Posted On June 22, 2015

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You’re about to learn something new – what a great opportunity for growth.

With a bit of preparation, you can get a lot more mileage out of the course than just your time in the classroom. The lesson is only the beginning!

Here are some tried and tested techniques to help you get the most out of your learning session.

Before you go

  • Get a good night’s sleep. Your brain is going to be pretty busy so you’ll want to start the day fresh and rested.
  • Have a decent breakfast. It will give you better concentration. Brainpower choices include complex carbohydrates like wholewheat toast or a bowl of oatmeal.
  • Leave plenty of time to get to the training room if it’s outside your office. Arrive late and you’ll miss something and annoy everyone else.
  • Make sure you read any pre-course materials you’ve been given so you’re up to speed as you join the session.
  • Turn off your phone! You don’t want any distractions while you’re in learning mode. You can check email or messages during the breaks.

Over the course of the training session

  • Be open to new ideas and approaches. Some of what you learn may sound strange or challenging at first.
  • Ask plenty of questions to get as much information and clarification as you need. Don’t be shy!
  • Take lots of notes in the style that suits you best, whether that’s mind maps, notes or diagrams.
  • Connect what you’re learning to your personal situation and how you can put the new knowledge into practice. A good way to capture this is to divide a blank page into two columns. On the left, write down a key point you’ve learnt. On the right, make a note of how you might apply that back at work.
  • Try a bit of mindfulness meditation if your brain is feeling a bit frazzled. During a break, find a place to sit quietly for 10 minutes with your eyes closed and clear your mind of your thoughts as you breathe deeply and slowly.
  • Eat well and keep hydrated. Lack of food and water will reduce your ability to concentrate.

At the end of the training

  • Find out where you can go for more information on the subject. Your tutor should be able to recommend books, websites or other learning resources.
  • Prioritise what you can implement back at work. You’ll probably have learnt heaps and need a plan of what to address first so you don’t get overwhelmed.
  • If your tutor has a professional social media account, follow them – you might pick up more tips in the future!

Back at work

  • Allow time for reflection and review. Go over your notes and read any recommended resources.
  • Look for further applications of what you’ve learnt. Your new skills could be helpful in other areas of your work or life.
  • Share highlights of your new learning with your colleagues and help grow their skills too

Apply these techniques to your next learning experience and you can be proud you’ve made the most of it!