What is a Self-Learner?
A self-learner is someone who learns to better themselves.
Self-learners are DIYers (do it yourself), the self-made people who focus on learning. People who perfer spending their time understanding & thinking for themselves. Self-motivators who strive to do more by learning and applying.
Why Become a Self-Learner?
No matter what job or career path you take in life. If it’s starting your own business or joining a big company, learning never stops.
Becoming a self-learner has many benefits like time management, general productivity & being resourceful. It has a greater impact on your quality of life and happiness.
I’ve always struggled with learning and barely passed high school. Fast forward some years, I’m now employed by one of Australia’s leading higher education organisations. I teach high school students and I manage my business responsibilities. How do I go from almost failing high school to becoming a teacher?
I learnt basic skills by running a business that lead me to becoming a self-learner. I started simplifying new information and organising it. I needed a system where I took complicated information, filed it, made sense out of it and applied it.
This is what I’ve learnt.
My Self-Learning System
Everyone learns differently, and this is what works for me. I recommend adapting it to your own learning style and finding what best suits you.
Reading with Meaning
I read without paying attention all the time and it’s something I still struggle with today. I’ve found a few techniques that work for me.
Step 1 – Understand Why Your Reading
Have you ever read something, got halfway through and thought “why am I reading this again?”. That’s because you haven’t thought about it yet or don’t have context.
It’s very important to have context.
- What is the information about?
- What does this information relate too?
- Why do I need to know this?
Step 2 – Different Reading Styles
You wouldn’t be reading something if it’s not important, but how important is this information? That will determine your reading style.
The following are some reading styles:
- F Reading
- Multi Reading
Scanning For example, are you solving “How To” problem and need to know that one simple thing. Then you would scan the information to get to that one area that has your fix.
Reading Are you semi-interested in a blog article about marketing? You may read in a F motion, where you start reading the first few lines and then scan down the page. Allowing you to read more in a shorter period.
Multi Reading Or are you hyper-interested in a study workbook and need to absorb as much information as you can. You can scan all the headings, read the first and last paragraphs, then read through the information.
Picking a reading style becomes second nature as you come across more information. It’s important to be aware of how you approach reading.
Taking Concise Notes
I love taking notes and am always jotting down ideas or information I want to remember for later. Taking notes is a proven method of boosting memory.
Step 1 – Where Do You Take Notes?
Writing on paper? Writing on a tablet? Or maybe you’re like me and love typing. Whatever you prefer, go with it!
I always choose OneNote. I organise my whole life through this app and I’m not sure how many pages of notes I have any more, it’s a lot.
Step 2 – Note Taking Style
Note taking should always be concise & easy to read over. As there are a lot of different methods for taking notes out there, let’s discuss my preferred way and why.
Use a list format with bullet points.
Your notes need to achieve two things:
- Building on your reading by forming repetition
- Be easily scannable when needing more information
Your notes help you remember more, actively writing while listening engages your mind and assist’s with repetition of information. They also need to be easy to look over when you can’t remember everything and need more detail.
Step 3 – Storing Your Notes
It’s so important to have a simple method for quick access when you need your notes.
I always store my notes by subject and then by year.
Example: I have a “Work” notebook in OneNote with a subject for 2017-2020. That way whenever I need my notes in relation to Work I just have to recall what year it was in, easy!
Becoming a self-learner is simple, it involves reading and taking notes but the key is to do it with context and meaning. If your outcome is clear, then becoming a self-learner will be easier for you.
Never stop learning.