Months after I finished university, I would shudder at the thought of reading a book, so traumatised was I by those four years spent learning. It took me many more years to feel comfortable with the concept of learning as a lifelong activity.
Ours is a creative, problem solving industry. We iterate constantly, improving on what’s come before us. Industry standard 5 years ago can be career limiting today. We see a never ending addition of skills, process and software across the many disciplines that comprise our industry. It’s little wonder many of us admit to feeling overwhelmed by the speed at which our industry is evolving.
Much like admin and chasing payments, learning needs to find its way into the routine of every practicing designer. And while there are a handful of key skills we all must keep abreast of; for many learning to learn is paramount.
There are many different ways of learning. Some, such as the methods traditionally taught at school have long since been proven ineffective. Others, for instance, sleep-learning (hypnopedia) are slowly shifting from science fiction to fact.
However, the key to effective learning lies firmly with the learner. Understanding how you learn is the first step to discovering the most effective learning resources and acquiring valuable new skills.
At it’s most basic, we learn in three distinct fashions. By listening, by watching and by doing. Some prefer one single method while others prefer a combination of all three. Investigating a range of resources, from instructional videos to good old fashioned books, will help you understand how you ingest and process information.
Sadly, knowing how you learn is a waste of time if you’re not willing to prioritise your learning. Learning isn’t something you can fit around your busy schedule, it has to become part of your schedule. There’s little point diving into a new skill when you have a spare 20 minutes at the end of a stressful day.
You’ll have limited success with learning styles and resources if you’re unwilling to make a life-long commitment to learning.