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Darren Bloore

The College of Footcare Professionals


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New Year’s Resolutions: How to make sure you get the best out of your learning


With the new year now well and truly upon us how can you make sure that any self-improvement, particularly in learning new skills in the workplace, stick longer than the usual January blip? 

Often those new running shoes will be thrown off come February and the well intentioned diet goes out the window once you have reached your goal, only for the pounds to creep back on.

But what if your resolution is one of learning - in particular distance or e-learning?

Investing time in learning new skills, whether it is for your current role or an area that you want to go into in the future, is one of the most worthwhile things you can do. But, as with many things in life, if you fail to prepare you are preparing to fail.

Given the fact that the learning will not be in a classroom environment that leaves you with a conundrum as to where to hit the books. You may be tempted to head to the local library of café to get your head down for some learning but resist the temptation of the Starbucks coffee and instead make your own personal study haven at home.

Think of it like sleeping. Where do you get your best nights kip? In your own bed of course! You are more relaxed and comfortable and are far more in sync with the noises and ambiance of the building. In fact studying at home is one of the best places to revise, read and digest information.

But how can you make sure you get the best out of learning from home and keep from being distracted.

  • Define your study area

It may sound boring but making sure you have an area that you work in prepared. Some people like music, some people need a window. If you can have a room that you dedicate to this then all the better. If you don’t have enough space for that then try and make sure that there is a space that is just for studying. Sometimes working in a bedroom seems good but your brain associates that area with relaxation and fun, not a good combination for hard work!

  • Printing to perform

Making notes or highlighting important information on printed notes makes it far easier to pick-up from where you left off and is an instant reminder for future reference.

A second plus-point for paper is the ability to use your finger as a guideline for your eyes. Figures show that by doing this, your rate of reading and the amount of information you take in increases by at least 10%. That’s 10 extra things remembered out of 100, which could be the difference between a pass and fail.

  • Flat Feet

Keeping your feet on the ground is sound advice at the best of time but especially so when you are working at home.  Instead of curling up in a lounge chair or sitting with one foot tucked under you on a desk chair, place both your feet flat on the floor with the study materials open in front of you and start reading/writing.  Your concentration will be more focussed and in-tune with learning.

  • Don’t work in bed!

Now we all love our bed and combining the warm, comfortable haven with learning may seem like a great idea, however, your brain is a tricky thing and learning

  • Keep hydrated and make time for breaks

Coffee may keep you alert but water is the best drink whilst studying, as good learning habits depend on hydration. Taking regular breaks is also important; no one can study and absorb information for hours at a time.  Generally 45 minutes is a good yard stick for a good period of study so take a quick breather for 10 to 15 minutes and keep on doing that throughout your study time. Getting away also allows you to absorb what you have learned before starting again.

  • Find other students

The magic of the modern world means that despite working on your own you are only ever a couple of clicks away from someone studying or learning about the same thing you are. If you are learning through a particular provider they may well already have a dedicated area for students to get together and talk about the course and any issues they may have.

If you are learning independently then you will almost inevitably be able to find a Facebook group, forum or some other group that is learning the same thing you are. Being able to speak to others will often illuminate areas of study that you may not previously thought of.

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Darren Bloore


Read more from Darren Bloore

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