We learn to live and we live to learn. There is no start or end to the process of learning, except perhaps birth and death. We learn through everything we do, everything we experience, everything we see, hear, read, touch, taste, or smell. Often, we don’t even know that we are learning, that our experiences are shaping our knowledge. But, equally often, we take part in more structured educational opportunities, such as The Great Courses developed by Thomas M Rollins Teaching. We must all commit to this because when we commit to lifelong learning, we become the best we can be.
We can positively change our lives, that of those who matter to us, our community, and the world by always being committed to learning. The more we know, the more confident we become and the more our self-esteem increases. And once that happens, new opportunities start to present themselves as well.
However, lifelong learning does have to be effective and real, and that means it must be structured at least to a degree. Structure is important, and gives many benefits. The question is, however, what the best type of structure is.
There are many different forms of structured learning, many of which we are familiar with. Kindergarten, primary school, high school, college, university, and so on, are all forms of structured learning. They don’t work for everybody, however, which is one of the reasons why some parents choose to homeschool. But once we have finished our formal education, we really have to start to think about the structure of our lifelong learning opportunities.
Because we live in a digital era, everything is now available online and through digital mediums. The same is true for The Great Courses, which was originally developed some 25 years ago through video tapes. Today, The Great Courses Plus exist, which enables people to stream their courses in the same way as what people stream Netflix.
There is a key acronym to lifelong learning:
- M – Motivation, which is what drives us to learn more.
- A – Acquire, which is how we gain our new pieces of knowledge, for instance through The Great Courses.
- S – Search, which is about always searching for new relevant information that helps us to improve ourselves.
- T – Triggering, which is all about placing ourselves in situations where we can use the information that we have learned.
- E – Examining, which is about reflecting on what we have learned, what still needs to be learned, and how you are progressing through life.
The acronym MASTER is key to the success of the lifelong learning journey. Every time you learn anything, be that through personal experience, by completing a degree at university, or by taking part in The Great Courses for the sheer pleasure of learning, you master something new and you become the master of your own life and your own successes. The day you start learning is the day you have nothing to live for anymore.