Question: Do you have a learning plan?

How do you make progress towards goals in your life? How do you discover new abilities and interests that you have?


images-1About 10 years ago, I woke up one day and realized that my life was, well, boring and routine. The sense of adventure I once had was gone; as was a lot of the struggle and challenge that I encountered as I husseled towards my goals too. And yet, upon reflection, that ying-yang worked for me.  It seemed I always did my best when I had a structured plan in place- or a reward system- to support my growth and learning.

That’s why college works so well really doesn’t it?  There is the (peer pressure) syllabus, quizzes, papers and exams you are responsible to. And appearances matter to most; so you DO!  College is designed to make it easier for you to DO by testing your knowledge and hopefully demonstrate your growing skilling abilities to everyone around you, including yourself, as long as you follow through.

In lieu of  college, of course one way to jump start a learning plan is to take a Massive Open Online Course or a MOOC. Anyone with an Internet connection can now take a class for from one of the world’s best Universities for free. However, apparently there is a cost to free. That cost is inaction. Over 90% of people who start MOOCs don’t complete them. They are a lot different than college. Your family, friends, peers and professor will not be standing over you watching to see if you show up to class and are doing the work you are suppose to be doing. And no one will care about the grade(s) you are getting either. You have to take a MOOC for the love of your own development and learning.

Fortunately, there are a number of them that will help you create a self-directed learning plan that will help you commit yourself to scheduling and managing your workload; so that you can achieve your goals and dreams. A good one that will help you design a really good plan for yourself will contain the following kinds of topics for you to review or learn new skills from:

How To Find A Mentor That Can Improve Your Career and Change Your Life

We all need someone to help us stay motivated and to hold us accountable to ourselves- like college use to.  Understanding what to look for in a mentor is critical to your success and a worthy topic to explore.  And if you are self motivated to do some digging on the web, here is a quick start to help you get motivated to learn even more.

How To Master The Art of Speed Reading Without Losing Comprehension.

Seems like all I do these days is read and read. And then I read some more. With the digital age upon us new material related to our interests is published every single day. If you hope to let your genius shine through, you have to be up to date and current with the current state of whatever it is you desire to pursue. This is when your mind will be activated to rise to the next level and assimilate all that it has learned into something amazing you can offer the world.

How To Sharpen Your Focus and Block Out Distractions When You’re Learning Online

I don’t know about you, but if I don’t turn down the volume of all the social media platforms I am on and really concentrate when I am digging for information on the web, hours can be frittered away getting distracted by the next incoming email, tweet or post. Here are 10 tips from LifeHacker on how to sharpen your focused and if in doubt, exercise; not only will it lengthen your life expectancy but it will help you concentrate. 

How To Dramatically Improve Your Memory and Recall

Seems obvious enough why this is essential to your newly created self directed learning plan, right? These articles may help:

How to Improve your Memory Instantly written by Psychology Today or try 10 Easy Ticks to Greatly Enhancing Your Memory.

Design Thinking: An Innovative Approach To Creative Problem Solving

The wicked problems we have in our lives to achieve our highest potential and best use, through our own design of a self directed learning plan, require design thinking to solve.  Today our lives are filled with problems that can be very difficult or seem impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing information and requirements that are often difficult to recognize. (The use of term “wicked” , by the way here, is meant to denote resistance to resolution, rather than evil.)  Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, our own efforts to solve one aspect of a wicked problem we have may reveal or create other problems. To learn more about wicked problems click here.  To learn how creative problem solve try Basadur’s Simplex Approach.

Project-Based Learning: Learn Creative Skills Through Web Projects

Today, everyone I work with is in another country. Our work together is entirely virtual and project based. It’s critical you can function in a virtual team where communication can often get confusing as the medium lends itself to be easily misunderstood. Learning how to creatively work together and communicate clearly and effectively is critical to a well designed self-directed learning plan.

Digital Literacy Skills: Learn To Find Information Better on Google

Search engines are, in a sense, the heartbeat of the internet. “Googling” has become a part of everyday speech and is even recognized by Merriam-Webster as a grammatically correct verb. It’s a common misconception, however, that googling a search term will reveal every site out there that addresses your search. In fact, typical search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing actually access only a tiny fraction – estimated at 0.03% – of the internet. The sites that traditional searches yield are part of what’s known as the Surface Web, which is comprised of indexed pages that a search engine’s web crawlers are programmed to retrieve.

So where’s the rest? The vast majority of the Internet lies in the Deep Web, sometimes referred to as the Invisible Web. The actual size of the Deep Web is impossible to measure, but many experts estimate it is about 500 times the size of the web as we know it.

Many of the Web’s most extensive sites work like libraries. These database sites keep their information tucked away in the stacks, and if you want something, you have to ask for it. Although search engines may visit these libraries, they rarely make it past the lobby, and they refuse to ask the librarian for help. This causes them (and you) to miss out on the massive amount of information stocked in the back rooms. This hidden material is referred to as part of the “deep” or “invisible” Web.

Insights for the Invisible Web

  • Information in databases can only be accessed by direct searches (searches from within the site itself), which prevents search engines from finding it.
  • White pages, electronic books, online journals, image files, newspaper archives, dictionary definitions and patents are examples of the file types found in databases. Frequently updated or changing information, like ticket prices and job listings, are also part of the deep Web.
  • One trick for finding databases with standard search engines is as simple as adding the term “database” to your search query. Instead of “Buddhism,” try “Buddhism database.” By doing this, you are using the search engine to find a gateway to more information, rather than the information itself.
  • Online databases occasionally require users to pay for access to their content. Schools and libraries subscribe to various database services, so consult your librarian for a list of resources that they may make available to you. Otherwise, consider your research goals to determine whether paying is worthwhile.
  • The Best YouTube Channels For Learning, Curiosity and Inspiration

Video is the learning vehicle for the 21st century. Since your self directed learning plan is about you teaching yourself how to learn, you might want to check out these 100 best video sites for learning, or Curiosity by The Discover Channel or of course there is TED talks.  Of course, once you have mastered the art of googling, I am sure you will come up with many many more.

I hope this post inspires you to jump start your own learning and work on developing your very own learning plan to achieve your goals and dreams.  Without one you will be hard pressed to keep up with the pace of learning in the 21st century. With one you will be armed to achieve whatever you dream.


 1014467_10202833947183293_5964056692173013765_nAbout Lisa Canning

“Vowels are to words what creativity is to the world~ basic and necessary.” What motivates you to explore your creativity?

For daily inspiration and creative education join me on Facebook:

Need a magic creativity wand? Let’s start with the clarinet and see what it inspires you to dream and do.

Lisa Canning is the founder of Lisa’s Clarinet Shop,  IAEOU,  Entrepreneur the Arts and now Learning Flies too.

Question: Do you have a learning plan?

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