Reach your goals faster – 5 steps to a personal learning plan

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For many, spending around 15 years acquiring education is enough. Graduating from post-secondary studies usually signals the end of formal education. But in today’s competitive and fast-paced world, what you learned in university or college may not be enough. Watch this video from the Quebec Association for Lifelong Learning to know why you need continuous learning:

The illiterate of the 20th century are not those who cannot read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
Alvin Toffler

“Lifelong learning your way” by the Quebec Association for Lifelong Learning.

Based on the video, we need to continuously learn because of the following demands on modern life:

  • Life expectancy is getting longer. In fact, it has more than doubled in the last millennium. To continue living productive and enjoyable lives, we need to use our minds and learn new skills.
  • We are experiencing advances in technology more than any other generation. To keep up with these changes, we need to acquire new skills and new ways of thinking.
  • An average person may expect six to seven career changes in their lifetime. Because of technological changes, jobs are not for life anymore. People can expect their careers to be in constant flux.
  • We expect more career changes and life transitions in these times. This requires that we have the capacity to re-invent ourselves.

However, learning is easier because accessing information is easier than ever before. Various learning options are available for newcomers to Manitoba. You can learn formally, through institutions or technical training; non-formally, in a variety of environments outside the learning institution such as online seminars, community organizations, libraries, conferences; and informally, when you learn from everyday experiences.

With the many options available, this is where a personal learning plan can come in handy. Here are five tips to start you off:

  1. Do a self-assessment

    An honest and thorough self-assessment will be a good foundation for your learning plan. Knowing your skills, values, and preferences is a good start. Read the article Self-assessment: Your first step to success to know how to do a thorough assessment.

  2. Study your ideal career path

    Look at the job description of the position you want to get (or promoted to), and identify the required skill set and credentials/qualifications needed for that job.

  3. Compare your skills to the skills needed for your goal

    You can list these down, based on your self-assessment (#1) and the skills on #2.  Then identify which skills you need to acquire and study/train for.

  4. Make an action plan

    Write down what you need to achieve using action statements, and then the smaller steps that will lead you to achieving them.  It will look something like this:

    Action plan: Improve language proficiency

    • Enroll in online class with English Online – January 2, 2020
    • Volunteer at the community center – March-June, 2020
    • Read one book every two weeks – Starting January, 2020
  5. Make your plan SMART

    For your plan to work, it must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic (or Relevant) and Time-bound. Your plan must contain as much detail as possible and should be set within reasonable time limits.

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Community Resources

English Online e-facilitators can help you draft your own learning plan. Register with us and start realizing your learning goals.

Developing SMART Learning Goals, a downloadable guide developed by the College Nurses of Ontario can help you understand and develop learning goals whatever profession you practice.

How to Make a Self-Directed Learning Plan , from DIY Genius, will help you schedule (and commit to it) when doing an online course. Includes helpful links to apps.

You can contact Manitoba Start for Career and Education planning workshops and seminars if you need more guidance.

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