Slow Learning – Go informal

Olu Eletu

This is the last one of our slow learning poggies, and it’s all about informal learning. If you’re someone who will spend a long time researching online or taking informal courses (like me – although less so now) this is probably something you can identify a lot with.

An informal learner sees learning everywhere. They like to do it anywhere and at anytime and they’re often heavily focused on using technology as a tool in order for that to happen. There usually isn’t any kind of qualification at the end of this kind of learning, and more often than not it leads the learner in to further research, deeper thinking, or a new direction.

When I first started learning about simplifying life, this was my go-to learning mode. I read endless blogs, books and articles on minimalism, simplicity and the myriad ways to adopt it. I took courses, enrolled in membership programs and listened to podcasts. What I didn’t always do though, was act on it.

And, much like the overwhelm we can often feel when learning collaboratively (as we chatted about last week) this is the biggest drawback of informal learning – lots of information but very little action.

That’s not to say it’s not valuable, because the opposite is true. More and more of us are working in areas where formal qualifications are no longer relevant (or at least as relevant as they used to be) but passion and ambition and skill take precedence. Similarly, this is one of the most accessible ways to learn about non-work related topics, ideas and skills and processes that we use outside of our work, that impact how we live, what we do with our time, our hobbies, our energies.

I think the key takeaway from this four-part series is, as always, about awareness. Be aware of the kind of changes you want to make in life, and be aware of the ways in which you’re learning about them. Do those learning modes work for you? If not, what can you do differently? Can you find some one-on-one coaching to get you through the hardest part? Can you join a community or a class to help tap in to the collective wisdom? Or are you best served just diving deep in to a good book on the topic?

Then, it’s all about the doing. Because it’s in the doing that we learn.

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2 Responses to Slow Learning – Go informal

  1. I didn’t write ‘decluttering’ in my most recent resume for my current job. But having a lot of experience and a fresh set of eyes coming into an old department (physically an old hospital department – the original room for two staff now has 8!) was definitely a selling point. I have used my decluttering skills to help tidy up the workplace (think textbooks from the 1960s) and questioning why we do certain things and what tasks can we cut down on to improve our work. I’m currently trying to get a recycling bin for our department that has a lot of paper and cardboard waste!
    Not sure that would have been possible without all your great help!

    In terms of learning I think I do most as informal learner (probably because I am a bit of a control freak) but love collaborative learning at times as hearing lots of different ideas (or voiced in a different way) is often how I have my epiphanies about how I can achieve something.

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