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How You Can Learn Anything In Just 30 Days

How You Can Learn Anything In Just 30 Days

We are all capable of learning and succeeding in anything we set our minds to, but we’re often told that it can take years to learn and perfect a skill. Ben Apple of 30 Day Life Upgrade challenged this. Here, Ben shares how you can learn anything in just 30 days:

We have been given an amazing world to explore and somewhere down the line, many of us end up getting stuck into routines and never break out to discover new things.  Think back to your childhood days and all of the things that you wanted to do and the things that you wanted to become.  Somewhere down the line, those things become lost as we get caught up in our day-to-day routine.

Today we’re going to change all that by figuring out something that we’ve been putting off learning, and we’re going to map out a plan to conquer a new skill over the next 30 days.

Choose Something To Learn

To learn something new in 30 days, the first thing that you need to do is figure out what it is that you’ve been putting off learning.  Think back to things from your childhood that you always wanted to do but somewhere down the line gave up on. Explore those things, no matter how silly they may seem today, and think of the things in this life that you’d wanted to explore and maybe given up on.  Maybe you’d always wanted to learn to juggle or play basketball.  Make a list of these things.

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You may also have things in your daily life that you want to improve or learn, but don’t think you have the time.  Learn a foreign language?  Cook delicious meals for your family and friends?  Play an instrument?  There are many things that you can learn to improve your career, social life, or simply make life more interesting and enjoyable. Add these things to your list.

Now you should have a starting point with a list of things that you truly want to learn.  Now, simply choose one item off the list and make a commitment to yourself to practice and learn this skill for the next 30 days.

Study Your Chosen Topic

You may feel as if you don’t know where to begin in your new endeavor.  Fortunately, I can almost guarantee that whatever you picked to learn, the hard work has already been done and many people have walked a path before you and documented their findings. In this age of information, you will be able to find books, wikis, blogs, and research studies, all at your fingertips. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  All you’re doing is accessing and processing the information that is already available.

The hardest part of this process shouldn’t be finding information, but finding quality information. I advise a simple Amazon search to look up reviews and information on available and relevant books. Remember where you stand in your journey when seeking information.  If you are a beginner on your selected topic, ignore the advanced books.  Don’t skip the basics.   The goal of this is not necessarily to become an expert in 30 days, but to develop a strong mastery and understanding of the basics that will put you ahead of most.  If you are trying to improve upon a skill for the next 30 days, then you may choose to look up the more advanced books or search for more specialized books.

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Set a Goal

Goal setting is the most important part of the process to learn something new, so that you make sure you are on the right track.  With no goals, most people are left floundering and will move ahead slowly with no end in sight.  Having one simple goal to strive for throughout the 30 days will make the task at hand seem very attainable and make it easier to follow through.

Goals should be set to challenge you but also realistic enough so that you may achieve them and continue to push forward.  Setting a goal to become the best in the world at something sounds great, but with only 30 days, this is highly improbable.  Instead you’ll want to set goals that allow you to make great strides in a positive direction.  Learning to play the guitar?  Maybe you’ll want to master the basic chords and learn some of your favorite songs.  Want to learn to cook?  You could set a goal to host a dinner party and cook a three-course meal at the end of your 30 days.    These are goals that are well within the realm of possibility and will allow you to continue improving upon these skills after the 30 days are over, or maybe you’ll want to just sit back and enjoy the benefits of this new skill that you’ve acquired.

Make sure your goal is relevant to your ability level.  If you want to learn a foreign language from scratch, your goal should not be to become fluent in 30 days, but maybe to order at a restaurant in your target language, or have a basic conversation with a native speaker in 30 days. If you have conversational ability in a language and are trying to jump to the next level, you also need to set a goal relevant to what you want to accomplish- maybe watching and understanding a movie in the target language or reading a newspaper in that language.

Setting a measurable goal is also important. 

It isn’t clear enough to say that you’d like to be fluent in Japanese or become a world-class chef.  Those are interesting goals, but you need a way to measure your goal to know when you’ve succeeded. If your goal is to become better at chess, how do you know if you’ve actually improved over the last 30 days?  You could decide to make the goal to beat your computer chess game at a level that you have not previously been able to beat.  This is something that is very easy to measure over time to test whether or not you have succeeded at your goal.

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Remember, make your goal realistic and attainable, at an appropriate level, and make sure it’s measurable.

Break It Down

The truth is, it can be very easy to learn something new and become very skilled with just a bit of effort and a little time.

When you have your goal, the next part is to break down the next 30 days into chunks of learning and practicing to help you achieve your goal.  Not matter what you’re trying to learn, you should be able to identify sub skills needed to learn the skill completely.  For your 30 day challenge, you want to be able to break the skill into 4-5 sub skills to practice, learn, and master so that you can conquer your main goal over the next 4 weeks.

From the beginning, you should be able to create a basic outline of what your schedule should look like over the next 30 days.  Things may change as you find you need more time and practice with something, and this is fine. The main thing is that you sit down at the beginning and have a plan to get started.  Identify the sub skills necessary for the chosen skill, and spend a little time each day learning and practicing these skills that will help you achieve your goal.

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Measure and Test

Now you’ve found something to learn for 30 days and you’ve studied and outlined a plan to learn and practice your skill.  The last step is to measure and test what you’ve done.  You could wait to do this at the end of 30 days, but I recommend that you make time to test yourself at regular intervals to make sure you’re on track.  Going back to the chess example, you could give yourself a weekly test game at the level you’d like to beat or test yourself at other levels to make sure you’re improving and on the right path to meet your goal.

This guide should allow you to outline a 30-day plan for which to conduct your experiment.  At the end of the 30 days, you will be able to test to see whether or not you have succeeded.  If you haven’t reached your goal, don’t worry!  You’ve not only come a long way in your new skill (if you stuck to the plan), but you’ve also created a positive habit of working towards something and bettering yourself.

In order to truly make this valuable, I’d like you to post whatever it is that you’ve decided to learn down below in the comments, share your progress, share this with your friends, and upgrade your life over the next 30 days!

How To Learn Anything in 30 Days | 30 Day Life Upgrade

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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

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With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

1. Canvas Network

Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

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In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

2. Google Classroom

This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

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Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

4. Absorb

This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

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5. Watershed Collaborative

Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

Honorable Mentions

There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

  1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
  2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
  3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
  4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
  5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

Conclusion

There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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