3 Tips to maximise your learning outside the classroom



Studying merely within a typical classroom setting is no longer applicable in our current age. In fact, learning has always taken place anytime, anywhere.

Do we learn after stepping out of classrooms? Yes. Do we learn anything in life after graduation? Yes. Do you learn anything when you read or watch anything? Yes. Do we learn anything when we do nothing? Yes (though self-reflection).

You are always learning.

A conversation, a book, a magazine, or a news broadcast is enough to get your brains working.

Consider this. You are at home sitting on a couch and reading a book on learning. And soon, you come across a paragraph.

“To learn well, you have to update yourself with learning trends, such as reading updates on e-learning tools..”

At this point, you will probably think about the ways to get to know these learning channels or if you are action-oriented, you would already have put the book  down and be off walking to your computers or tablets and start surfing for information on learning channels.

Are you engaged in learning while thinking and doing  at this point? Yes. Are you in a classroom at this point? No.

So, learning transcends any external environment and almost always takes place all the time.

Even while you sleep, your subconscious is making sense of all that you have learnt during the day. This is why when you ask yourself a question just before you sleep, you often get answers when you get up in the morning. Or the answer comes to you while you are relaxed state of mind, engaged in some leisure activities such as a slow stroll.

So, you should maximise your learning. But how do you do that?

Here are three tips to get you started:

1. Associate what you have learnt with what you know.

Your brain is like a computer and it constantly stores information. This is common knowledge, but what many of us do not know is that our brains often compares information before storing them. You can use this to your advantage when you combine what you already know with new information that you learn.

For example, you are looking for a job but there has not been many replies from employers.  Then you read in a book that social media can be used as tools to increase your chances of securing employment.

Among the number of social media that was mentioned in the pages, the word “blog” jumps out at you because you already have been blogging on a subject you love and related to your career for five years.

Now, you suddenly have this idea of appending your blog’s URL to your email signatures and placing your blog in your job cover letters to direct your potential employers’ attention to your expertise online, something you have never thought about before! This will increase your chances of an interview and getting that job you want!

Now, this is learning.

2. Write and /or talk about what you have learnt

Depending no whether you are a writer or speaker, try writing them on paper (or a blog if you want) to illustrate what you know after learning something. Alternatively, you can talk it out with yourself or a friend, and if you are able to enable others to understand what you say, you would have grasp the gist of what you have learnt. The advantage with a blog is that you get to share them with the world!

3. Look for books that write as you read

Books have different writing styles which vary according to the personality of the authors, as well as their professions. You should try your best to find a writing style that suits you. Of course, there may be books that cover subject areas of your interest that does not have your preferred writing style. Then, try to best to find a book with a conversational style as these are usually the books that provide a fast and easy read, while enabling you to retain more information longer as well.

Author’s background: Patrick Tay is an English Writing Specialist who lectures in various polytechnics in Singapore, and coaches students in English as a private tutor. His professional services can be found here


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