Merriam-Webster defines learning as:
- The act or experience of one that learns.
- Knowledge or skill acquired by instruction or study.
- Modification of a behavioral tendency by experience (as exposure to conditioning).
When we were little, that meant counting to ten or reciting the alphabet. As we aged, it turned into having group discussions, taking tests, and defending a thesis. Now as adults, learning comes in many different shapes and forms, and usually with the option of going at our own pace. No matter the format, I think we can all agree that learning is a continuous process that should keep on going.
Listed below are four adult learning processes that I value.
Participating in continuing education. This is probably the most obvious of the bunch, but not everyone chooses to engage. Whether it is through in-person trainings, webinars, obtaining credentials, or completion of certificate programs, continuing education serves as a fantastic way to develop your skills and keep up to date with what’s going on in your industry.
Reading. One of my favorite parts of the day is when I get to read on my commute to and from work. Whether it’s for work or for pleasure, reading grants you the ability to let your mind soar and create new ideas. In addition, it expands your vocabulary and challenges your brain.
Interacting with humans. Remember the days before email and social media? I completely understand and agree with adapting and changing with the times, but in-person human interaction is, in my opinion, a way of learning that can never be replaced. I’m not referring to formal meetings and trainings, but rather normal, everyday conversations with co-workers, family, and friends.
Experiencing life. Take that once in a lifetime vacation, run a marathon (or in my case, a 5k), take photography lessons, or go see the play you’ve been dying to see. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn about yourself and about life just by experiencing it.
Every individual is different, so what works for one person might not work for someone else. The important thing is that the learning never stops.