Who – there’ll be you of course! But who else could be involved – your union learning rep can offer information, help, encouragement and support, can you contact them by phone or email? Can home learning time count as work time? – your union learning rep might be able to help with getting employer support.
Can you link up with colleagues or friends and family, maybe they’re learning too and you can share experiences, or they can be a listening ear to talk about how you’re getting on?
Many courses build in communication with other learners like discussion forums, telephone chats or joint tasks. And if a course has remote tutor or trainer support you can use that too. If there’s times you have questions or just need a bit of encouragement the support of others can make a real difference – especially if you’ve not done any learning for a while.
How – there’s lots of ways to learn to home. There’s online learning, distance learning courses, learning apps to get on your phone, how-to videos showing practical skills and blended learning which mixes different deliveries.
How you learn will need to be accessible and usable for you.
You might need equipment too, a phone or laptop, the internet or software to participate in certain courses. Or just have pens and paper to make notes and diagrams, and cover in beautiful doodles.
Practical courses like DIY or arts and crafts will likely need materials and tools. Workbooks and activities might be part of distance learning.
When – is there going to be a good time of the day, or night, for you to learn? Will it be in short bursts or setting aside a chunk of time?
Will you need to do regular learning over weeks or months on a longer course, or are there bits of small, bitesize learning that you can do in one go? Do other people in your home need to know when you’re aiming to work on your learning?
Planning and scheduling time for your learning could be key, but don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go according to plan, or events happen that mean you attention needs to be elsewhere which is pretty much bound to happen.
Track and celebrate your steps completed or goals achieved though, however small, and take rests and reward yourself.
Where – is there somewhere you’ll find comfortable to learn in? Do you need total peace and quiet?
Or do you learn better with some background music, and need easy access to a record player or your spotify playlists?
Can you be near a window and get some natural light and fresh air, and have something new to look when taking a break from the screen or books? Breaks and refreshments will be important.
Why – find your motivation. Will home learning be something to fill the time and keep your mind busy? Is there something you’ve always been interested in learning more about? Are you thinking about changing career or going for a promotion or keeping up with the changing workplace?
Would you like to help your kids or grandkids? Are you using learning to improve your health or connect with other people?
Or will there be a mixture of things that’ll keep you engaged at different times. If it helps you to write them down, turn them into virtual post-it notes on your phone or paint them on your wall (in consultation with other wall users) then try that.
What – maybe the most exciting part of all as you start exploring learning at home – what will you learn? As with any kind of learning the choices are many and varied.
Again if you can call on your union learning rep they’ll be able to help with information and ideas, and with seeking out the answers to your hows and whys above.
For info online you can check out unionlearn, the Climbing Frame and your trade union’s website which have information on all sorts of learning possibilities plus links to other websites and learning providers to give you ideas.
And you might want to reflect on the skills you already have – unionlearn has tools to help in the form of Value My Skills and SkillCheck to help you take stock too.