When was last time you sought to learn something new?

Maybe you searched online for the perfect recipe for rosemary focaccia.

An animated recipe book on a table Or you decided it was time to take up a new hobby, like hoola-hooping.

Girl on yellow background hoola-hooping

Where did you go to learn that new thing?

Did you Google a "how to"? Watch a tutorial on Youtube? Go to the hive mind on Twitter?

Or maybe you "Rumie'd" it?

A veritable in-pocket trainer, your smartphone is often your ticket to learn.

It holds libraries of learning material. Collections of courses. Galleries of images. Stacks of digital books.

You're A Modern Learner

No matter your age or your degree of expertise, if you live in the modern world, you're a modern learner.

1. You may be overwhelmed with information.

Chat apps. News apps. Networking apps. Notifications upon notifications. Nudges to take more footsteps. Reminders to practice gratitude. What's ups on WhatsApp.

A person holding their eyes and peeking through their fingers while holding a smartphone

Accessing information is rarely an issue. But assessing information as trustworthy and true is tricky.

2. You get answers when you want 'em.

Google. Quora. Reddit. However you ask the question, the only thing that lies between you and the solution is often the speed of your broadband.

A person doing exercise while using a smartphone

3. You're on the move.

Wanna learn something? You make it happen! On the bus. In the locker room. At the dog park. No single institution or location lays claim to your curiosity.

You Like Things Your Way

4. You live in an era of personalization.

From your coffee to your newsfeed, most things these days come tailored to your tastes and tendencies.

You march to the beat of your own drum. And when you march past the Starbucks, you want an extra-foamy almond milk cappuccino with your name on it.

A person scrolling through their phone looking at personal data

Bending to someone else's timetable and timezone may not always jive with your itinerary. You may hold two jobs in two different countries and homeschool your three-year-old Goldendoodle.

Quiz

Personalized learning might include:

Your Friends And Colleagues Are Modern Learners Too

5. You're social.

You're on Slack. LinkedIn. Miro. You stash shared spreadsheets in the Cloud. A study buddy mentions your handle on TikTok and pushes you to get your groove on.

A group of people dancing. Text: Shimmy if you're with her.

6. You're collaborative.

Every day, there's another tool to pool resources, to work jointly.

Pathways of learning frequently cross. Your colleagues are your teachers, your students, your peers.

On Instagram, someone might ping you with a tech tipoff. Another posts pie-baking hacks. Yet another follows your climate action hashtag and re-shares your edu-meme.

Quiz

Which of the following is NOT a benefit of collaborative learning? Choose the best answer.

Take Action

A person's brain animated to show activity with different colors

Want to be the best modern learner you can be?

Let go of some of the myths you may have around modern learning!

For example:

  • A dedicated quiet study space doesn't necessarily improve your learning.

  • It's better to learn in multiple contexts and locations and to integrate your learning seamlessly into everyday life.

  • Some distractions (like music in the background) improve memory retention!

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This Byte has been authored by

NM

Nancy Miller

Director of Learning