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In Step with Lifelong Learning

A warm blustery Austin day, I enjoy a Brazilian lunch with two individuals practiced in the art of thinking. Rodney reflects on how differently he thinks now that he is a weekly blogger. Megan, the savvy observer who has mastered the subtle art of suggestion, asks me if I blog.
I had not and am grateful to Rodney and Megan for pushing me to share my strategies for life balance on the MindTamers blogs.
I am an Austin physician (radiologist), educator, mother, and entrepreneur. I am passionate about purposeful living. If you catch me doing otherwise, please stop and remind me. My husband teaches high school science. My son is a boy scout.
Today focus on lifelong learning since many characteristics of lifelong learners are the same as those of self-motivated individuals who use all parts of their non-corporeal being and really live on purpose. Most balanced individuals I observe understand the ways the mind works and the spirit moves the body into shapes, contours and actions that either serve as a life-preserver or drag us under the chilly waves in the flow of life.
An article entitled “Education Techniques for Lifelong Learning” by Dr. Jannette Collins, a radiologist in Wisconsin appears in the medical journal, Radiographics this month.
Dr. Collins describes lifelong learning as “one of the most important competencies that people must possess”. Her article is a call to action for educators of all age students to change the way they teach. She encourages teaching methods that foster the traits, skills and learning activities necessary for lifelong learning.
What underlying traits typify those who become master learners? Dr. Collins lists 15 in her article. For this blog, I offer 10. The other five are on the MindTamers social networking site: http://mindtamers.ning.com on the blog page.
See which of the traits you breathe and become more aware of opportunities to improve the others:
  • Curious
  • Venturesome/creative
  • Innovative
  • Resourceful
  • Motivated to learn
  • Disciplined
  • Logical
  • Self-aware
  • Adaptable
  • Accountable
Talent and gifts are terms we employ when individuals are unconsciously competent about how their abilities affect their performance. All of these traits can be learned if there is enough desire and persistence.
Dr. Collins lists eight skills and seven learning activities that foster lifelong learning. Consider four skills she identifies (go to http://www.mindtamers.ning.com blog for the rest):
  • Develops & defends criteria for evaluating learning
  • Change agent
  • Shares knowledge
  • Information-seeking & retrieval skills
How does one develop such skills? Practice activities that build the skill frequently enough to create a habit in the mind. In other words, practice enough that the activity is performed without a second thought. That takes a good bit of practice. Want to guess how much? 10 times? 100 times? Usually over 1200 repetitions are necessary.
What kind of learning activities does Dr. Collins suggest? Remember, this article is written to practicing radiologists.
  • Participate in conventional learning opportunities like seminars
  • Participate in distance learning oppotunities
  • Develop new skills with experiential training
  • Volunteer to enhance leadership skills
  • Find a mentor or coach
  • Work toward an advanced degree
  • Read, reflect on reading
I am happy to report that at MindTamers we provide all of these learning activities and they are not centered around the subjects you study in school. Our programs fill in the blanks your education left out.
Starting in April, this blogger will share tips on spring cleaning for your mind so you achieve the results you desire. If dusty old habits weigh you down, spend a few minutes here every Saturday. We will whisk them away.
Lifelong leaning means to master the art of thinking. Remember Rodney and Megan? They are not so old pros. You can master this art over the course of the next eight weeks in one of our two MindTaming Principles Classes. mindtamers.com

Lori L. Barr, M. D.
Founder, MindTamers
Austin, Texas

Additional Resources:

Here is the reference for Dr. Collins’ article. You will need to contact your friendly neighborhood radiologist or medical library to download it for you for free and since I am a friendly neighborhood radiologist myself, if 100 people comment here that they would like to have access to the article, then I will obtain the permission to post it on http://www.mindtamers.ning.com our social networking website.
Collins, J, Education Techniques for Lifelong Learning, Lifelong Learning in the 21st Century and Beyond, Radiographics, 2009; 29(2): 613-622
Bolhuis, S, Toward Process-oriented Teaching for Self-directed Lifelong Learning: a Multidimensional perspective. Learn Instruct 2003; 13(3): 327-347
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