April 21, 2020

Debunking misconceptions about learning

Stuck at home or bored from social distancing? There are still lots of interesting ways to try new things through learning!


During this pandemic, people are spending their days at home, mostly working if they’re able to. Although it is making us all very uneasy, especially as we face an uncertain future, we know that staying at home and practicing social distancing is the right thing to do for our safety and that of others.


Many of us are trying to make the best of our enforced confinement by turning to new hobbies, trying new recipes in the kitchen, tending to gardens or staying fit with home workout routines. Some have taken up the challenge of developing new skills. For many others, this is also a great opportunity to focus on self-care.


No matter how we decide to fill our days, we tend to try new things as well. With anything new, we are always learning.


The sad reality is that learning is often associated with a boring classroom or an online course video that uses one-way communication or lectures. But the truth is, there are many other ways to learn.


Learning doesn’t have to be boring. Depending on your pace and interests, learning can become fun when you find out that there’s more to it than one-way training or lecture halls.


It’s time to shed our misconceptions and here’s why: when you misunderstand the power of learning, you stop yourself from developing yourself and realizing your true passions in life, and achieving your true potential. Along with boring lecture halls and one-way online communication, here are some more misconceptions about learning that we need to debunk.


Myth 1: Learning is only about advancing your career


Yes, indeed, we often learn to help with work, but it doesn’t stop there. Learning can help us grow on a personal level, not just in our jobs and careers. Much like building job skills, we also need to learn when developing life skills such as cooking or gardening.


Myth 2: We must sacrifice our free time to learn, and that in the end, we won’t get the rest we need.


We are not computers that can work and learn non-stop; we all need time off.  If we plan our learning to fit our daily schedule, it doesn’t have to take away from the time you need to rest and do personal errands. After all, we’re human. But at the same time, we can’t sit still and expect to gain the skills we want. The key is finding that balance.


Myth 3: The notion that we cannot fulfill our dreams through learning


To an extent, this is very true, in that knowledge and theory alone cannot take us where we want to go. The fact is, the learning experience is about more than just acquiring knowledge. To complete the experience, you need to practice and apply what you’ve learned in daily life. The ability to apply your learning can be difficult but it is nonetheless crucial for building the bridge between ourselves and our dreams.


Myth 4: It can be difficult for us to learn what seems like natural talent to others


We often hear that we are born with certain talents and intelligence, but it doesn’t mean we cannot learn to develop those talents. The true question is: are we committed enough to learn the skill and constantly practicing to achieve mastery?


Myth 5: The quality and effectiveness of online learning aren’t that great.


If you’ve followed a tutorial on YouTube before, you’ll know that this is a big misconception. These days, we may not have a lot of resources to spend on learning nor a safe space for workshops and classes, but we have the time to learn. Depending on our priorities, we can spend some money on learning or just learn for free on many platforms offering free courses.


All in all, learning doesn’t have to be viewed as an organizational priority, especially in times of stress such as we are facing now. Rather, learning can be anything you want it to be, as long as you’re working toward the goals you want to achieve.


Learning can also be a way of relaxing but, especially during this time, it can be an opportunity to step back and finally learn new things that we’ve always wanted to try.


Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC – Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@new.seasiacenter.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa. Explore and experience our lifelong learning ecosystem today at https://www.yournextu.com