Being an innovative learner means becoming an educational risk taker. Deciding to once again hit the books means a lot more than simply taking a few classes; school has changed and so have the ways students are expected to attack the curriculum. Here are a few tips to help you adjust and fully engage in innovative learning.
Use Your Tools
This isn’t your first rodeo; since leaving school and getting out into the workforce, you have probably learned a few things about how you absorb information best. Innovative learning techniques are designed to help the learner harness their already potent learning skills. Are you a thinker, doer, or talker? Whichever helps you interact with and digest information best should be the learning characteristic you use most during the process.
Conceptualizing the Fact
Innovative learning means getting out there and coming up with new ways to solve common problems. This process of "getting your hands dirty" while learning will give you the opportunity to solve a problem using home brewed concepts and hard learned facts. Dissecting complicated problems can help you find each element’s root. Get the facts down on paper, learn them, look at them from different perspectives, and build solid concepts using the information you have gathered. In the beginning phase, don’t discredit improbable concepts, if nothing else these will help you learn what works and what doesn’t.
Step Out on the Ledge
Fear is your enemy. The deeper into the rabbit hole you get, the more information you will gather through inquiry. Be accountable; make it your agenda to answer each question lurking around every corner. Not only will this enhance your perspective on the root problem, it will help you to avoid solution-plaguing pitfalls along the way.
Embracing Your Discoveries
Accept the answers you have found throughout the process. When engaging in innovative learning you absolutely must be open minded. Just because certain answers or new developments do not fit into your initial hypothesis, it doesnt mean it is wrong. Second guessing the discoveries you have made through educated deduction is not an option.
Taking Time for Reflection
An important part of the process is knowing when to take time for reflection. At certain points during the process you may get stuck, other times you may be on a role. Know when it’s time to take a step back and reflect on what you have learned, discovered, and conceptualized. Giving yourself time to think can help you not only develop this vital innovative learning skill, it can also help you discover vital elements to the solution you may have otherwise missed.
Just like taking time for reflection is important, you should also take time to be creative. Play a game, talk with your team, go and listen to some music. Taking time to stimulate the creative side of your brain will enable you to gain different perspectives on the problem and spark creative conceptualizing.
Developing innovative learning skills takes dedication, but also nurturing. Don’t allow yourself to get to caught up in the big picture, break the subject down into more manageable parts. Whether you are a loner, team player, thinker, doer, or talker, use your learning tools to help you carve a path to a solid, accurate solution.
Image via Alexis Grant