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Lifelong Learning » How can I learn more effectively?

Ask yourself, what is it that I need to learn? Only you can honestly answer that question and sometimes the answer may not be immediately obvious. You may think that you already know what you are doing, yet, with a little bit of external assistance, you might be able to be so much more effective. Think how often, for example, you've bought a new electrical appliance - a DVD player say - brought it home, plugged it in and wondered why it wouldn't work before finally resorting to reading the instruction book.

Developing your own ability is most effective when you set clear objectives for yourself and then evaluate your performance against the requirements for meeting those objectives. Monitor your job performance carefully; this will often help identify learning needs.

It can also help to sit down with others, such as your line manager or business adviser, to consider your learning needs. Often they will undertake training needs analysis with you. This is simply a review of your current and anticipated business activities and objectives, broken down in detail, followed by an analysis of your competence in completing each of those activities. Learning needs can then be easily identified.

Do not feel that once started in business you can no longer seek help, assistance and training. There is considerable support available. No one will think any less of you for asking; indeed, quite the reverse. Business support organisations will be delighted to help in every possible way - identifying needs, helping with training that is appropriate or assisting in other ways, such as, for example, developing a strategy for growth or introducing ISO9000. It is recognised that people in business do need help the first time they do something new - and probably the second and possibly the third time as well. Furthermore, the business support organisations can help you to identify the changes, if any, that will be necessary both in your own working practice and that of your business and then assist you in managing those changes.

Active learning
This article looks at some of the methods for obtaining information to address your learning needs.

Evaluating the experience
This article discusses the importance of evaluating your learning experience.

Keeping up your learning
Strategies for continuing your learning

Review your learning
This article discusses why you should review your learning

Taking notes
This article discusses the mind-mapping method taking notes

What do you need to learn?
This article discusses how you can identify what it is you need to learn