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Learning

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You may be starting a new job or maybe you have been given a great deal more responsibility in your current role. Working at a startup is quite different to working for a large corporate organisation. You often have to learn on the job, teaching yourself and developing your skills independently. So, here I will share with you the best ways to teach yourself your job.  Also how to self train and develop yourself further. If you work in a small business then formal training might not be available and if you work in a startup then you certainly have to teach yourself.

Ask Questions

Ok, so it may sound fairly obvious, but many people shy away from questions encase they are deemed incapable. If you work in a startup/small business any good business leader will encourage it. I would say anytime is a good time to ask questions although my school teacher’s would certainly disagree.  If you have been given a project and don’t understand something, or if you are unsure – ask away. If you  don’t understand the direction of things – ask away. Maybe you don’t know how to do something  – ask away. The worst case and I have had these a few times is the answer is ‘I don’t know, research it’. Which is fine, it just means that they currently don’t posses that knowledge either.

Google is your friend ( other search engines are available). Ask away- now when you ask try to be specific about what you want to know as that way you will get the best articles and sources of knowledge. So for example don’t ask “how do I measure performance on social?” but instead ” what are the key performance indicators on twitter that your audience is engaged with your brand?”

What do you mean picture

Have a go – best way to teach yourself

Literally the first three months of my job was all about trial and error. It is the best way to learn. It’s better to fail early and learn what you did wrong then cruise by for months and learn lessons too late. So if this means you need to go back to your boss and say look I am going to try this. That is ok , say it may fail, but we need to find out what works. Just explain that in order to learn what is needed and what the business should be doing  involves trial and error. You will have to try a lot of things to discover what works.

If you are working in a startup/ small business they will understand it’s important to embrace risk early on. The  bigger you grow the more difficult risk  becomes. It can feel disheartening to try so many things and to see so little progress. However, trial and error suits if you need to teach yourself your job because there is no formal training.  It’s the best way to test out the things you have read or watched or heard.

We have tried many campaigns that didn’t work, that I had put hours into but they taught us vital lessons. If you are worried about the amount of failure you will encounter then have a honest chat with your boss. Outline exactly what you want to try and what the possible outcomes could be. Then after your ‘tests’ then sit down and discuss your learning. You can not be seen as damaging the business if your failed tests are providing the business with vital lessons for the future. Obviously before you try something make sure you do a bit of research so you’re not just doing it off the fly.

Man discussing ideas with woman

Be Proactive

The best way to get better at your job quicker is to be proactive in your desire to learn. So this could be a range of things, from doing your own research, to attending events and taking courses.  I was overwhelmed with the amount of things I didn’t know and my team didn’t have the answers.  My proactive approach led me to listening to relevant podcasts on the tube to work. I  enrolled myself in a course on Hootsuite to teach myself more about social media marketing. I  read a lot,  around different areas.

Events are also a great thing to attend, you can network, learn more and get a fresh perspective on something you might be struggling with.  I am often looking for free events to attend that are in London and are on topic areas related to my job. As you don’t have an official path of progression , it can be difficult to find training that will aid you in your development. Therefore, seek out courses you can take or events you can attend.  Your boss will be pleased you are taking charge of your own development. Most of the time they will be happy to fund this depending on the need of the business and the relevance to your role.

be proactive- Take a course to teach yourself

Join communities in your field

Through joining a community you are  likely going to learn a lot from each other an teach yourself a lot in the process. This could be direct helpful comments, could be relevant articles/ podcasts or courses. Some of the communities that I joined was looking at Facebook groups.  I also was building up a base of twitter users who post relevant content regularly and realized that this was a great source of knowledge not only for our audience but also for myself. Depending on your role you might find that networking events and attending them regularly is a great way to discuss practices and tips and tricks.

Teach yourself by meeting new people

 

 

Music oh sweet music. What are the chances you are actually listening to something right now? Pretty high? Music plays a massive role in our life! The average spotify user listens to 148 mins of music a day! But did you know the role it can play on learning?

Does music improve learning?

Many of you may listen to or have listened to something before while studying for an exam, revising or maybe completing a long essay. It is a heavily debated topic as to whether music actually improves learning and increases the intake of information. Many articles have been written laying claim that it can alter the brain’s processing to process more information and help implant it into your memory.

“Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time, and the activation of both hemispheres can maximize learning and improve memory,” says Dr. Masha Godkin

However, there is also a lot of articles saying it actually doesn’t help and it could worsen leaning.  The reason they think it will worsen the learning process is because it will actually distract you from focusing on what you should be doing.  In this articles they discuss how in order to learn and retain information we often need to be absent of distractions. They beleive the best environments to learn are those that are silent and quite.

 

Mozart Effect

 

We don’t know  if it helps or hinders. There has not been enough research conducted and it’s also a difficult thing to measure. There is arguments that the myths of being able to learn better when listening to music came about because the Mozart effect. The Mozart effect is a term referring to the results of a study done in 1993 which claimed that “listening to Mozart‘s music may induce a short-term improvement on the performance of certain kinds of mental tasks known as “spatial-temporal reasoning;”[1]”.

If you’re going to listen to something what should you listen too?

It’s interesting to think that music could actually aid in your study and learning efforts. So if you personally like listening to something while learning and you find it works for you – what’s the advice?

So the general advice is classical is the best option as it could increase our mood and productivity. There has been research and many people including myself have felt the calming effect of classical music and it’s soothing notes. Advice of what not to listen to appears to be anything that is going to excite you. Also anything that has a beat, that  gets you dancing and tapping your feet. Also nothing that is super lyric heavy or you will be singing to your heart’s content.

Does music that relax you help?

There are a great deal of relaxing melodies and study playlists on YouTube which are a combination of gentle sounds and nature. A study by Health found that listening to nature sounds actually increased the physical and mental signs of relaxation, which in turn increases the your chance of learning. There has been new evidence in the study which looks closely at how the brain’s working memory functions when it’s exposed to different stimuli that relaxes it such as music. This is because if you are more relaxed you are likely to take in more information. “Our research shows that when memory-related neurons are well coordinated to theta waves during the learning process, memories are stronger,” said Adam Mamelak, a neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The jury is still out on the effect of music and learning.  It’s fair to say that relaxation and focus is important. If you find that music does help you, you  are probably in a better state of mind to absorb information. It seems at the moment that everyone is different so keep doing what you find works for you.

How can you use music in your teaching?

If you are an educator/ teacher/course creator who and looking for a way to teach online. Then help your students by offering them varying  content types with HowNow. 

So if you teach music- music is pretty much a compulsory part of your lesson. However, if you teach something like financial management and  you  want to incorporate  this in because you really think it will help – by all means do. How? Well let’s say there are parts of your  course that are less engaging such as reading through some theory. You can upload an audio file for the learner to listen to while reading the text. This way, for those that think they learn better with music, have recommended music by you and for those that prefer silence can take this option. Your learners will be grateful and impressed you are trying to suit multiple learner types by giving them the extra resources to learn in the way they prefer.

To create your own online school, check out  HowNow.

 

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