Look for Accidental Learning Opportunities

Sometimes learning new knowledge and new skills can come to you by accident.

Recently I set my Google search to send me results in Portueguese. Now I’m seeing all of my key Google search functionality (the menu bar, etc) in Portuguese. I’ve been too lazy to turn it back to English, but I’m not too lazy to start to form some patterns with Portuguese words (“mais” means “more”).

This is accidental learning, folks, and it’s a nice supplement to round out what’s missing in the plans we make to educate ourselves.

Working late at my office has introduced me to the Spanish-speaking night staff, particularly one older woman with whom I banter from time to time. We use a mix of Spanish and English, but often I’ll learn or improve my use of a new Spanish phrase or word (with her gracious help).

Playing this little game with her and with my Spanish skills has helped to keep alive a part of my brain I’m not normally using.

These learning opportunities may present themselves accidentally, but they also put out invitations for me to work to use them. I have to make the choice to respond. I’m glad I do. With luck, I’ll receive even more invitations to (accidentally) learn.

Photo by Agnieszka Boeske on Unsplash

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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