Initial learning phase

The first thing that I do at the beginning of a learning journey, is conduct intensive initial research. In this phase I chaotically consume all information available. Whether the subject is Post-Structuralism, a video game or spiritual practice: I consult internet forums, social information platforms, knowledgeable friends and acquaintances. I take advantage of different forms of educational media including text, video, conversation and audio depending on what my daily commitments are. For example, the transit becomes an opportunity for podcasts and audiobooks. I gain an initial sense of the subject of my learning.

Starting my learning journey with this process allows me to quickly ‘get up to speed’, however the uncritical nature of consuming consensus can be problematic. By absorbing the existing thought patterns on a subject, I can inadvertently internalise the prejudices of a system which might limit my imagination later on.

This part of the journey is characterised by excitement and enthusiasm. I am energized by a new idea worlds and fast initial progress. I am ambitious about what this learning will bring for me and I fantasize about myself as someone skilled or knowledgeable.

Mortality phase

My rate of learning begins to slow, and I have thoughts about learning something different, or returning to something I already know. I am reminded by the scale of sustained commitment necessary to achieve fluency in a new subject. I doubt whether further information or mastery will have a greater relevance to my ‘practice’.

The slower pace of learning can result in distractions such as the allure of future ‘rewards’ or the glamour of being knowledgeable.

Why was I drawn to this subject in the first place? Was I seeking external or internal gratification? To maintain ambition I need to examine my motivations and develop a justification for continuing in this process. I am at risk of moving onto another subject.

Finding a rhythm and the maturity phase

Once I have found the justification for continuing with this process, I am able to move to the beginnings of a more mature learning relationship. This phase is typically announced to me through the lack or need for an interactive learning community.

To create this sustainable learning relationship, I introduce structure and social incentive via learning communities. Shared learning experience has the ability to reinvigorate the learning process in a more sustainable fashion.

It is in this collaborative, community driven mode of learning that I find my most sustainable and meaningful long-term projects.