Writers should consider just-in-time learning to round out their education
I work at home. My office window looks out at the bus stop. Each school day I see kids waiting to get on the bus. And each afternoon the bus returns them home. They’re mostly excited, but more so when they’re learning for the day is over.
They remind me of my time as an elementary school student, followed by middle school and then high school. Various colleges followed. First a bachelor’s degree and then a second major. Then a master’s degree was next and a Ph.D. and then a second one. I have a lot of formal education. Fortunately, this is behind me. No more tests!
Though my formal education resides in my past, I’ve been pursuing informal education all my life. I call it just-in-time learning.
Most of my recent education about writing comes from the usual sources:
- Critique groups
I learn whatever I can from whoever I can whenever possible. Along the way, I’m also willing to share what I know with others.
However, I’ve recently begun paying people to teach me specific things—what I need, when I need it. This is just-in-time learning at its finest. I’m custom designing my own courses based on exactly what I need to know.
Though paying people to teach me what I want to learn has cost several hundred dollars, it’s still far less than the cost of one university class. Plus, taking a class covers many things I don’t care about or need to know at this point in my writing journey. If I take a class I must sift through the material to get to what I need to know.
My approach to just-in-time learning is so much more valuable. As you continue to work on improving as a writer, maybe just-in-time learning might work for you, too.
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Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.