360 – Making the Most of Personal Learning 2

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Transcript

Welcome back to the Skills 360 podcast. My name’s Tim, and today we’re going to look at some more tips and ideas for making the most of your personal learning.

And FYI: listening to Skills 360 just got easier. Yes, this podcast now has its own channel on iTunes. If you don’t already subscribe, visit BEP or myBEonline for the free subscription links.

Okay, so last week I talked about setting yourself up with a system of personal learning. Today, I’m going to be talking about maintaining your momentum and staying on track.

All right. You’ve set some goals, found some resources, and come up with a plan for your personal learning. How are you going to stick to that plan? One of the greatest things you can do to maintain your momentum is to establish a routine. If you keep thinking that you’ll study if and when you get the time, or if you just try to fit in some listening practice every now and then when you get 20 minutes of free time, chances are you won’t achieve your goals. You’ll go nuts with frustration. You need to be regular. This usually means studying at the same time every day. Whether it’s on your commute, over your morning cup of joe, or part of your evening routine, doing it the same time every day will help make it a habit. It will become second nature, just like brushing your teeth.

Part of your routine should include a regular review of what you’ve already done. There’s nothing worse than putting in the work to learn something and then forgetting it a short time later. In last week’s episode we talked about variety, which means the breadth of input. But you also need depth. So don’t forget to look back and reinforce what you’ve already studied.

Now, remember in our last episode I talked about setting goals… SMART goals? Well, as you work toward those goals, you need to track or assess your progress. Are you actually coming closer to reaching your goals? Assessing your progress could involve breaking your goals down into stages. Reaching those stages means making progress. This could also mean keeping a careful record of what you do and what you can do. You will be able to look back through your record and see how far you’ve come. Another way to track yourself is to use our BuddyBucks system on mybeonline.com. What are BuddyBucks? Basically, they’re points that you earn for participating and learning. The more BuddyBucks you earn, the more progress you’re making. It’s a great way to see how much you’re getting done.

But tracking your progress is not always enough to keep your learning on track. You might need to dangle a carrot in front of yourself. I’m talking about rewards, which are closely related to motivation. You have to feel like you’re getting something for your hard work. You can certainly set different kinds of rewards for yourself for achieving certain milestones or reaching certain goals. For short-term goals, it could be something as simple as a cup of coffee. For larger goals, it could be a movie or concert or even a weekend away. And this is another way that BuddyBucks might help give you a spark. When you earn enough BuddyBucks, you can cash them in for access to more Business English Pod resources. Or access to human resources… by that I mean teachers… which brings me to my next point.

Sometimes learners encounter roadblocks when they have difficulty in their studies or can’t find answers to their questions. When this happens, some people flounder or become dejected. But you don’t have to. Someone has the answers to your questions, and you don’t need to suffer in silence. I’m talking about teachers. Get help when you need it! If you’re not taking a class and don’t have a flesh and blood teacher to help you, then go online. Post your questions to popular forums and watch the responses pour in. Or connect with a teacher online for one-on-one help. How or where to find a teacher? We’ll, we’ll have answer for that soon, so keep your eyes on myBEonline.com

Great stuff. That’s all for today. I’d like to wish you the best of luck in your journey of learning. Take good care of your motivation and you’ll do great. If you’d like to test yourself on what we’ve just covered, have a look at the myBEonline.com website. There you’ll find a quiz about today’s show as well as a complete transcript. So long, and see you again soon.

Discussion Questions

1. Do you have a regular schedule for studying English?
2. How can you know whether you’re improving your English skills?
3. What are your greatest personal motivators for studying English?

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