

Greek philosopher Heraclitus revealed a timeless truth: “Change is the only constant in life.”

I’m sure you’ve experienced this in your life. However hard you try to avoid change; there’s no holding this force back.

Once you know this, though, then the secret to success is to be able to adapt to the changes that come your way.

Learning can definitely help you do this. That’s because through the learning process (say learning how to drive a car), you develop skills such as persistence, understanding and resilience. All key skills that can help you deal with any changes in your life that you’re forced to encounter.

Learners are strivers. And strivers know how to turn challenges into opportunities, and adversities into blessings.

5. You Open Up New Career Opportunities

If you want to climb the career ladder or start your own business, then it’s vital that you’re constantly learning.

But not just random stuff.

To be effective, your learning should be primarily focused on your career goals.

Advertising

For instance, if you wanted to set yourself up as a freelance business consultant, then I’d recommend that you did your research first:

  • Who are your likely customers?
  • What can you offer them?
  • How much should you charge them?
  • Can you secure enough work to pay your bills?

To find these answers, you probably need to read books and watch videos related to business consulting. But you’d also want to speak to likely customers, to see if and how you could be of help to them. These customers would also be able to give you an idea of how much they would be willing to pay for your services.

If you decided to go ahead with pursuing this career, then the above research will be a good start. But you should keep learning how to improve your skills (including communication and marketing skills), and you should also seek feedback from all your clients — as this will be sure to reveal your strengths and weaknesses.

When it comes to your career, the bottom line is this:

By continually learning relevant, new information, you’ll keep yourself ahead of your competitors. And you’ll also keep yourself in demand from your clients.

Final Thoughts

So, as you can hopefully see from the above, a commitment to lifelong learning will turbocharge your health, happiness and success. And of course, there are more benefits to learning than the ones I’ve listed above. For instance, you’re likely to earn more, you’ll rekindle your zest for life — and you’ll have fun!

In my experience of managing dozens of staff and working with hundreds of life coaching clients, I’ve noticed that those people who have a love for learning, also have a love for life. They’re naturally curious about everything. And this curiosity drives them to seek out new knowledge and skills. They’re also unfazed by change (some of them actually thrive in these circumstances).

If you feel that you’ve lost the ‘learning bug’, then please don’t give up! Reignite your passion for learning through reading self-improvement books, watching inspiring movies, and most importantly… by learning new things!

When you learn how to learn again, your life will be filled with progression and excitement.

More About Learning

Featured photo credit: Clément Falize via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Research Gate: Benefits of Lifelong Learning

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

10 Good Habits to Have in Life to Be More Successful Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthier Life What Is Positive Thinking and How to Always Think Positive Do You Know Your Motivation Style? A Stress-Free Way To Prioritizing Tasks And Ending Busyness

Trending in Learning

1 9 Steps to Make Self-Regulated Learning More Effective 2 How To Find Motivation To Learn Anything Outside of Comfort Zone 3 How to Take Constructive Criticism Like a Champ 4 How To Apply the Stages Of Learning (With Free Worksheet) 5 10 Best Methods of Learning Smarter and Faster

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on April 15, 2021

9 Steps to Make Self-Regulated Learning More Effective

9 Steps to Make Self-Regulated Learning More Effective

You have probably heard of the saying, “Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.”

That old cliché gets thrown around quite a bit in educational circles, but what really goes into inspiring people to become independent, lifelong learners? Read on to learn more about self-regulated learning and how to make it more effective.

Self-Regulated Learning

One theory about teaching people how to learn is through self-regulated learning. In the broadest sense, it’s the idea that individuals should set their own learning goals and work independently and with a sense of agency and autonomy to achieve those goals. It’s the opposite of a teacher handing out a worksheet and students completing it just because the teacher told them to.

Self-regulated learning is constructive and self-directed.[1] Instead of the worksheet example, self-regulated learning involves the students setting their own learning goals, deciding how to best achieve those goals, and then systematically and strategically working toward them. Teaching strategies like the Workshop Model and Portfolios are more aligned with self-regulated learning than a one-size-fits-all worksheet or lecture.

Workshop Model

The workshop model consists of three parts. Class begins with a mini-lesson, then students spend time working independently while the teacher circulates conferencing with students. Finally, the class ends with some kind of summary derived from what students learned through their independent work.

Heavy hitters in the workshop model are Lucy Calkins and Nancie Atwell.[2][3] Their work has been instrumental in spreading best practices so that teachers know how to create truly student-led learning experiences.[4]

Portfolios

Another example of an instruction that’s moving toward self-regulated learning is student portfolios. Students set learning goals and periodically reflect on whether or not they’re achieving those goals. They keep all their reflections and student work in folders and have periodic conferences with their teacher on how they’re pressing toward their goals.[5]

Advertising

The problem though is that the workshop model and portfolios require a different mindset and skillset from teachers. That’s where the theory of self-regulated learning comes in.

3 Elements of Self-Regulated Learning

One approach to self-regulated learning is to break it down into three components: regulation of processing modes, regulation of the learning process, and regulation of self. Dividing self-regulated learning in this way helps teachers know how to best help students work toward their individual goals, and it also gives us a glimpse into how we all can become more self-regulated learners.

1. Regulation of Processing Modes

The first step in self-regulated learning is to give learners a choice in how and why they’re learning in the first place.

In our worksheet example, students are completing the task because the teacher said so, but when we reset why we’re learning in the first place, we’re starting to create a foundation for self-regulated learning.

One educational researcher, Noel Entwistle makes a distinction between three different reasons for learning, and his work makes what we’re all working toward a lot clearer. Students can try to reproduce or memorize information, they can try to get good grades, or they can seek personal understanding or meaning.[6]

The goal of self-regulated learning is to encourage students to move away from the first two learning orientations (following orders and trying to get good grades) and move toward the third, learning for some kind of intrinsic gain—learning to learn.

2. Regulation of Learning Process

The next level of self-regulated learning is when students are in charge of their own learning process. This is also known as metacognition. Studies have shown that when teachers do most of the heavy lifting—deciding what’s working and not working for each student—there’s a reduction in students’ metacognitive skills.[7]

Advertising

When I was teaching middle and high school, we had a saying that if we left the building at the end of the school day more tired than the students, we hadn’t done our job. What that means is that teachers have to find a way to get students to do the heavy lifting of metacognition—thinking about thinking. And students need to accept the challenge and become curious about what’s working and not working about their individualized and (at least, partially) self-generated learning plans.

Boosting metacognition might include learning about how the brain works, what metacognition is all about, and all the different learning styles. Becoming curious about your individual strengths and learning preferences is crucial in beefing up your metacognitive skills.

3. Regulation of Self

Finally, there’s goal setting. If students are going to become truly self-regulated learners, they have to start setting their own goals and then reflecting on their progress toward those goals.

How to Make Self-Regulated Learning More Effective

Now that you’ve learned the important elements of self-regulated learning, here are 9 ways you can make it more effective for you.

1. Change Your Mindset About Learning

The first way to become a self-regulated learner is to change your mindset about why you’re learning in the first place. Instead of doing your schoolwork because the teacher says so or because you want the highest GPA, try to move toward learning to satisfy your curiosity. Learn because you want to learn.

Sometimes, this will be easy, like when you’re learning something on your own that you’ve self-selected. Other times, it’s tougher, like when you have a teacher-selected assignment due.

Before mindlessly completing your assignment, try to find “your in.” Find what’s fascinating about the topic and cling to that as you complete it. Sure, you need to complete it to graduate, but by finding the morsel that’s interesting to you, you’ll be able to start experiencing a more self-regulated kind of learning.

Advertising

2. Explore Different Learning Styles

There are lots of different ways to learn: auditory, visual, spatial, and kinesthetic. Learn what all those styles mean and which ones feel especially effective for you.

3. Learn How Learning Works

Another great way to become a more self-regulated learner is to learn how learning works. Read up on cognitive science and psychology to figure out how we form memories, how we retain information, and how our emotions affect our learning. You have to understand the tools you’ve been given before you can wield those tools most optimally.

4. Get Introspective

Now it’s time to get introspective. Do a learning inventory and reflect on when you’ve been most and least successful in your learning.

What’s your best subject? Why? When did you lose interest in a subject? Why? Ask yourself tough questions about how you learn, so you can move forward more strategically.

5. Find Someone to Tell You Like It Is

It’s also helpful to find someone who can be honest about your learning strengths and weaknesses. Find someone you trust who will be honest about your learning progress. If you lack self-awareness about your learning style and abilities, it’s difficult to be a self-regulated learner, so work with someone else to start becoming more self-aware.

6. Set Some SMART Goals

Now it’s time to set some learning goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. They’re a great way to become a self-regulated learner.[8]

Instead of just saying, “I want to get better at Spanish,” you might set a SMART goal by saying “I want to memorize 100 new Spanish vocabulary words by next week.” Next week, you can test yourself and measure whether or not you’ve achieved your goal.

Advertising

It’s difficult to see how we’re progressing and learning when our goal is vague. Setting SMART goals gives you a clear barometer for your learning.

7. Reflect on Your Progress

Goals don’t mean much unless you measure your progress every now and then. Take time to determine whether or not you’ve achieved your SMART learning goals and why or why not you did. Self-reflection is a great way to boost self-awareness, which is a great way to become a self-regulated learner.

8. Find Your Accountability Buddies

Armed with your goals and deadlines, it’s time to find some trustworthy people to help keep you accountable. Now, your learning progress is your responsibility when you’re a self-regulated learner, but it doesn’t hurt to have some friends who know what your goals are. You can turn to this trustworthy group to discuss your learning progress and keep you motivated.

9. Say It Loud and Proud

There’s a phenomenon where we’re more likely to attain our goals when we’ve made them public.[9] Announcing our goals helps hold our feet to the fire. So, figure out a way to make your learning goals known. This might mean telling your accountability buddies, your teacher, or maybe even a social media group.

Just know that you’re more likely to succeed when you’re not the only one who knows what your goals are.

Final Thoughts

Self-regulated learning is learning for learning’s sake. So, change your entire attitude about why you’re learning in the first place. Choose what you want to know more about or start with what interests you most when assigned a topic or project.

Then, set SMART goals and periodically reflect on your progress. Self-awareness is a skill that can be practiced and improved. Make learning your job and your responsibility, and you’ll be well on your way toward becoming a self-regulated learner.

You’ll never need to blame your learning struggles on someone or something else. Instead, you’ll have the self-awareness and abilities to be able to take your learning into your own hands and find a way forward no matter your current situation and limitations.

Featured photo credit: Josefa nDiaz via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next