A Disciplined Approach to Learning

There is not much that can beat taking a disciplined approach to the learning process when obtaining an education in the subject you intend to excel in. The way in which a person tackles their particular topic of study certainly has a big influence on how well they will do when it comes to getting grades.

If this strategy is so powerful and successful then, why is it that so few students actually adopt that style of self discipline in their own studies? I think a big part of the problem lies in the failure of the education system to place a great enough emphasis on discipline, especially since it is seen by many as outdated, overly restrictive or even unnecessary.

Where Did Discipline Go?

Back in the mid 20th century, a big movement rose up and pushed itself away from the establishment and the “old ways” of educating people. People demanded more freedom and fewer limitations placed on their time.

A whole generation caused big changes to occur, believing they were right and the established and traditional teaching methods were too restrictive, stifling creativity and even ambition. That way of thinking continued to drive subsequent generations to the point where even healthy competition was viewed as contrary to the freedom movement’s beliefs.

With all these changes went the traditional teacher enforced disciplines and schools became freer and less restrictive, which was seen by many as a good thing. Unfortunately, self discipline, which is the most important kind, began to die out with it.

Self Sacrifice

Fortunately, there is a contra-flow of thinking that believes personal self sacrifice and self discipline are the true ways to personal success and when you stop and consider it, you’ll see it is the only viable way. It all boils down to how the true meaning of the terms sacrifice and discipline are interpreted.

Many feel that to make a sacrifice means giving up something they like to do. That’s something most people do not want to do. But in truth sacrifice really means giving up something of a lower nature to gain something of a higher nature, in some way like sacrificing a low ranking chess piece to gain a better strategic position to win the game.

Self sacrifice and disciplined thinking (see: disciplinedthinking.com) and action can bring incredible results when applied to study and learning. It doesn’t mean giving up anything other than trivialities that would stand in the way of success.

But it does mean focusing on the things that matter to the exclusion of the things that do not matter in order to achieve the kind of success that is only possible through this approach. In the end, it really depends on how much success means to the individual.

Study Options for Students Online

It must be hard to imagine being a student before the age of the internet for todays students.  For those of us who studied before the 1990s, visiting the library was probably a much more regular experience.  Today you can usually access most of the study materials you need online.  Most colleges have an online system available to – some even deliver your book to you if you need the paper copy.

But the internet doesn’t just stop there for study aids, in fact the limit is usually your own imagination.  Take for example studying languages – how many people studying something like French or Italian had to wait for a holiday or a gap year in order to regularly hear and practice with native speakers.  Nowadays you can log on to yoru PC or Xbox and hear a variety of languages spoken in groups and online communities.  One student I knew studying Italian used to login to an Italian Call of Duty clan on the Xbox and play alongside Italians to practice – study certainly wasn’t that fun thirty years ago.

m6replayshows

Imagine the benefits to a student of watching TV shows and films in the language you’re trying to learn. In the past this would have been unfeasible to arrange but now it can usually be achieved very easily.  If you’re learning French for example – go and find the M6 Replay site which broadcasts loads of TV shows dubbed in French.

There are some problems in that many of these sites now block access outside their  country but there are ways around it.  You just need to find access to a proxy or VPN server to bounce your connection through.  It sounds more complicated that it is, but basically to watch British TV online for example you just need a proxy in the UK.

You can use any device most use a PC or laptop but the technology can be adapted slightly to use other media devices like tablets and Smartphone.  This post from the above site illustrates how to access foreign sites like the BBC Iplayer on an Ipad, all you are doing really is changing your IP address to match the location of the destination site – there’s a page of information on the previous site – www.uktv-online.com.

It’s easy to forget about these resources when you’re studying particularly if you’re college or University doesn’t highlight them. But for most students it enables them to expand their study options and in some cases make if even more fun and effective than traditional learning.

Growth of Social Media Courses

Only a few short years ago the idea of taking a degree in social media would have seen ridiculous.   Imagine a BSC in Facebook or a Twitter Diploma, but the reality is that these sites now form a vital role of any marketing campaign.  Ten years ago, a campaign could be initiated with a couple of phone calls and a simple press release.  This is not the case in todays world of social media.

The colleges across the world have identified this has a huge opportunity to bring in a whole new range of courses to encompass these new skills.  There are a whole host of new courses available particularly in media and journalism strong colleges.  They come in a variety of flavours but most focus on updating students with the very latest in digital communications.

Web site design and development are all included but aswell traditional skills such as writing content need to be adapted for the online world.  We’ve all seen how companies and famous individuals have made terrible blunders by underestimating the reach of a late night Tweet or a careless online remark.  The potential for damage exists as well as the huge gains that can be made from a very accessible resourse such as Twitter, Facebook or any one of the many social  networking sites.

Some of the more comprehensive courses will cover the legal and technical sides of marketing using the internet.  Skills in areas such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and the legality of digital publishing are extremely important particularly when marketing for a global brand.  Students can learn in these courses about other technology like Geotargeting which allows a different message be distributed to different locations – like this.  For example you can restrict access to promotional videos on sites like Youtube very easily.  Make a video open to one country and others get a message informing them it’s not available in another – like this site demonstrates – http://www.theninjaproxy.org/just-interesting/video-not-available-in-your-country/.

These new college courses also represent a chance for older people to retrain and change careers.  Using these new skills to change the direction of their vocation, often utilising existing skills in a new environment.  Many people find these courses a chance to break into an area that would not have been accessible previously.