One of the steps to becoming a lifelong learner is creating a personalized learning plan and we have the secrets to doing it right!
Part seven in a series.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Do you remember hearing that question when you were younger? The possibilities were endless. You could have been anything – an astronaut, a politician, a teacher.
Fast forward to your career. It’s not too late to be anything you want. All you have to do is embrace lifelong learning, think about what you want to accomplish in life, and tailor your learning experience to meet those goals. We call that learning personalization, here’s a guide to help you get started today.
Below are six ways to personalize your learning to take that next step in your career:
6 Steps To Creating Your Personal Learning Plan
1. Draft Your Learning Vision
“Begin with the end in mind.” – Stephen Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Take the first step: Reflect on yourself to define what you want to learn about. Think about where you want to be in the future and what you want to accomplish. Write down everything that is important to you, including your passions and what makes you happy.
This will help you define what you should learn to get to where you want to be. We call that your “Learning Vision.” Here are some do’s and don’ts as you create your vision:
- Write it down so it sticks with you!
- Be true to yourself to make sure your vision will make you the best version of yourself.
- Consider multiple areas of your life. Work is not the only place where we learn!
- Limit yourself based on your current abilities and skills. Think of things that will force you out of your comfort zone.
- Write down things you think people will want you to do. This is not a “what will make other people happy exercise,” it is a “what will make YOU happy” exercise.
Do you have your vision? Great! Let’s figure out what your learning journey should look like.
2. Develop Your Learning Blueprint
Once you are able to establish a vision of where you want to go, it is time to start researching how to get there. Study people who are living your learning vision, so you can create your own blueprint.
Developing your blueprint is easy…
1. Establish what “End” you have in mind to achieve your learning vision:
- If you have trouble doing this, take a minute to close your eyes and imagine yourself in that new life. It could be on a beach, teaching a class, mentoring someone, anything really.
2. Find a person – or more – who mirrors the type of person you want to become:
- This could be someone you really admire or someone with a combination of traits you think are ideal.
3. Do some research on how they got to where they are:
- If famous, you can probably find information on the internet.
- If not famous, you may be able to talk to them directly. They would be honored to know that someone looks up to them.
4. Once you know the end and the beginning, figure out important milestones in between:
- Did the person go through a struggle?
- Did the person get a certain type of degree?
- Did the person make certain relationships to succeed?
Anything that serves as a stepping stone to reaching that vision should be part of your “Learning Blueprint.” This blueprint should be detailed enough that it outlines what topics you need to learn and the skills necessary.
3. Set Measurable Goals
“What gets measured gets managed.” -Peter Drucker
To make sure you accomplish your vision, you must draft measurable goals. Here’s how:
- Be specific, yet simple – enough for a kid to read and understand your goals.
- Ensure they’re measurable – with realistic metrics.
- Make them time-specific – so you have deadlines to meet.
- Keep them handy – somewhere you and others can see it.
After setting goals, it is important to find resources to make your personalized learning plan a success.
4. Find Your Resources
Resources can come in many different forms, such as books, videos, podcasts, people, webinars, and more. Before deciding what resources you will use, answer these questions:
- What style of learning fits you best?
- Who in your community or network can help?
- What types of resources can help fulfill your plan?
Take full advantage of all learning avenues: the library, online resources, and people you interact with every day. People in your network will most likely be happy to share expertise and resources. Just ask! Some of these people may have content of their own that you can consume or have tips on where to go to get you to where you want to go.
5. Learn Like Your Life Depends On It!
In order to accomplish your goals, you will need to set aside time to learn. Most of us are or at least claim to be, very busy. There is always time to learn:
- Schedule dedicated time each day or certain times during the week to consistently learn. Take a look at this article for ways you can learn before your morning coffee.
- Use time management tools such as your calendar or phone reminders to make time for learning. After it’s a habit, get creative with times and resources to aid your learning.
For the final step, reflect on your experience and make changes as you need to.
6. Stay On Top Your Learning Plan
Keeping track of what you learn and reflecting on it is one of the most powerful parts of your personalized learning experience.
Life is variable and things change, it’s okay to re-evaluate your goals and plan. This reflection time gives you the opportunity to pivot to achieve the success you are looking for.
If you’re not sure how to do this, try Degreed, a learning management system. Centric employees use Degreed to keep track of their learning and gain new skills. This way, we know how far we’ve come and how much learning we have left to accomplish our goals.
Try This Free Learning Guide
Are you ready to personalize your learning journey? If yes, here’s our gift to you: A Learning Goal Tracker Guide.
Begin with the first two steps in this blog. Then fill out the guide. Good luck on your journey to becoming a lifelong learner!