Do you love learning new skills, but sometimes you feel scattered because you’re jumping from one thing to another without truly learning and practicing a new skill? Do you buy online courses simply because they’re on sale, but you don’t
I get it. I find myself guilty of being haphazard with my learning at times and jumping from one course to another.
You see, I’ve always loved learning. And I’m passionate about helping others learn, too. But I don’t always go about organizing my learning as I should.
That’s why this year I made sure to
What’s a learning plan?
A learning plan is similar to goal setting or planning out your year or quarter. Except instead of focusing on outcomes (like reach 500
You can see my blogging learning plan for 2019 to get some ideas.
How I structured my
I started by looking at my whole year and the main topics I wanted to learn more about. I then assigned each topic 1-3 months during which I would focus on that specific topic. For each month I outlined:
- My overall learning goal or priority (for example, email marketing)
- The exact mini skills I want to build (growing a list, setting up a freebie, etc.)
- A list of courses that help me build those skills
- How much money I’ll spend that month on courses
I also planned out how many hours I wanted to work on learning each month, my learning schedule, and how I’ll take notes or keep track of my learning.
How to build a personalized learning p
It’s not hard to create a learning plan. You just need to set aside some time for planning – which I always think is the fun part. So let’s get started.
Set your budgets for time and money
Before you can build your plan, you need to assess your schedule. How much time can you realistically spend learning each week? When’s the best, uninterrupted time to learn? Do you have some seasons that are too busy to learn such as the summer or around the holidays?
What about money? How much can you set aside as an investment into yourself and your business? If you’re thinking about more expensive courses, can you save up a little bit each month by buying fewer clothes or eating out less?
Choose your learning goals
If you buy every shiny course or ebook that comes along, you’ll soon have a library of courses and books. The problem? They’re collecting digital dust behind some username that you never access.
So even if the material was cheap, you wasted your money if you never use them.
To get the most from your learning plan you need to decide exactly what your goals are.
You might be a blogger who wants to start emailing your list or earn money from affiliate links. Maybe you want to work from home as a transcriptionist. Or perhaps you want to return to work, but feel like you need to update your technical skills.
Decide on your most important learning priorities to move your business or earnings forward.
If you’re building a plan for just a few months, then only pick one or two priorities. If you’re planning out your whole year, you can choose 3-5 priorities or learning goals.
Break down the skills you need to learn
Now that you have your learning priorities, you can start diving deeper into the exact skills you need. If you want to be a VA helping small businesses, maybe you need to focus on basic Excel and Word skills, as well as business emails and communication.
If you want to start an email list, you may need to know how to set one up, which provider to use, and the best kind of emails to send.
You may not know the exact skills you need at first to succeed. A good way to find this out is by doing a mini learning plan to discover the skills you’ll need for your niche.
Your goal is to find the common themes and skills that different experts are teaching. If more than a couple people are teaching the same principles, it’s probably important. Here’s how to find those basic principles:
- Enroll in a basic, free email course from an influencer
- Find a Udemy or Teachable course in your niche and browse through its syllabus
- Buy an inexpensive ebook or borrow a book from the library for your niche and read through the chapter headings
Once you know what skills you want to build, give yourself a timeframe to learn them. It could be one week, one month, or several months.
Find experts to learn from
Whether you’re learning how to create Canva Pinterest designs or how to code a website, there’s an expert in your field that can teach you new skills. And if you’re spending your hard-earned money, you want to make sure you’re taking a course from someone who knows what they’re talking about.
You’re probably already familiar with some experts in your niche and may already be reading their blogs.
Other ways to find experts in your niche include:
- Searching online with phrases like “top graphic design blogs” or “beginner graphic design course reviews”
- Searching more specific phrases like “how to use Canva to create a Facebook cover”
- Going to Amazon and finding the authors of well-rated books in your niche
- Finding podcasts for your niche and seeing if the host has courses
- Looking at subscription sites like Lynda, Creative Live, Udemy, etc and seeing who their top-rated instructors are
- Asking around in Facebook groups and other forums for recommendations
- Seeing who influencers you currently follow recommend
Choose your learning material
You’re now ready to start choosing your learning material. Here’s how I started choosing courses and material for my learning plan
See what courses you already own
I come from a practical line of women, and so before buying anything new, I see what I already own. Thanks to buying the 2017 and 2018 Blogging Ultimate Bundle, I have a bunch of courses and ebooks I already own.
So once I decided on the skills I needed to build and found some of my niche’s experts, I went to see if any courses I owned would work. And these courses built up probably half of my learning plan or more.
But just because I already owned a course, didn’t mean I added it to my learning plan. It had to be a quality course that fit the skills I am currently working on.
Look for free courses or material
After choosing the courses I owned, I went to see what free courses some of my favorite influencers were offering. Many of these are free email courses or
See if a monthly subscription site has the courses you’ll need
Buying individual courses can add up quickly. If the skills you need to build are all in one niche like design, writing, or coding, you might be able to join a monthly subscription site. Most of these sites run $25-$40/mo and may have discounts for an annual subscription.
You can often find learning paths on these sites that are a list of courses that go together to build your skill in an area like becoming an online marketer, a graphic design artist, or a photographer.
Some sites I’ve used and enjoy include:
- Lynda/LinkedIn Learning: This is a great site for learning coding, design, or business skills for working outside the home like Excel, project management, etc.
- Creative Live: This site focuses on courses for creatives like graphic designers, artists, Etsy shop owners, writers, etc. It also has courses from niche experts like Neil Patel, Jordan Harbinger, and Mel Robbins.
- Team Treehouse: Team treehouse focuses on coding, website design, and back end development. It’s very user-friendly and has a great community.
- Freelance Writer’s Den: This is Carol Tice’s subscription site for writers that open at certain times of the year.
Add premium paid courses from experts
If there are some holes in your plan, then it’s time to add in the paid courses that you can’t find free or cheap resources for. Do your research to find the best courses.
If you’re a beginner, I recommend staying with mid-priced resources that have great reviews. Later you can invest more money in premium courses ($200+) once you’ve started earning money and are looking for more advanced techniques.
Fill out the details
Now that you know which courses you’re interested in, start filling out your plan. Try to keep to the budget you set out earlier. If you have an expensive course in one area, maybe you can skimp in another or wait to purchase a course.
Feel free to add some flexibility to your plan. For example, in some months I have ideas for courses and an amount I’m willing to spend. But I haven’t nailed down the exact course I want to take yet.
Work your plan
The most important part of your learning plan is making it happen. So look at the times you scheduled in your plan and add them to your calendar.
Then purchase the courses or books you need for the month you’re in, print out any helpful resources, and start learning.
You’ll find my weekly schedule in the learning plan kit helpful for breaking down your plan day by day.
Download your learning plan kit for free
Need help creating your learning plan? Download the free learning plan kit. The kit includes:
- A yearly plan for you to plan out which topic you’re focusing on each month
- A place to list all the courses you’re interested in
- A quarterly section to lay out three months of learning at a time
- A monthly plan to plan what you’re learning each week of the month
- A weekly plan to assign lessons each day of the week as well as jot down a few notes.
I’d love to hear what your learning plan will focus on this year. Leave a comment below and share.
Angie Emde says
Breaking down your learning goals into monthly or quarterly objectives is a great idea, as is having a place to keep all your courses together. I certainly lost track of some of the courses I signed up.