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Category: Learning to Learn

Habits for successful lifelong learning #coastd

This caught my eye this week.

It was posted as the introduction to Learn Camp, a self-directed learning programme from the Central Ohio ASTD chapter that aims to let learners explore some of the new digital tools that are changing access to information and ways of learning today. The activity along with this, labelled ‘discovery exercise’, was simply to share your thoughts about which habit is easiest for you, and which is the hardest, plus any thoughts you might have about lifelong learning in general.

Looking at the 7 1/2 habits, I identify, more or less, with all 7 of them. What I have difficulty with is the fraction on the end, that is to say, play. Not that I’m particularly serious, or a kill-joy, it’s just that I don’t seem overly inclined to play, idly fiddling around with things. For me, exploration, akin to travel or journeying, better encapsulates the end fractional habit of lifelong learning more than playing. That is, finding out what’s next or over the horizon, finding out how things are connected and what it means, not just to me but to others too. Because I don’t identify greatly with the playing metaphor might be one of the reasons that I’m not particularly inclined towards the current trend in digital learning for ‘makes’. Oh well, we can’t all be the same.

An article entitled “How to Become a Successful Lifelong Learner” was also signposted by LearnCamp. I’m glad this article was flagged up because it served to remind me of the importance of goal setting within lifelong learning, and most importantly to write those goals down. If I’d written my goals down in the past, maybe my odyssey to learn Spanish might not have taken a nose dive in the last year or two 🙁

All in all, a useful little activity.

Post script: subsequent to posting this, I’ve been thinking about the definition, or the meanings, of the word play. In his list of participatory skills, Jenkins identifies play as, “the capacity to experiment with and explore your surroundings as a form of problem-solving”. The role of exploration within play, together with experimentation and performance (testing roles and identities in different settings), has long been established (Huizinga 1950; Bruner et al. 1976 and Gagne 1985). However, nowadays, play can equally be seen as simulation, or as Garvey (1990) suggests, wilfing (what was I looking for). Indeed, in today’s intensely interconnected world, wilfing has the potential to be highly productive given that the discovery of knowledge is often little more than a few clicks away.

I suppose I’ve learnt that play is an important habit of lifelong learning, and that it has a number of forms; each to their own, just so long as you acquire the habit 🙂