How many times have we wanted to learn something on our own? Whether it’s speaking a language, playing an instrument, drawing or playing a sport, there is a lot that can be learned at our pace and according to our interests.
The problem is sometimes we don’t dare to start or once we take the first step we are inconsistent and what seemed like a great learning project becomes something we never get to complete.
For this reason we will see today some tips and key ideas to effectively learn the self-taught, Starting with good motivation and being aware that in order to achieve our goals, we must put the greatest interest in them.
How to learn in a self-taught way?
In this life there is a lot that can be learned by following a formal and regulated education (school, university, academies …), but there is a lot more that can be learned in a self-taught way. What is needed is knowing how to approach the learning process without falling into procrastination and abandonment. For this, the following tips are helpful.
1. Don’t be afraid of the new
Historically, fear, based on ignorance, has always been an obstacle for human beings to expand their knowledge. One example is that in the Middle Ages, for fear of the unknown, no one dared to discover what lay beyond the Atlantic Ocean.
While over the centuries we have overcome this belief that the unknown is necessarily bad, learning is not free from initial fears, Especially for things that conflicted with conflicting beliefs that were very well established.
If we want to learn to hike, we shouldn’t be afraid to go to the mountains and try it for ourselves. We may be afraid that something is going to happen to us, but if we don’t verify it, how will we really know if there was something to fear?
2. Do an introductory reading
The first step in starting to learn something self-taught is document what we want to master. Doing an introductory reading is always essential, because it allows us to see, at a glance, the magnitude of what we want to learn.
As a brainstorm, you can search the internet with the phrase “how to learn …”, “what is …”, “how to start playing / playing / talking. .. “
In this way, we will familiarize ourselves with the names of experts in the field, we will see the names of web pages or books that are considered useful for what we want to learn, and we will know of other useful resources to get started.
3. Select the best sources of information
After the initial first reading is done, we need to select the one that is most suitable for learning the desired topic. It is very important that the self-taught process starts off on the right foot, focusing on quality over quantity.
We can search the Internet by putting “What are the best books on …”, “The best blogs …”
You can also turn to YouTube tutorials from people who have a lot of subscribers or who are subject matter experts.
4. You learn from your mistakes
Many people are afraid of making a mistake because, on many occasions, in more classical teaching, it has been suggested that error is synonymous with failure.
Self-taught learning allows us to see that no one is perfect, that everyone learns in their own way, and that we can make mistakes from which we will always learn something useful.
Making mistakes multiple times shouldn’t be seen as a cause of frustration, but as an opportunity to reflect on why we made these mistakes, see if they are common, and understand why something is different from what we are doing. pensions.
5. We need discipline, but hey
The word discipline may sound a bit strong and even seen as a negative thing. In many cases, and especially when it comes to the learning process, discipline is understood to be synonymous with punishment or sanction.
If we want to be good autodidacts, there is no doubt that we have to be consistentAnd for that we need discipline, but understood more as a personal trait than as a penalizing action.
We need discipline, but hey: we need to devote ourselves fully and rigorously to the study and practice of the subject we want to master. Only then can we be successful.
6. Share what has been learned
When learning, whether self-taught or in the classroom, we do not assume an exclusively learning or exclusively teaching role. These roles are not like water and oil; can be combined.
Mastering a subject is not done by reading like hundreds of textbooks owned without coming into contact with other people. It is the interaction with other human beings that allows us to establish our knowledge. For example, by discussing our doubts, we will be able to expand our knowledge and, at the same time, we will be able to explain what we already know to discuss, fostering a context that will always be beneficial for all participants.
These tips are particularly useful in language learning. It is clear that learning the rules of grammar is a useful thing to understand how the language is structured, but without sharing what we know by conversing in this language with other people, we will hardly be able to move forward and know what mistakes. we commit. .
7. Don’t limit yourself to just one source of information
Whether in the nearest library, in bookstores or in the vast and vast world of the Internet, the subject we have decided to tackle can be explored in depth from various resources.
If it is advisable to start from a single source of information, in order to have a first contact with what one wants to master, one should never be satisfied with having recourse to a single point of reference. We can find a free online course that is fairly comprehensive, but that doesn’t mean it has all the information we’re interested in.
The self-taught mind is characterized by never being satisfied with what it has already learned: it always wants more. Even experts are constantly on the lookout for new information, new articles, books and blogs.
8. With effort, anything is possible
It is widely believed that intelligence and talent come in an innate way and therefore it is not possible to change them. Really, this is not entirely true, because an important factor in improving our skills is effort and cCreate habits that encourage learning and do not waste our energies.
We may want to learn to paint and we see that there are people who, in just a few attempts, are already able to do still lifes, while we are still in the most basic. That doesn’t mean we’ll never paint well, what happens is we need to spend more time on it. With effort anything is possible, success is something that will eventually come sooner or later.
9. Discard the trivial
It’s okay to try to learn as much as possible about a topic or watch a lot of tutorials in which we’re taught different ways to do the same thing, whether it’s painting, playing a song on the guitar, or playing a song on the guitar. learning a language, but we need to be able to rule out the trivial.
We will come across a lot of things that we’ve seen before, and some that we really don’t need to know. Spending time on unnecessary things will waste our time and make the path to the goal seem like a titanic thing..
But it must be done with care. If we are beginners, it is better not to take risks and try to absorb like sponges all the useful information and advice from experts on the subject that we are looking for. interested. We can therefore have a good background at the beginning.
10. Measure progress
Measuring progress is an extremely necessary thing to ensure that we are on the right track. It often happens that no matter how impatient we are, by not highlighting the new successes we have achieved we have been stuck and ultimately frustrated.
While there are self-study resources that make it easier for you to write down what you’ve accomplished, especially language apps that tell you which lessons you’ve taken and which you haven’t, in other situations , you are responsible for noting. everything you have ever seen.
It is strongly recommended to write in a journal or journal what was given, to have a more or less meticulous account of the progress of the session and, if possible, to set weekly goals.
11. Define the best learning format
Self-study can be done in several ways, and this is sort of the main benefit of learning. self-taught. The problem is how to choose the most appropriate way to do it.
Video tutorials are great for music or language skills. They are also useful for learning to use a program, draw, do physical activity without injury – …
Written articles, both in blogs and on trade pages, and other resources can cover a variety of topics and be very helpful in furthering them. A good way to tell if an article is good for learning something is to have at least about 1,500 words and accompany them with pictures.
If you are one of those who prefer the physical format on the computer screen, it is a good idea to buy a specialized book.. There are all kinds of them, but particularly useful are those who have solved exercises to understand what he is about to learn.
There are also audios, which are great for those with limited time. stand in front of a computer screen or on a table and read. They can be heard in public transport or while exercising.
12. Define our time and place of study
We do not always have all the free time we want, it is for this reason that in order to devote ourselves to studying something that interests us, we need to define our time and place of study.
It has to be done in a very thoughtful way. We are interested in choosing a time of the day when we have no distractions and the place where we will be studying is a good learning environment. If we’re one of those people who have a hard time getting started or who make us feel that this new hobby is taking time for other priorities, we can start very well, devoting only one hour a week to it.
Once we see that one hour per week is something we can endure, we can increase the number of sessions and their duration until our study time becomes a habit that we still desire and time.
13. Practice makes the teacher
Finally, and as something that seems pretty obvious, the idea that the practice makes the teacher has to come true.
Without practice we will never learn what we want to master. We need to be patient and steadfast, and be aware that with effort, time and desire one day we will have achieved our goal.
Main habits to avoid
Finally, let’s talk about three habits to avoid to make sure the self-study process goes the best way.
1. Repeat mistakes
As we have seen, we should not be afraid to make mistakes, as long as it is seen as an opportunity to understand what we have done wrong and how we can improve it. What not to do is assume that making this same mistake over and over again is inevitable, And don’t devote any energy to avoiding it.
This is what we would call a vice, something that we do out of inertia and that, even though we know it is not right, we continue to do it over and over again with the certainty that all the good we are doing. will compensate.
It might be true that we do the rest of the stuff so well that vice isn’t a big deal, but it might not. It is necessary to try to find a solution, so that not solving it may determine the quality of the rest of the learning.
2. Being disorganized
In a world of high social demands, clutter doesn’t help. If we want to dedicate ourselves to learning something on our own, to make sure we get it, we have to grab the bull by the horns and establish order.
Not making progress, having distractions nearby, having the table full of papers … are factors that hinder self-taught learning. Learning becomes a bit chaotic and doomed to fail.
3. Loss of file
Without consistency, there is no learning. So simple. You can’t start learning when you want to because, if you do, between sessions, the time will be too long to properly regulate the new learning.
Consistency is difficult to maintain, but it is necessary. It is true that we will gradually lose motivation and we will even feel a certain wear and tear and this will give us the feeling of being stagnant, but that is not why we must stop devoting ourselves to what we want to learn.
- Bona, C. (2015) The New Education. Plaza & Janes Editors