Chances are, it’s been a while since you were in school. And even if it hasn’t, it’s probably been a while since you had the chance to design your own learning project, simply because it’s not something encouraged in traditional schools. But I hope if you’re reading this, you’re working on a project that’s challenged your current skills and you’re trying to figure out how to best learn what you need to know.
Fortunately, gathering your own learning resources is a pretty easy skill to pick up, mostly because it’s something you’ve probably been doing without even realizing it.
Start by thinking about what you prefer to do. Do you prefer to read, to watch, or to listen? If you can answer that question, then you can get started. If you prefer to read, find books, websites, and blogs related to the skill you want to learn. If watching is more your speed, YouTube and Vimeo have a lot to offer. But there are also some real gems among reality and documentary-style shows, so keep an open mind as you’re considering your options. For those who prefer to listen, you can augment YouTube, Vimeo, and television with podcasts and audiobooks. You can even find blogs and websites and have your computer’s text-to-speech tool to read it to you.
Once you have your pool of resources, don’t be afraid to change things out as you go. Maybe a podcast wasn’t what you expected, so replace it with something else. Maybe you’ve learned all you can from a blog. Find another resource to take its place. Don’t feel overly committed to your resources – They’re there to help you learn what you need to know. When you’ve outgrown them, let them go.
One more thing: While you’re working on growing and using your resources, keep an eye on that tickler file you’ve been building. It’s amazing what you already have and can use while you’re focused on a certain project or skill.
All right, that’s it for now. If you have’t already, start building your learning resource library, and then start using it.