Some people believe that formal education is the best way to go to become an expert in the area you’re passionate about. I believe that is bunk.
Formal education has to stop sometime. Some people choose to move on after high school. Some earn their college degrees and say, “bye bye” to the classroom forever. Even if some people want to, no one truly becomes a “professional student.” There comes a time when everybody has to learn how to learn on their own without homework assignments or tests.
How do you do that? I believe that it’s possible to learn from books. I read fiction and non-fiction. I learn something from everything I read. I even read nutrition labels on food. I soak up knowledge where I can.
I believe that you can learn from people who are doing what you want to do. You might not be able to get a degree by going to workshops and conferences, but you get to pick the brains of people who are very, very smart-–sometimes in personal ways. You can even learn from the people you can meet through various forms of social networking. You can find people who are experts in your field and interests, and before you know it, have developed learning relationships without formalizing a single thing.
I believe you can learn by doing. You can learn by making mistakes and understand why you made them. You can figure out a better way to make it happen for you.
I believe there are as many ways to learn as there are people who are determined to learn. What are some ways you learn without going back to school?