How to Learn Faster and Smarter as a Working Adult

Thanks to emerging technology and droves of new graduates, today’s job market is more competitive than ever before. In fact, 78 percent of people said they would consider a job change this year, according to Brightwing Talent Insights Survey Results 2019.

With so many professionals open to making a job change, you’re going to be competing against strong candidates, whether you’re trying to grow in your current position or move into a new one.

How To Learn Faster and Smarter as a Working Adult

As the landscape continues to change and become more competitive, the need to adapt both professionally and personally is critical. Those that will succeed and secure their spot in the corner office have one thing in common: a drive for continuous learning.

Tips & tricks to learn continuously

A continuous learner is someone who’s constantly pushing themselves to expand their skills through learning and knowledge sharing. These individuals are agile, always up to date on current trends, and actively seek out new opportunities to learn skills outside their current role.

If you’re ready to take learning more seriously, and give your skillset a much-needed refresh, use these simple ideas.

Take advantage of technology

Learning has never been easier and more accessible than it is today. Thanks to mobile apps, podcasts, audio books and online education platforms, you can take learning on-the-go.  You can uncover new concepts and expand your knowledge whether you’re sitting in traffic or lounging on the couch.

This means you can learn smarter and faster because you don’t have to wait for course enrollments to get started. Instead, check out these apps and platforms to find the best option for your needs:

  • Udemy
  • Thinkific
  • TED and TEDx
  • Duolingo
  • Coursera
  • Udacity
  • Spotify, Stitcher, Apple (podcasts)

Say “yes” more often

It’s easy to say “no” to new experiences that you’re not familiar with. There’s more of a chance that you’ll fail, than if you simply opt out and avoid it all together. In doing this, however, you deprive yourself of opportunities to learn new things on the fly, like from the coworker who wants help on a project or your boss who is entrusting you with a new task.

Get rid of the word “no” and start saying “yes” to things you’ve never done before. To get into the mindset of taking on new and challenging projects that will push you to learn fast, remember that failing 15 percent of the time is in fact the fastest way to learn, according to a 2019 research.

The more you put yourself in a position to fail, the faster you’ll learn.  

Teach someone

One of the fastest ways to learn is to teach someone. During a study from Washington University, participants  studied a passage. One half of the group was then expected to teach the materials and the other half expected to take a test. Study authors explain:

Participants expecting to teach produced more complete and better organized free recall of the passage (Experiment 1) and, in general, correctly answered more questions about the passage than did participants expecting a test.

Challenge yourself to learn faster and better by teaching someone the skills you’re trying to acquire. You can do this at work or even at home. Just ask your best friend to come over for a quick lesson and then test your new skills.

Set goals

Setting goals helps you stay focused on the skills you want to learn so you don’t get distracted by the many other things on your to-do list. What’s more, goal-setting provides much-needed  direction and a clear path for decision making.

But don’t stop there. Once you know your learning goals, write them down. According to a study conducted by psychologist Gail Matthews, people who wrote down their goals were 33 percent more successful in achieving them compared to those who didn’t. When writing your goals, remember to follow the S.M.A.R.T. formula:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time Bound

This process sets you up for success, holds you accountable and keeps you motivated.

Channel your inner learner

There are so many reasons for acquiring new skills. Not only does it make you more competitive, but it also trains you to be more adaptive to change.

Use the tips and tricks above to learn faster and smarter in the workplace, even if you don’t have a lot of extra time.

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