Manage Your Lifelong Learning Adventures
Do you agree with me that learning never ends?
Do you enjoy the pursuit of new knowledge and skills to enrich your life?
Do you feel that continually learning new things is a way to challenge yourself and to keep growing?
Do you agree with me that learning is an adventure?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you are already on the path of Lifelong Learning.
How to Manage Your Own Lifelong Learning
Years ago, when we were children or teenagers or even college or grad students, we had teachers and professors to help us manage our learning. Those professionals told us what to read, what to research, or what to practice and produce in order to attain new knowledge and skills.
As adults, we can continue new learning throughout our lives. But, without teachers or professors, we must become the managers of our own learning experiences.
Use Metacognitive Skills to Manage Lifelong Learning
In a November 2016 post, I explained how metacognitive skills can be used for lifelong learning.
These skills can be used for successful learning if they are applied in a logical sequence: before, during, and after your next learning adventure.
The “Before” phase is the planning phase of any learning adventure.
It’s important to define an overall learning goal. What is it that you want to know, understand, or be able to do? Why? In what ways will your life be enriched through achieving this learning goal?
To reach your goal, you might need to accomplish several learning tasks. A learning task is a specific activity that you will do in order to move closer to achieving your learning goal.
Decide on the specific learning task that you will undertake at this time.
How will you accomplish this learning task? What assistance will you need? Gather your materials and resources.
Set a deadline for completing this learning task. Hold yourself accountable for completing it on time.
The “During” phase is the self-monitoring phase.
This might be the part where we most acutely miss those teachers and professors that we had years ago. They gave us feedback on our progress and even “grades”. As adult learners, we must assess our own progress in any learning adventure.
Engage in self-assessment as you work through a learning task.
Acknowledge and celebrate your successes!
Be honest with yourself. Recognize when you find gaps in your knowledge and understanding or inadequacy in a skill.
Perhaps you need to do some additional research, find more resources, get in more practice, or get help from an expert.
Take whatever action you determine to help yourself successfully accomplish the learning task.
The “After” phase is like in years gone by when the teacher would give you a final grade or report card.
Only now, as an independent adult learner, you must evaluate yourself!
First, acknowledge whether you completed your learning task on time (according to the deadline that you set for yourself).
Then, make a final assessment about your level of success. Be realistic and honest. Nobody but you needs to know how you assess yourself.
Knowing that learning goes on continually, where does this assessment logically lead you? What will be next on your list of learning tasks to accomplish your current learning goal?
Or, do you feel that you’ve accomplished this learning goal and you’re ready to move on to something new?
Answer these questions as honestly and objectively as possible.
Aha! Do you see? You’re already moving into the “Before” phase (the planning phase) of your next learning adventure.
Free Printable Lifelong Learning Log
To help you manage your lifelong learning adventures, I’ve prepared a Lifelong Learning Log. Click the link, and I’ll be happy to send it to you!
Talk to Me
I’d love to hear what you think about your free printable Lifelong Learning Log. If you use it, I hope it will be useful to you.
I’d love to hear about your adventures in lifelong learning. In the comments area, let me know what you think.
Enjoy Life Creatively!
P.S. – In my career as a college professor in the field of Music Education, I researched and published on the topic of metacognition for music learning. You can find my book Thinking about Thinking: Metacognition for Music Learning at Amazon.com.