Self-learning is common today as people are trying to build new skills and mitigate the effect of the pandemic on their careers.
Young people also need to rely on themselves to learn since classes can no longer be held in schools and universities.
This situation is not easy for many people. Being in a physical classroom with other people allows you to get feedback immediately. You can ask questions, have discussions, and generally feel more engaged because you’re in an interactive learning environment.
However, it’s become necessary to self-learn today. And this is possible if you know how to make use of your time and have the right mindset.
Here are some top tips you can use to make self-learning work for you. Your approach to learning will improve and you’ll see positive results in a very short time.
Use the Pomodoro technique
Some reasons why self-learning is difficult because we have to set our own goals and create our own learning structure.
Using the Pomodoro technique can help you by leveraging structure, goals, and the sense of accomplishment when you use this tool.
Here’s how you apply it. Set the timer for 25 minutes and for the duration of this period, just focus on what you have to learn, whether it’s writing an essay, watching a video, or learning to code. Stop your work the moment the timer goes off.
You can then take a break for 5-10 minutes and start the timer again and go back to studying.
This technique is effective for the following reasons:
- The time frame in which you work is clearly defined and has an end period. You’ll feel like you’re aiming towards a goal that keeps you focused
- When the timer goes off, you will have achieved a mini-goal i.e. studying for 25 minutes. The sound of the timer going off will get associated with a positive feeling with becomes a form of reward
- The short break you take will give you the time to reset and get back in the mood to study right away
One of the common mental hurdles a person faces is refusing to move ahead with their studies because they feel stuck.
Maybe a concept is too hard to understand or it just seems intimidating. Perhaps you can’t remember material that you already learned perfectly.
These are mental blocks that do more harm than you realize. One, you end up procrastinating longer than you should. Two, you feel like you’re overwhelmed and develop the notion that you’re not capable of studying.
Such negative feedback needs to be managed by letting go of the need to do things perfectly.
One of the most helpful things you can do is to simply continue reading or practicing. If you’re watching an online video course and have stopped, just commit to watching a video without wanting to understand it fully.
What will likely happen is that you’ll realize that you do understand more than you realize. And remember, you can also come back to the part that you can’t pick up and look at it with fresh eyes later.
When you take a real break from your studies, you actually do better. What likely happens is that you avoid straining your brain which allows it to relax and naturally process information without any stress.
So, remember that once you’ve worked hard at studying, it is very important to detach yourself from the work that you’ve done.
Taking a long nap, going for a walk, watching a comedy movie, or hanging out with friends can give you a change of scene. If you’re studying early enough, you could take a few days or a week off and return to your studies only to find that you know it better than you realized.
Leverage different tools
If you’re learning from one source or one type of material, then you may need to vary the information you’re consuming.
Sometimes, you simply don’t ‘click’ with a teacher or a writing style. At other times, the language or tone used may not engage you.
Don’t be afraid to look for help and information from a variety of sources. Video publishing platforms can be great sources of content. As much as 37% of people use YouTube to build job skills and to supplement their school learning.
You can also find blogs and articles by industry experts or listen to podcasts to get stories, examples, and real-life case studies to illuminate concepts.
Another great idea is to use ‘spaced repetition’ tools as a way to build your memory and remember important facts.
Grow yourself with self-learning
Self-learning feels challenging because we’re often too hard on ourselves. But if you have the right mindset and know what tools and techniques to use, you can self-learn effectively.
I’ve shared some tips that I know will help you on your journey to developing new skills and knowledge. Stay positive, relax, and give them a try so that you can achieve your goals.