Monday, August 05, 2013

Step On It: Maximize Your Education

Financial education for most of us comes in our adult life. I don't mean learning the value of money here, I'm talking about seeking financial freedom. Most of the population will not seek out this type of education. If you are reading my blog, you are different. You are seeking further education to obtain financial freedom.

There are many courses and webinars out there dedicated to financial education and investing. As you may be aware, I reached out to Rich Dad Education to grow my knowledge on financial freedom. Regardless of the method you choose, we are all exposed to the same hurdle. We are adult students.

In my past life, I was a pharmacy technician. I came at a point in my career where to move forward I would have to upgrade my high school education and proceed to a more advance pharmacy technician program. At one point I decided I would give it a try and enrolled for a correspondence biology course. At that stage in my life I was married with two toddlers. Finding time to dedicate to studies was very hard for me. When I did sit down with my text book, the distraction proved to be too great for my learning success. I never did pass that course.

Sometimes, we have younger attendees at the three day basics. Whether it is real estate or stocks, the young teenagers will answer questions that are asked to the group correctly before everyone else in the room (the adults). Kids are little sponges and can absorb a vast variety of information much better then adults can.

So how, as adult students, can we ensure we will get the most of this education we are seeking out later in life?

You may come across a great teacher and your learning experience will be effortless. If the presenter is not to par, you should be able to still make sure you get the most of the information provided. Or if your source of learning is directly from books, you will have to take a few extra steps with the information you are getting to truly get the most of it.

The 8 Learning Principals:

1- Multi-Sense Learning: When two or more senses are used.
Confucius says:
I hear and I forget
I see and I remember
I do and I truly understand
 When getting access to new information, may it be from a presentation to a book, be sure to get access to the information in multiple ways. Take notes when a presentation is verbal. If reading a book, read out loud to also hear what your eyes are seeing. Most of all, put to practice what your are learning.

2- Active Learning: Learning by doing. When actively involve in our learning there is a greater learning and application. For example, problem solving, discussion, case studies. Put to practice what you are learning to the events around you, present of past.

3- Primacy and Recency: We have a tendency to remember more the first and the last part of any sessions. Introduction and summary are vitally important for learning.
To maximize your learning you can cut up your exposer to the material, this is called "Chunking". Lots of mini sessions aid memory. If the presenter is not doing this for you; in between those session create your own introduction (summarizing what you learn in the previous session) and at the end of you session create a summary (what you learn in the session you have just completed)

4- Feedback: The learners and the presenter needs feedback to ensure that the material is been understood. When in an interactive session (live webinars or live classes) be sure to provide feedback. Participate to the questions and discussion to make sure you are properly absorbing the information that is been presented. When learning from a book feedback may be a little harder, but when summarizing the portion you just learn; feel free to reread the passage that may not be clear to you.

5- Reward: We all feel better if our efforts are rewarded. Training must include tangible results to feel positive and satisfied. This set up a virtuous cycle for learning. Be sure to take the time to take notice and to reward your success.

6- Practice and Repetition: Memory requires repetition; practice and recall of the material. The doing is such a big part of the learning process. If you are not going to do the doing, you may as well forgo the learning. When reading, I really enjoy the books that have the action list at the end of each chapter. When an action list is not made available to you may they be your books or other form of learning, be sure to create your own.

7- Meaningful Material: You will learn best when the material is relevant and can be utilised in practical ways. Be sure you expose yourself to the education that you are seeking to reach your goal. I was at the library today and noticed a book titled "A Canadian's Guide To Saving Money". I didn't pick up that book. I am not interested in learning to save, I'm seeking to learn how to invest my money to make it grow.

8- Holistic Learning: Get the context on the big picture and then specific details will provide a logical framework of thinking. Our mind will be better equipped to properly store specific information when it know where that information will fit in the grand scheme of things.

Humans are social creatures and have a need to belong within a social setting. When a course is well prepared, they will take the social aspect of their course in consideration and it will fit into the curriculum. If not, be sure to take those task upon yourself to get the most of your experience.

  • Introduce yourself
  • Participate to group activities
  • Take advantage or outside socialising opportunities
We need to be comfortable to learn effectively. But too much comfort could also make us drowsy. In a larger group setting it is hard to keep everyone comfortable. So take a few steps to ensure your comfort to maximize your learning. Dress in layers so that you can keep comfortable no matter the room temperature. Bring snacks and drinks so that you are not distracted by hunger and thirst.

Try to keep distraction to a minimum if you can. You will probably not learn a lot from a book in front of a TV with your favourite show on.

Looking back now, I can see why I struggled so much with my biology studies. I exposed myself to one form of learning, the text book and the distractions where great and it was information I did not put to practice. With the Rich Dad Education classes, the information was made available to me in different stages and in different mediums with lots of hands on practice. My learning from those classes were very successful.