Recently, I've been exploring learning for learning's sake.
I’m so glad I’ve been privileged to have had a structured frameworks of study to keep me motivated. No doubt about it, exams, assignments and feedback are tried and true methods of understanding a topic in-depth. However, since formally finishing my studies (although in reality I’m not sure you ever truly finish them, they just take on a different form), I’ve really embraced learning for learning’s sake.
This type of learning is not to get somewhere, but comes from curiosity. It’s a meandering, musing type of learning where I find a rabbit hole, go down it and then find a different one. Somehow I end up emerging from the maze with a collection of wispy odds and ends, an assortment of facts, a dash of inspiration and a sprinkling of creative ideas. Perhaps I’ve learned this from my Dad who is one of those amazing people who has an incredible breadth of general knowledge and can have a meaningful discussion on nearly any topic. Whatever the reason, below I thought I’d share a few odds and ends that have helped me understand this strangle multi-faceted world we live in, just a little bit better.
Master class or online classes
I recently signed up to Master Class which I’ve really been enjoying. Experts give lectures on their area of expertise. It’s informative but also easy watching after a long day, and I never fail to take away something from it. I’m currently working my way through the Master Classes given by Annie Leibovitz and Neil Gaiman both of which I’d recommend, but there are so many that I want to try. The beauty of the internet is that there are so many interesting online classes that give us information at our fingertips (the challenge is finding the time to take them all).
I’ve been a huge fan of podcasts for years. I find it difficult to read on the bus and a podcast is just about the perfect length for my commute to work. They are also very engaging and one of easiest ways for me to absorb information. There are so many good ones, but a few of my long term favourites are the BBC History podcast, the Food Medic and Wardrobe Crisis. I’ve heard people rave on about Audible and, though I haven’t tried it, I feel like it would also be very valuable.
I feel like libraries are one of the most under-utilised public resources. Although I love a good book store, the beauty of the library is that you can browse and borrow out books on a whole range of topics that take your fancy at that time but which you might not normally buy. Plus it’s also super sustainable. Unless it’s a book that I know I’ll want to keep and be able to re-read, a library is one of my favourite ways to source books.
Listening and asking more questions
I’m definitely the talker between me and my husband, particularly if it’s a topic I’m passionate about. However, my husband has taught me the value in pausing, listening and then asking considered questions. Not only has this skill been useful in all areas of life, it’s been so rewarding to properly hear others and has helped me form deeper and more meaningful connections and relationships. It has also helped me to listen more to myself and to slow down to ask the important questions in an otherwise busy schedule.
Reflection and critical thinking
I think an important part of learning is not just taking in the information, it’s also reflecting on what we’ve learnt and how it adds to our knowledge or how it fits within, or challenges, our views and belief systems. Not only does this allow us to appreciate how we’ve improved or have been changed by the information, I think it also allows us to think critically about the information, it’s sources and whether it applies or will work for us. I’m only just starting to grasp how powerful critical thinking can be.
I’d love to know, do you love learning? What are you’re favourite resources for finding out more about the topics that light you up?