A trained monkey OR an active learner?

I send my daughter to school mostly for what she can learn in the playground.  I stopped believing long ago that school could teach her the really important skills in life so I look after that at home.  Most of what happens in school is “training” – ramming kids heads full of irrelevant content they are expected to be interested in and retain.  It doesn’t get much better at tertiary level either. Remember how you crammed (trained yourself) for exams only to forget everything once the exam was over?

Real learning takes place in the playground as my daughter is exposed to a variety of personalities and behaviour that she needs to manage and moderate, including her own.  She has learnt leadership, problem solving, negotiation, influence, communication and creativity in the playground.  Skills that will take her through life.

You can imagine how excited I was when I came across this article which looks at real learning and how it can be gained more from interactions with others than from formal lessons.  Read it now and see what you think…

This has implications for workplace learning.  I think the nature of learning is changing in workplaces to involve a more collaborative, participative approach and use of social media is leading the charge.  So, let’s stop using the word “training” and move to a culture where learning is championed and occurs right when you need it in a meaningful way.

Do you consider yourself a learner?

Are you training your children or are you letting them learn?

How does your organisation approach learning and how can you influence that?


Thinking about…thinking

A few days ago I was deep into a mid life crisis wondering what I was going to be when I grew up. I had a plan and was working towards that but then I changed the plan or maybe the plan changed me…

I took some time out of the workforce to pursue some study knowing that the study would lead me into a different career. I am currently working as a casual in the proposed new career. Then everything changed.

I started thinking about…thinking and things started to come undone. A key question that kept coming to mind was “how is what I am currently doing enriching my life?” “Why am I doing this?” “What value am I adding to the world?” In essence, I had lost my way.

So, I spoke to a good friend – actually I vented to a good friend and then turned to one of my favourite authors and thinkers, Seth Godin, for inspiration. I figured out that I had almost become part of the machine, the place where you think about…nothing…you just do. This didn’t sit well with me.

I had a rethink and decided to throw everything out and start again. It always amazes me when I do this because suddenly a lot of cool things start coming my way. I was referred to a book by a friend and then another book popped up in a blog I read and I contacted the author and she actually emailed me back and now I feel as if I have started a new journey.

It might even provide the answer to “what will I be when I grow up?”

What thoughts might you have if your thinking was about…thinking?