How do you make time for learning?

I recently had the honor of being invited to assist Allison Rossett teach a “Digital Writing for Learning and Performance” course in the Educational Technology program that I attended. Allison wrote about it in the ASTD blog.  My excitement for being involved with such a great course has now turned into disappointment — the course was canceled due to low enrollment. I really hope we get to try this again sometime since I think the digital literacy skills we were going to cover are becoming increasingly important for us to have.

As learning professionals, we should be on the front-lines of harnessing the new digital tools for driving better performance in our organizations. (BTW – If you’re interested in how these digital tools can improve performance be sure to connect with Harold Jarche and John Stepper.)  Obviously we will never be able to achieve this if we aren’t exploring and using these tools ourselves.

One of the main advantages of acquiring and maintaining your digital skills is for learning more efficiently.

I could not agree more with this recent post from the Nerdy Teacher that says…

“As a professional, “not enough time to learn new things” should not be in the vocabulary.”

With the amount of information being generated today, you will never be able to keep up with everything. This is exactly why you should be giving some thought to building your own Personal Learning Network (PLN).

If you’re wondering how to get started check out Harold’s great information on Personal Knowledge Management (PKM). He is running a workshop via the Social Learning Center on this stuff.

Also, I am planning to help run a “23 Things” type self-directed learning program this summer for our local ASTD chapter. Those details are still being formulated, but the “23 Things” approach is a fantastic way to learn by doing. I’ll post the details of that, but it will run, roughly from sometime in June into the beginning of September.

UPDATE: Learn Camp is now up and running for the 3rd year in a row.

In the meantime, as Allison tells us, it is time to invest your energy (wisely) to this new way of being a professional.

5 comments

  1. Part of the challenge I think is that we continue to make “learning” a separate and discreet activity that we only do at certain times by doing certain things. While no doubt some learning occurs that way, reflective practitioners understand that all of their efforts produce potential learning and more regularly engage in reflection about what can be gleaned from their everyday activity. You don’t so much as make time for that as it becomes simply part of your way of being.

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    1. Absolutely! Very well said. Now my next question is since it seems many people still do not “get” that or simply don’t know how to get started what is the best way to get them started down that path and/or how do we get that lightbulb to go off for them?

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  2. Well I’m a dream big, act small kind of guy predisposed to getting in action while we flesh out the more significant ways of disruption, so I’d immediately do two things in an organization: a daily Take 5 initiative where people are prompted (in a variety of ways) to take 5 minutes, reflect on their day, and capture their most significant learning; and (2) incorporating something similar, but more substantive into any regular meetings (i.e., staff): what are we learning about our work with each other that we want to capture for our future efforts? I’d want both captured electronically and tagged so that the learnings could be searched by anyone in an org and periodically culled for possible “formal” professional development needs or more structure peer-peer sharing/teaching.

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    1. I like the way you think! I agree small acts repeated over time will lead to the change we want. It’s just getting those new habits to stick and getting people to see what’s in it for them personally…otherwise it’s not likely to happen.

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