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Don't you wish learning were this fast in real life?

In order to adapt more quickly to the rapidly changing environments in which we live, we need to learn more effectively and efficiently. This article is intended to describe some basics for meta-learning, or learning about learning, to help make it easier for you to find and use techniques to increase the quality and speed of your self-directed learning.

Pick a goal. Look at the changes you want to make to Measurably Improve Your Quality of Life. Which goals require you to learn more before you can confidently make the change you want? Look for a goal you could start on now, without too much time required.

Research options for learning. Construct criteria for which options you are attracted to and which you are not. Trust your intuition. If heading down a certain path doesn't feel right, don't go that way! Refine your goal with research. It helps you go from "I want to make money," to "I want to make money that is in alignment with my goals, strengths and values." Find someone who has done what you want to do and have them show you. You can also do research on the internet, take a class, interview others, and find a mentor.

Choose the best option. Pick something that is possible to do in your environment, that you can work on constructively within your time frame  and that you can do successfully with the energy and attention you have. [1] Consider time constraints, geographic constraints, and your mental state. Schedule a time of day for learning and practicing what you learn. Develop the habit of paying attention to what you want to learn or improve upon. "Emotions drive attention. Attention drives learning."[2] Pay attention to your emotional reactions. If you find yourself resisting, explore why. There is a reason for resisting the learning experience. Don't become overwhelmed with all the choices. Pick one and try it!

Experiment with learning. There is a difference between just doing something and conducting an experiment. When doing an experiment, you must plan, create a structure for evaluation ahead of time, and reflect. Setting a specific criteria allows you to see if you met it or not. Be sure to have a method for keeping track of progress. Use whatever tools you have! Notebooks, phone, apps, computer, internet, calendar, blogs, etc. Keep reflecting on your progress. Set milestones and stick to them. Put reminders in your calendar.

Evaluate your results and milestones. Did you reach them? A reminder in your calendar will prompt you to reflect - so do it! What worked and what didn't? Why?

Refine your approach. If the learning approach you chose worked, then keep going with it. If not, go back and pick a different one and start experimenting!


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