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10 Keys To Designing A Personal Lifelong Learning Process

A Lifelong Learning Plan is a conscious, continuousengagement in acquiring, assimilating and applying knowledgeand skills in the context of authentic, self-directed growthand challenge. It is rare for individuals to take thisinitiative. Most people operate on a "what they need now"plan and typically attend educational institutions for theirtraining.

Lifelong Learning is a philosophy of approaching learning asan integral, inseparable part of our lifeís activities. Hereare ten guidelines to help you formulate your ownpersonalized Lifelong Learning Process.

1. Commit to approach learning as a lifelong journey.Choose to keep it alive throughout your lifetime. You don'tneed to attend formal educational institutions for thisprocess. In fact, you can learn more in small, consistentspurts than you can in a classroom, if you set up your plancorrectly.

2. Maximize your resources. With lifelong learning, thereisn't a structure like you had in school, so itís easy toignore and procrastinate. If you allow this, eventually the"you snooze, you lose" theory will catch up with you. Aprime example is how changes in the national economy havehit the IT industry these last few years. The companiesthat priorize learning are still in the game, whereas theircompetitors who focused on "what we need now" are out ofbusiness. Create a system and plan that works and can last alifetime. Keep learning journals for each topic.

3. Maximize your environments. Identify and createsettings that support and inspire you both inside andoutside your home. How does the library spark yourlearning? How about the mall, the park, or even McDonalds!Explore different environments and label each one (e.g.,"inspiring," "relaxing," "great for concentration.") Whatsupplies help you keeping your energy up? Do you need quietfor some learning and busy environments for others?

4. Know how you learn. To learn effectively, know how youlearn. How do you take in information, process, and retainit? There isn't one best way. Tie everything into alearning purpose and vision. When and how often does yourmind need a break? Do you have reading spurts? How do youretain the information -- by reading aloud, notes,summarizing in memory, or sharing with others?

5. Tap into the power of your mind. Your mindís power isevident in everything you do. Analytical, critical andcreative thinking enables the mind to process, store, andcreate all the facts and ideas it encounters. By practicingdifferent types and ways of thinking, you keep your mindstrong and flexible. Consider it "going to the gym" foryour mind! (Talking about how the mind works is the subjectof a huge tome, not a Top 10!)

6. Harness the power of words and ideas. Words, whenjoined, form ideas, and are tools with enormous energy.Whether writing a memo, letter, e-mail, article, or journalentry, make each an opportunity to fulfill a learning goal.Each is a chance to work toward improving and using words toconstruct understandable ideas. Learn to express ideas inwriting. This will evolve into clearer thinking. Keep anidea journal by theme or topic.

7. Absorb, retain, and demonstrate knowledge. What do youdo with the facts, opinions, and stories that you accumulatedaily? Listening helps absorption and memory skills, whichenables retention. Listen to a teleclass or book on tape,then write your own version and master what you learned bymoving it into the long-term memory. Listening can be comparedto using a camera. First, you view the image and focus(listening). Next, you snap the picture (remembering).Finally, you print the image (demonstrate knowledge).Mastering knowledge means being able to apply it in othersituations.

8. Value diversity. The greater part of our day involvesinteracting with others. Experiencing other peopleíscommunication styles, learning methods, and the roles playedin groups and teams help us to grow, prosper, open ourminds and develop new perceptions. Dealing with conflict,criticism, and any points of vulnerability strengthens ourability to use any situation as an opportunity to learn.

9. Take exceptionally good care of yourself. Physical andmental health affects learning. Examine these aspects andset up contingencies within your plan to identify and workthrough all health challenges as soon as they appear.

10. Map your course. Maximize time, energy and focus bydefining a yearly learning theme. Subdivide into monthlytopics with time commitments. (Example: Ten years ago, Idefined a learning goal of three new computer steps in nomore than 15-minutes per day. It has compounded and savedtime and money ever since.) Minimize distractions bylearning to "table the other topics." Create a "next year"folder to contain those great ideas and set up a reviewmonth of tabled topics to decide how to use them in thefollowing year.

Submitted by:

Catherine Franz

Catherine Franz, a Certified Professional Marketing &Writing Coach, specializes in product development, Internetwriting and marketing, nonfiction, training. Newslettersand articles available at: http://www.abundancecenter.comblog: http://abundance.blogs.com




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