Higher ed professionals must be lifelong learners, prepared to keep up with continuous developments in their respective fields.
However, you haven't truly learned something until you've applied it in your daily life, the Forbes Coaches Council writes in a recent post. They offer more than a dozen suggestions from their members for translating a lesson into action.
Idea 1: Relate it to your strengths. Look for ways to use your strengths or previous skillset to act on the lesson.
Idea 2: Buddy up. Schedule regular meetings with a colleague in which you both share your goals and hold each other accountable for meeting them.
Idea 3: Connect it to your broader goals. Make sure you understand why you're practicing this new skill and how it will help you or your department in the long term.
Also see: 9 habits of lifelong learners
Idea 4: Set milestones. Identify at least one concrete way to measure your progress, even if it's merely repeating a new behavior or ceasing an old one. Once you achieve it, set the next one.
Idea 5: Practice regularly. You'll forget what you've learned if you rarely use it. After a training, schedule regular practice sessions until you've mastered the new skill.
Idea 6: Check if it's working. After implementing something new, take an honest look around: Are you seeing evidence of the change you hoped for? If not, you may need to take a new approach.
Idea 7: Make a plan. Identify small, concrete steps that will get you to your goal, then write them in a journal where you can hold yourself accountable and track your progress.
Idea 8: Learn the same thing different ways. If you're mostly learning via textbooks or the internet, look for face-to-face workshops where you can dive deep on a specific concept or get a fresh perspective on something you've learned before.
Idea 9: Share what you know. Write a short article in simple language explaining what you've learned. The process codifies your knowledge and can reveal gaps in your understanding.
Idea 10: Do a flash brainstorm. Set a timer for 15 minutes, then write down as many ideas as you can in that time about how you could work toward your goal or use what you've learned.
Idea 11: Get a mentor. Find someone who has tried a similar project before, then meet with that person regularly for advice and encouragement.
Idea 12: Make mistakes. Experience is the best teacher, so don't be afraid to take a risk by practicing what you've learned. The feedback you receive after a mistake will be valuable for refining your approach.
Idea 13: Schedule it. Set aside a specific time each day or week to practice and work towards short- and long-term goals.
Idea 14: Track your progress. Pay attention to (or note in a journal) how your behavior changes as you advance through your studies. If you notice areas where you haven't improved much, consider reviewing your lessons in those areas (Forbes Coaches Council, Forbes, 1/16).
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