There are different ways of learning, and we all have our individual preferences when it comes to learning styles. Some of us like to learn through reading and following step-by step instructions from a manual whereas others prefer to learn hands-on by doing the task. Others prefer face-to-face learning. And many enjoy learning via online classes or YouTube videos as this allows them flexibility with their time management for attending classes. Who wouldn’t like to become an expert learner – someone who really knows how to master learning and getting good results? And how do these expert learners get that way? There are three key characteristics for expert learners: Actively engage. Expert learners actively engage with material to be learned. They are not lazy thinkers or passive readers or listeners. What I teach to another, I master. The more actively engaged a learner is with the content, the better the individual learns and the more the individual remembers. Take responsibility. Expert learners take responsibility for their own learning. They view learning as something they do for themselves, not something that is done to them or for them. Practice self-regulated learning. Expert learners use specific processes to motivate themselves and to guide their own learning. These processes include planning their learning, monitoring progress while implementing the learning plan; and evaluating the outcome of the plan once it’s completed. What makes expert learners different? Based on these three key characteristics, expert learners differ from less skilled learners. Expert learners control the learning process rather than become a victim of it. They are active, not passive, in their approach to learning, are motivated (e.g. enjoy learning, have specific short- and long-term goals), and are disciplined (i.e. have learned good habits and use them consistently). Expert learners are more aware of themselves as learners (e.g. know their own strengths and weaknesses), initiate opportunities to learn, set specific learning goals for themselves, and have a larger repertoire of learning strategies from which to choose. They know not only what to learn, but how to learn. Accordingly, they plan their approach to learning, monitor their learning while it’s happening (e.g. notice when they’re not learning and, therefore, adjust their learning approach), and are more adaptive because they do self-monitor while learning. As a result of these differences, expert learners ultimately learn more with less effort. Whether you are an expert learner or not, the important thing is that you continue to learn and nurture your passion and desire for learning new things.
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