A lot of formal learning is based around following a curriculum, and being pushed along a predetermined path.
There’s an alternative to this, and it’s pull based learning. You start with an idea of something you want to build, and in the process of building it you learn all sorts of things.
It works, trust me
I’d say 90% of what I know has come from this approach. I’ve thought to myself “wouldn’t it be cool to build this”, without knowing how to build it.
Because there’s a very solid goal at the end (i.e. you build something), it’s a powerful motivator. Plus, there’s never that feeling of “will I ever use these things I’m learning?” Almost by definition you’ll use them, because everything you learn is being put into practice immediately.
I’m always trying to keep a balance between creativity (being able to dream up these goals), and the doggedness required to do the necessary learning, and complete the goal.
As long as I can keep on thinking up things I want to build, the opportunity for learning is endless.