“Never stop learning because life never stops teaching” – Mahnoor Asghar
As it has always being said, learning is a never-ending journey. Our sight and vision broadens when we get the knowledge and make ourselves lifelong learners. From the cradle to the resting place, we are in a continuous cycle of learning new things. It is a pivotal part of our everyday life. Opening our minds to learning new things creates a room to be aware of the wonderful things in the world. Learning is an indispensable tool that nourishes our minds and soothes our soul.
It is important to learn and learn effectively. Learning effectively goes beyond the accumulation and accretion of knowledge but to be able to apply that knowledge effectively at some point in the future. For instance, as an economist, I have learnt to not just be rational in thinking but also apply the principles of opportunity cost (alternative forgone) in the allocation of scarce resources so as to minimize cost and maximize satisfaction.
As a youth and a learner, you must be eager to explore your curiosities, eager to discover solutions to your problems, eager to improve and not be stagnant, stretch your understanding and discover new knowledge.
In this article, we will be discussing:
- What learning is
- Difference between learning and education
- Types of learning
- Learning as a continuous process
- Reasons we shouldn’t stop learning
- Ways we can learn on a continuous basis
WHAT IS LEARNING?
Learning is a continuous process of life, the pinnacle of the attitude and vision of the universe.
According to Wikipedia, learning can be seen as the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviours, skills, values, competences and preferences. Learning is the only thing that distinguishes humans from animals though animals also learn.
Learning should not be limited to technical knowledge and academic knowledge. It goes beyond this. Learning is life and life is the teacher. For everything we do in life, we learn. Learning is a process of continuous acquisition of knowledge, skills and so on. Learning may occur consciously and unconsciously.
People tend to use education and learning interchangeably. Confining learning to just a classroom activity. The question on the table is:
WHY IS LEARNING AND EDUCATION DIFFERENT?
Education is seen as the process through which a society passes on the knowledge, values and skills from one generation to another. Education is impacting knowledge, values, skills and attitudes which can be of great importance to an individual. Education is something one gets at some point in their life. It is seen as a right. Education is gotten from a school or institution and a tutor impacts education. Education is knowledge gained through teaching. This process is formal and takes place in a structured environment. Education is received up to a certain age.
Learning on the other hand, is said to be the acquisition of new skills, knowledge, values, behaviours, understanding and morals either from education, personal development and experiences, other people’s experiences and other sources. Learning is a process that has unlimited sources of acquisition. It is possessed by all individual and starts from birth and continues till death. Learning can be informal and evolves in the inner self. There are no set standard to learning. It is a non- systematic process.
For better understanding, we will use a table to differentiate learning and education.
|This is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through various sources like study, experience or being taught.||This is the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a formal setting.|
|It is prompted by intrinsic motivation, that is, a drive from inside (inner self).||It is prompted by an extrinsic motivation, that is, a drive from the outside (external force).|
|It does not require an educator or guidance.||This takes place under the guidance of an educator.|
|It is not a systematic process.||It is a systematic process.|
|Learning is a basic instinct possessed by all individual.||Education is acquired by individuals.|
|Learning is not limited by age. It is a continuous process||Education is received up to a certain age.|
TYPES OF LEARNING
There are some types of learning and we will discuss them to broaden our understanding of learning.
- ACTIVE LEARNING
This occurs when a person takes control of his or her learning experience. It is important for learners to recognize what they understand and what they do not. By doing so, they monitor their own mastery of subjects. This type of learning encourages learners to have an internal dialogue in which they verbalize understandings. Learners have the motivation or zeal to learn when they have control over not only how they learn but what they learn.
- ASSOCIATIVE LEARNING
This is the type of learning process where a person learns an association between two stimuli or events. This type of learning is more about conditioning the brain. In a nutshell, it means that our brain was designed to recall information in isolation (single information); instead we group information together into one associative memory. This is why when we are asked to recall a room or a part of a building; it is difficult to recall a part or room in a building without seeing the whole building.
- NON- ASSOCIATIVE LEARNING
This is a relatively permanent change in the strength of response to a single stimulus due to repeated exposure to that stimulus. Learning due to habitual event or occurrence.
- OBSERVATIONAL LEARNING
This type of learning occurs through observing the behavior of others. It is a form of social learning which can take place in various forms. We learn from others experience, attitude and way of life.
- FORMAL LEARNING
This is learning that takes place within a teacher-student relationship such as in a school system. This type of learning is called formal because it is directed and organized. In this learning, goals and objectives are set out and the learners are evaluated.
- INFORMAL LEARNING
This is the type of learning that is less structured. It may occur through the experience of day-to-day situations. For example, one would learn to look ahead while walking because of the danger of not paying attention while walking. It is learning from life.
We have many other types of learning as described by many writers and authors.
It is said that learning never stops. We will be looking at learning as a continuous process and continuous learning. Why should we see learning as a continuous process? Why we should not stop learning because life never stops teaching.
LEARNING AS A CONTINUOUS PROCESS
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty” – Henry Ford
We learn many things around us day by day. From the moment we were given birth to, we learn how to crawl as a toddler, then how to stand and walk, how to speak, how to run and from there we start to develop, learning the basic life skills like eating, wearing clothes and other knowledge by ourselves and with the help of others around us. We learn continuously and continuous learning is important.
WHAT IS CONTINUOUS LEARNING?
Continuous learning is a process of expanding our skills and skills sets through learning and increasing knowledge. This is a process which is surrounded by one’s attitude to learn and share the knowledge, academic curiosity, reading and practicing, creativity, thinking ability and extending the knowledge level. This is very important in making a perfect personality.
“Learning process gives creativity, creativity leads to thinking, thinking provides knowledge, knowledge makes you great” – Respected APJ Abdul Kalam
Many people are ignorant of the fact that having any certification or degree does not mean you have achieved the pinnacle of life. Those are just small parts of the continuous learning process. From every failure, we should be able to learn new things.
REASONS WE SHOULD NOT STOP LEARNING
The process of learning can be interesting and in some cases frustrating. But in the midst of the frustration, there should be a motivation because when we stop learning, we stop growing and getting better. We will be looking at some importance of learning.
- LEARNING HELPS IN SELF DEVELOPMENT
The curiosity to know about something keeps the brain busy and prevents an individual from getting bored. Educating yourself requires time management skills to succeed.
Learning assist in gaining knowledge that proves beneficial in personal life and leads to contentment and development. The learning process will help to boost an individual’s technical know- how, capabilities and personal life. In most cases, learning increases our wisdom.
“The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you. – B.B. King
- LEARNING HELPS TO BOOST CONFIDENCE
It does not matter whether the knowledge we have gained helps us in terms of employment or challenges, what is important is that we have grown. Something has been added to our life. When an individual desires to learn, he makes progress. The process of learning and understanding has a positive impact on your self- esteem and self- confidence because it adds the necessary fuel to your creativity. Everything starts to connect; ideas start rushing in and even things that are not related starts to make sense.
When you are learning something, you are gaining relevant knowledge on the topic and it will broaden your horizons on the topic and related topics. You would be able to express yourself fluently on that topic when you meet other people.
- LEARNING IS IMPORTANT IN ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS
Learning is a habit that can help a person in the professional world, personal or daily life. It should be noted that learning should be consistent for the development of skills.
Every human has some dreams in life and they also make it their goal. The importance of learning is that you tend to use the skills acquired from learning to achieve your set goals. One cannot learn everything as no one is an island of knowledge. So make sure you focus on a particular skill, gain competence and improve.
- LEARNING PLAYS A ROLE IN LEADING YOU TO NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Learning is a pivotal part of the professional and personal development of every human. It gives you the avenue to reach your full potential. Learning gives you a chance to partake in new opportunities that will increase you efficiency.
Learning is a fundamental skill that helps to strengthen your inner well- being in life. Learning helps you find innovative solutions to problems because when you learn, you tend to become creative.
- LEARNING CHANGES YOUR PERSPECTIVE
The continuous process of learning tends to open your mind and changes your attitude either by opening your eyes to new knowledge or by building on what you already know. The more you learn, the better you’ll get at seeing more sides of the same situation or help you understand more deeply
- LEARNING HELPS TO MAKE YOU REMAIN RELEVANT AND IRREPLACEABLE
Learning is very important as it helps you to remain relevant and keeps you up-to-date with the trends and things happening around you. Learning will make you irreplaceable in everything you do and everywhere you find yourself.
- LEARNING HELPS IN GROWING YOUR INCOME, STATUS AND PROFILE
Learners always find viable opportunities because learning makes you become a critical thinker and this helps you grow your income as you acquire skills and knowledge to improve professionally. It helps to find satisfying and lucrative jobs and increase your earnings.
Learning helps to maintain a positive attitude about life because when your income and status are matched with your desire, it tends to boost your self- confidence and improve the quality of your life.
- LEARNING HELPS IN ACQUIRING LEADERSHIP QUALITIES
Learning is a mechanism that helps to offer knowledgeable experiences that addresses some challenges in life. It gives you this thirst for knowledge and motivates you to grab viable opportunities with both hands.
Learning will make you trust in your ability (self- confidence) and reliance in yourself and when people see your confidence and motivation, they tend to follow your lead because they believe you are strong enough. And they will also offer help in some cases so as to move forward.
WAYS WE CAN LEARN ON A CONTINUOUS BASIS
There are various ways in which you can broaden your horizon and develop. Some of them are:
- FORMAL LEARNING
This is one way and a very important means of learning things at a faster rate. A formal learning can be in form of formal education or skills acquisition but whichever means, we are opportune to learn from experts and opened to a whole new world of vast knowledge. Though this process is limited, it is an avenue to learn in any field you find yourself, so make use of it.
- PRACTICE, PRACTICE AND PRACTICE
Like it has been said before, “practice makes perfect”. So if we inculcate the habit of practicing what we learn, we tend to grow and get better and also learn new things and get new knowledge on how to carry out a task better. When you practice on a daily basis, you would surely get adequate confidence to handle a complex scenario.
- MENTORING PEOPLE
It is great to mentor people because mentoring opens your eyes to new knowledge. The more you teach others, the brighter and better you become. Mentoring will not only develop the good human relations but also give you a chance to refresh your knowledge and skills. Mentoring need not necessarily mean technical supervision, it may be guiding, directing, monitoring, advising or motivating the people around you. This gives confidence and from this, you start believing in your abilities and also broaden your horizon.
- EXPERIENCE FROM JOB
This is another effective way of learning continuously. When you work on a job, you get exposed and this comes with an effectiveness that lasts for long. That is why it is advisable to give your best at your job and explore much in order to attain the real learning. The experience and training gotten from this is second to none.
- SHARING KNOWLEDGE
It is so true that the more you share your knowledge; it tends to come back to you in double folds. Sharing knowledge is a very easy way to get better at learning. If someone is in need to know something, explain to them in the best possible way, it would definitely give you a benefit as you would understand some things you didn’t understand initially. And most importantly, you won’t forget that for years to come.
Some other means we can learn are:
- Attending seminars or conference
- Discussion with peers
In learning continually, we should try to be flexible, adapt to changes knowing that change is always constant. We should not be afraid to take risk as this is a way to learn. Even when we fail, we should know that failure does not define a person. Failures are not permanent, so we shouldn’t be scared of failing. We should see failure as a stepping stone to success and becoming better. It is a key part of the learning process and experience. Learn to make mistakes and most importantly learn from them. We are not born perfect
Take this home
To be a good learner, always practice. Practicing will repair and train your brain and your brain would be better and able to gather knowledge.
“Practice makes perfect, perfect makes permanence”
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