Introducing Jelena Marjanovic:

An important piece of self-development we specifically focus on is the power of education and learning. However, in many modernized areas of the world, education and learning systems are often decades behind. Well, today I am very excited to bring you guys my conversation with my new friend Jelena Marjanovic.

Jelena is currently finishing her Ph.D. in autonomous learning in Barcelona, Spain. She is on a mission to better understand our potential for education and learning. The knowledge and skills you learn help you to reach your goals and make your mark on the world. So imagine how much more you can learn and accomplish when you are in better control of your personal education and learning.

Hopefully, we helped you to get started in this episode. I definitely learned a lot during my conversation with Jelena, and I hope you guys get even more out of it. I woke up super early to speak with Jelena today, and I have to say, it was very worth it!

To learn more about Jelena and what she’s up to:

What did we talk about today?

It was a real pleasure to get to talk to Jelena today.  I certainly learned a lot and I greatly appreciate her coming on the show today.  The most important thing I got out of our conversation today is the overall importance of structure and reason in your learning.  Here’s a quick overview of all the questions we talked about today during our conversation,

Hi Jelena, why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and what you’re trying to do?

Jelena told me that she’s originally from Serbia, and she’s currently finishing her PH.D. in Barcelona, Spain. She spends her time working as an eLearning developer with goals of spreading knowledge about autonomous learning.  One of her goals that I can totally resonate with is her passion for blending technology and software with education and learning.

What exactly is autonomous learning?

Autonomous learning occurs when students are given more control over the material and knowledge they learn.  I personally believe this is an important topic because you need to have a good understanding of how to control your own learning, at least partially.  There are so many resources and tools available to learn from on the internet, and it helps to have systems and structure to help guide this learning process.

Why might autonomous learning be important for professional and personal development?

For anyone who is in business, or looks to further their career, lifelong learning is vital.  Autonomous learning is important because it gives you skills to make your learning more efficient and effective. It can also help you to learn faster and hopefully give you the key tools to make your education a lifelong process.

What skills are typically required for autonomous learning?

Jelena gave me four specific skills that are needed.  Personally, I believe this was the most important thing from the whole conversation.  So I am going to give some key details for each of the four pillars of autonomous learning.

Direction: The goal of this skill is to set specific goals and directions for your learning.  It helps to divide the big things you want to learn into smaller sections you can easily tackle.

Self Regulation: When you reach this step of the process, you want to create habits and times for practicing your learning.  Create a schedule and make sure you stick to it.

Meta-Cognition: To practice meta-cognition, you need to analyze the actions you are taking, and how your learning process is going.  Maybe some part of the plan you created is not working so well, so you may need to make some changes.  Or perhaps your learning style isn’t as effective as it could possibly be.

Agency:  Agency can be described as the actions you take related to the knowledge you’re learning.  This can also be the new creative ideas or projects you implement for your idea.  I personally believe this is a vital step in learning because you need to always be taking action on what you learn.

What is the role of technology and software in autonomous learning, and what ones do you recommend?

There’s a wide world of potential resources and tools you could possibly use to aide in autonomous learning.  Jelena gave me a few potential ideas which are related to the four pillars of autonomous learning.  For direction, there are many resources and groups you can possibly learn from on online education platforms.  For regulation, there is scheduling software such as Trello you can use.  For metacognition, Jelena recommends you to keep a journal, and I really like this one because creating a feedback loop is invaluable.  For Agency, she recommends using Facebook groups and other communities as a place to bounce ideas and find new project ideas.  I would also recommend using your journal to record and keep potential ideas related to what you are learning.

How do you see the world of education changing in the future?

Hopefully, the world’s educational systems will move to be more autonomous.  Jelena also sees a high possibility of many traditional teaching roles phasing out of traditional roles, into more facilitative roles.  I think there’s a lot of potential for positive change in education as time moves on, but we will have to see how it all plays out.

What are some habits people may practice to be more effective learners?

Jelena started off by telling me that everyone is capable of being a great learner and learning autonomously.  Some people may need to be pushed or helped at the start.  It’s also important to always be trying new things and expanding what’s possible for yourself.  You can do this by learning new pieces of knowledge, new skills, languages, and traveling to new places.

What would you say to people who label themselves as bad or slow learners?

Many of the beliefs that people have about themselves are simply not true or realistic.  Typically the first step is to get over these limiting beliefs.  Once you get past this hurdle, it can be helpful to just take one simple step at a time.  Start small, and eventually, you can make a real change in your life.

If you could only leave the audience with one piece of actionable advice, what would it be?

The big piece of advice that Jelena gave to me is to start being more mindful of what you’re doing.  You can start asking questions about yourself, what you’re learning, and how effective you are being and whatever you’re doing.


It was a great pleasure to learn from Jelena today, and I will definitely have to work more with her in the future.  I plan on implementing the four pillars of autonomous learning into what I’m doing, and eventually, I will create an update episode on how it goes.  I also will try implementing some of the ideas into the Training System I created, and that will be a part of the episode as well.