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Guest post by Assemble You.
Think back over the week just gone. It was probably hectic, and you may feel like you didn’t have a minute to spare. Think about how valuable (or not!) these moments would have felt for you:
Your initial response to these situations might be frustration rather than enthusiasm. In these scenarios, you might tally up the wasted time and resign yourself to mindlessly scrolling instead of prioritising productivity. You might label the experiences as pointless.
Maybe you haven’t yet identified which part of your day could be the most valuable for learning.
Did you have headphones to hand when you were last out and about? Could the above scenarios all be moments of opportunity, especially if you’re listening to content on the go? Could audio courses unlock new time for learning? Research indicates that there are numerous meaningful chances for productivity, and various ideal times for learning, in your day-to-day life, as we’ll explore in this article.
Brief is Best
Picture using 10 minutes each day for meaningful learning. Imagine making the most of the time you previously saw as wasted. Without making significant changes, you’ve got more available time than ever before. Plus, learning doesn’t have to be a laborious, time-consuming commitment to be beneficial, especially if you’re listening while doing other productive tasks.
A trial by the University of Surrey Business School in collaboration with Paul Kelley, former President of Education for the British Association for the Advancement of Science, revealed the benefits of learning in short bursts. According to HR Dive’s analysis, students retained more information and scored higher on tests when they absorbed knowledge in this way.
In this article for Medium, Edwin Abl highlights the importance of embedding learning into your daily routine. And with podcast-style courses to listen to when you’re going about your everyday life, you can certainly “design habits so they fit around your lifestyle”. Abl encourages us to “use whatever tool, medium or process fits the most simplistic use-case”. Learning can be placed in the flow of life; it doesn’t have to be separate from it. It certainly doesn’t have to be in opposition to it. In this HBR article, the authors explore making learning part of your daily routine and highlight the importance of investing in your ability to learn on a daily basis. They especially focus on developing new habits and experimenting with different opportunities to learn.
Audio learning could be just this: an experiment embedded as a daily habit whilst we’re running, commuting or gardening. Munish Kohli says exactly this here and explains how commuting especially can be a powerful learning opportunity. Department for Transport statistics show that in 2020 people made 739 trips on average across private and public transport in England. And even if you’re not commuting, you’re most certainly driving to the supermarket, dropping your children off at school, or visiting friends.
The Key to Learning
There is huge value in content being easily digestible to ensure key ideas remain in our longer-term memories. This article explores the power of micro-learning experiences and this is inextricably linked to how ”hand-held technology has launched a new phenomenon: learning on the go”, as another article highlights. The former concludes that more knowledge is retained when information is delivered in smaller chunks. Learners agreed they were more likely to remember ideas if a lesson covered a clear core concept and knowledge was presented in a shorter format.
So we have the theory, but what about the reality? You’re busy, you’re often on the move, and you don’t feel like any time is “spare time”. You’re seeking professional development content, but family life is full-on and you can’t face enrolling on a time-consuming training course to complete in an evening. There might be more opportunities for growth than you think. Perhaps it’s time for a rethink. After all, research also shows the benefits of physical activity on cognitive abilities, so wouldn’t it make sense to combine the two? You can keep moving, planning, socialising, working, and seamlessly introduce more learning.
Introducing more learning into your life doesn’t require any radical adjustments, as we’ve seen. If you’re commuting, there’s time. If you do any form of exercise to unwind, enjoy being on the move, or love relaxing at home, there’s time. The time has always been there, but you might not have always capitalised on it.
Waiting, sitting or walking can also mean listening if you have the right resources. Assemble You training is now available through Espresso Tutorials, and all courses prioritise flexibility. With audio learning, you don’t need to make time to listen. The time already exists; it’s just a case of realising it’s there and identifying its value.