Monday, May 21, 2012


I have often heard people say learning only happens in the classroom, and once they are out of the classroom they should stop learning. When I wrote my last examination in the university, I was amazed to see colleagues flying their books and lecture notes into the air. Reason? “We have finished school” hence, “We have finished learning.” Many people believe learning only takes place in an enclosed environment, with an instructor holding in his hand, a marker and possible a lecture note.
For those who are conditioned to think that learning only happens in a classroom, the world of self-learning can be a little daunting. How do we best take advantage these new opportunities? Below are some great steps to self learning courtesy of Pickthebrain
1. Get interested
Make no mistake. Your interest in the subject is the essential driver of success. You can’t learn what you do not want to learn. Emotion is an important part of the learning process. If you are even moderately interested in a subject, give yourself a chance. The key is to get started. If you can create some pleasurable routines, you may find that the subject grows on you. “L’appetit vient en mangeant” (the appetite comes with eating) as they say in French.
2. Expect problems and you won’t be disappointed.
Don’t expect to understand things, much less remember them, the first time you study them. Trust that things will get clearer as your brain comes to grips with new information. It is like a jig-saw puzzle or a cross-word puzzle. As you start to put the pieces together, or string the words together, the full picture becomes clearer. The brain learns all the time, but on its own schedule. Learning does not take place according to a schedule laid down by a curriculum or teacher. Some things are easier to learn than others. Some things just take longer to click in. Keep at it, and you will gradually find that things that seem difficult at first will become second nature with time.
3. Cover the same ground from different angles.
Your brain is struggling to form patterns to cope with new input from your learning activities. Sometimes, no matter how long you focus on one subject, your brain is not going to pick it up. If you are stuck, move on. Then cover the same general information from a different source, a different book, or a podcast, or an online lecture or a video. Try to become a grazing learner, roaming the countryside, rather than a feedlot learner, just standing there in one spot, munching on the same bale of hay. The broader your base, the easier it is to learn. Just as the “rich get richer”, the more you know, the more you can learn.
4. Anytime is learning time.
Take full advantage of the Internet, iTunes, and various mobile devices, not to mention good old-fashioned books and magazines. Learn during “dead time”. Listen in your car, on the train, or while jogging. Have your learning with you while waiting in the doctor’s office, or listen while checking out at the supermarket. Anytime is learning time. Remember, you are learning through exposure, not by nailing things down. It is more like moisture accumulation in a cloud, rather than building a brick wall.
5. Be a multimedia learner.
The more varied your learning content, and the more varied the ways in which you learn, the clearer the puzzle will become. Different learning activities suit different people, at different times of the day. Vary your activities in order to keep your interest level up. Even if listening and reading work best for you, treat yourself to the odd video lecture, or get-together with other learners. This will renew your batteries.
6. Join learning communities.
The “loneliness of the distance learner” is a thing of the past. Join a learning community on the web, where members share their knowledge and experience. Search for the communities that suit your interests and learning style. You will find encouragement, advice and stimulus from fellow learners, as well as from tutors, teachers and coaches. In these communities, you can measure your progress against your own goals, or compare your experience with that of other learners. You can even teach and help others, which is a great way to learn.
Never has it been easier or more exciting to be a learner. Let constant learning be a major part of your life-style. The rewards will be constant, personally, socially, and professionally

Monday, May 14, 2012


As infants, we’re presented with a strange new world to discover. And with nothing else to do, we dive in headfirst, devoting all our time to learning how to use our five senses. At first we appear completely hopeless, not even realizing that our arms and legs are parts of our body. But soon enough, we start figuring some things out. Within a few months, we learn how to recognize faces better than a computer can. Our rate of learning in those early days is truly extraordinary if you think about it.
As kids, the world is our classroom. First we learn some basics like how to sit Indian style, how to hold a crayon, how to cross the street, and how to share. Not to mention learning thousands and thousands of words. We get older and learn about Romeo and Juliet, World War II, and photosynthesis. Every year, we can look back on ourselves the year before and be amazed at how much we’ve learned. In college, things get a lot more specialized, but we’re still continuing to learn all that we can.
And then, we just stop.
42% of all college graduates never read another book again. Ever. But continuous learning is vital to making the most of what the world has to offer. You could say that it’s what separates us from the animals. And there is evidence to suggest that it plays a role in staving off mental diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Here are some ways to make sure you don’t break the habit of learning that most people abandon after graduation.

  • Travel
Surveys show that a fifth of Americans can’t find the U.S. on a world map. And I’ve heard some Americans say they don’t know where Canada is (hint: up). If people have such a horrible knowledge of geography, I have to think that they probably haven’t traveled much.
Go visit a foreign country, where you’ll be forced to learn a new culture. It’s bound to be a shock to find that not everyone does things the way you’re used to, and a culture shock means a learning experience. Even domestic travel can provide new opportunities, as you get used to a new way of life in a different part of the country.
  • Take up a new hobby
Simply beginning a new hobby can open you up to a brand new world waiting to be discovered. Wine tasting, skiing, golf, painting…the possibilities are endless. You’ll learn the intricacies of a new craft and meet new people. And these people might be very different from you, giving you more opportunities to learn new things.
  • Read books
You probably have a library very close to home that’s paid for with your tax dollars. If you just go there and read one book, you’ll be ahead of 42% of all college graduates. If you prefer to read the latest books and have a little money, there’s no shortage of bookstores, not to mention Amazon. Reading is a cheap form of entertainment with practically no risk of injury, and it boosts your brain power a lot more than watching TV.
  • Read the newspaper
While I’m not a fan of being inundated with the excessively negative news that everyone seems to think is so important, you might consider some other parts of the newspaper (in print or online). Beyond the stories about who was murdered last night or how the economy is destroying your standard of living, there’s this often overlooked part called the Arts section. Here you can read insightful articles on a wide variety of topics that you might not know much about. Best of all, you can read it without feeling depressed.
  • Read blogs
Obviously, you already do this. There are countless people out there sharing their knowledge on a huge range of niches, and anyone can find plenty of blogs that interest them. Because you can leave comments, blogging offers a level of interaction that can’t be matched by books. 
Final thoughts
After you finish school, you’ll never again have someone giving you homework. And while you probably spent many years looking forward to that, it’s important to realize that learning is a big part of what makes life interesting. When your learning is self-directed, it can be a lot more fun than school was. You were given a large brain for a reason. Use it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Solutions To Graduate Unemployment: Part 1

This morning, whiles preparing for work, I managed to steal some time and as usual listen to the super morning show on one of Ghana’s best radio station, Joy FM.After Uncle Ebo Whyte’s presentation on the 11 lessons he has learnt from one of the best coaches in the world, Jose Mourinho who has won both the English, Spanish and Italian League titles. I decided to give my undivided attention to a talk on Graduate Unemployment by a Guest on the show. If I got my info right, I was amazed when I heard that about 50,000 graduates are churned out by the tertiary institutions every year, Wow! Can this be the justification for the high graduate unemployment in Ghana? More Graduates, Less Jobs?
For this month of May, I think I should share with you some information I have sitting on my laptop on how to provide solutions to the rapid growing graduate unemployment situation. After all, what is the use of all the knowledge I have been acquiring if not shared? I guess that was the motivating factor for starting this blog:Share my knowledge with the world.
I think I should make this post my first series. Come to think of it, what would be its use if I don’t get a feedback from my readers? That is why I always urge you to drop me your comments. Ok, enough of the talking, less zoom it to serious work

SOLUTIONS TO GRADUATE UNEMPLOYMENT: Recommendation for the Government
  •  First, I believe the government should organize training programs for university instructors, in collaboration with some companies to help teaching staff gain more experience and help improve the teaching content in the class. As more and more students complain of not really finding a link between what they are studying and what is to be done at the job environment.
  • Government should also encourage exchange programs with foreign universities in order to send teaching staff abroad, to improve and update their knowledge and increase quality of staff .( I heard some lectures still use the materials they were using in the 80’s to teach the current crop of students. Is it really true?)
  • Government should enforce the preparation of what could be termed as the Company’s Graduate Employer Job Profile Guide Book annually. This will be useful for both employers and employees. Selecting the Major companies in the country, the guide book has to include the job opportunity, requirements, skills they need, company profiles, how to apply and other important factors in each company. This guide should be distributed to the final year students at least 3 months before their graduation. Student will then have a clear idea about company needs and selection criteria. The preparation of the guide book should be done by an independent entity with good links with the business community. Private companies should also be tasked with the responsibility of preparing annually how many people they are going to recruit and give the requirement to guide the potential applicants.
 Finally, I think Government should analyze the Employment Market to understand the real demand for labor in some sectors of the economy and prepare the analysis of the employment requirement each year in each sector to get the clear idea about real labor demand. According to this analysis students have more chance to understand about their selection areas and future job security before applying to enter the university.
What Next?
Well, these are but some of the few recommendations I gathered from my research. In my next post I provide some recommendation for the graduates themselves. What do you think about these suggestions? Let me hear from you.
Credit Sununta Siengthai study on Employee Needs and Graduate Skills of the Sri Lanka University Graduates

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Simple ways to Increase your Creativity

  • Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution paves the way to solution.Eliminate “impossible,” “won’t work,” “can’t do” “no use trying” from your thinking and speaking vocabularies
  • Don’t let tradition paralyse your mind. Be receptive to new ideas. Be experimental. Try new approaches. Be progressive in everything you do.
  • Ask your daily, “How can I do better?” There is no limit to self improvement. When you ask yourself, “How can I do better?” sound answers will appear try it and see.
  • Ask yourself “How can I do more?” Capacity is a state of the mind. Asking yourself this question puts your mind to work to find intelligent short-cuts.The success combination in business is:do what you do better(improve the quality of your output),and do more of what you do(increase the quantity of your output)
  • Practice asking and listening. Ask and listen and you’ll obtain raw material for reaching sound decisions.Remember, big people monopolize the listening small people monopolise the talking
  • Stretch your mind, get stimulated, associate with people who can help you to think of new ideas, new ways of doing things. Mix with people of different occupational and social interests.