Ten tips for smart learning

1 - Be open to learning

Yes, old dogs can learn new tricks. Building up skills through all stages of life fosters motivation and success and improves self esteem. It keeps people at the cutting edge of their fields.

2 - Find out how you learn

Learning comes in many flavours. "About Learning" on the Campaign For Learning website (www.campaign-for-learning.org.uk) breaks down the devices, such as emotional response, that make people learn and gives tips on how to learn better. To find out whether you are an aural, verbal, solitary or social learner, check out the free quiz at http://www.learning-styles-online.com

3 - Find out where you can learn

The internet has a wealth of free online courses and lessons too, as well as directories of courses in your neighbourhood. For business owners, (http://www.businesslink.gov.uk) offers assistance, from starting up a business to trading internationally.

4 - Learn from others

No one has all the answers. Learning to look outside of yourself or your organisation could provide insight in improvement. Coaching and mentoring offers opportunities to bounce ideas and hone skills. Online networks like, (http://www.coachingnetwork.org.uk), can help find the coach right for you.

5 - Embrace technology

Don't be intimidated by electronic bells and whistles. The opportunities to learn about the newest gadgets and gizmos and what they can do for you are endless. Aside from conventional computer classes, there are numerous techie blogs and websites, such as (http://www.engadget.com) and (http://slashdot.org); or it could be as simple as talking to people in your office.

6 - Learn with others

Two brains are better than one. Collaboration allows people to benefit from others' expertise and share in development and learning. It creates opportunities to incorporate diversity and different ideas.

7 - Become assertive

Letting people know your true feelings is powerful. Learning to say no can also free up time and make you feel less stressed. The website (http://www.supportline.org.uk) has tips on how to be more assertive and a directory of groups for people who are working towards being more assertive.

8 - Be organised

Take control of the clutter in your house and in your life. Just as organising your junk drawer improves your mood and your motivation, being assertive and prioritising your daily tasks will demonstrate improvements too. Try using the web-based task organisers like Google Calendar or Base Camp.

9 - Manage your stress

Relax. Stress does not have to be a part of the working world. Reducing stress can be as simple as adjusting your diet, ending self-criticism and ensuring you unwind for a couple hours before bed. One website full of helpful tips is (www.mindtools.com).

10 - Learn another language

Technology has also made learning a new language easy and accessible; (www.podcast.net) offers several Spanish lessons you can download on to your MP3 player. Three new programmes, SkyZone Entertainment, VOCEL Living Language and AppAbove, also allow people to learn foreign words and phrases via mobile phones.