Walk the Walk: Lifelong Learner
Chances are if you are a continuing education professional, you are also a lifelong learner.
After all, if you are going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. As a lifelong learner, you can bring passion and credibility to your mission in persuading professionals to commit, without regard to mandatory requirements, to continuing education.
Lifelong learning is defined as the “’ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated’ pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.” While personally satisfying, lifelong learning also is necessity in today’s competitive technological world. Learning is something that is required on an ongoing basis in order to survive. Professionals have to expand their knowledge and stay up to date to succeed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lifelong_learning
Being a lifelong learner doesn’t require a classroom; it requires a commitment. Even just doing a few of the following results in your ability to proudly wear the label of “lifelong learner” and, you’ll be happier and better at what you do.
- Attend meetings for continuing education providers. Share what you learned with your staff. Discuss, adjust, and implement an idea or two that was a meeting takeaway.
- Become active in continuing educational professional organizations. You’ll learn from the relationships you forge, the articles you write, and the work that you do.
- Volunteer to present at a meeting for continuing education providers. Your speakers tell you that they learn by presenting. Well, the same holds true for you.
- Forge relationships with those that do the same type of work that you do. Reach out to them with questions and learn by sharing information with peers in your industry. Engage in a monthly phone call—no agenda needed.
- Use social media to learn. By joining, following, and participating in online social forums, information that is relevant to you is pushed to you. It makes it much easier to learn each day, even if a little bit, something new that you can apply to your job.
- Read. Beyond the blogs and short snippets provided through online communities, just read a book. It doesn’t have to be a textbook—books that help you do your job can also be interesting. Popular business books, inspirational books, how-to books and books that address emotional intelligence can help you in your day-to-day work and in your personal work satisfaction. Don’t forget those books that address adult education—styles, needs, etc. It never hurts to revisit the heart of what you do.
- Last, but not least, learn from your consumer. Ask these questions: What worked for you? What didn’t work for you? How can I make your learning experience more meaningful or effective?
I’m probably preaching to the choir. You are reading a blog on a continuing education website, which by definition makes you a lifelong learner. This is a club that you want to be a member of—it’s what you do.
Donita Bourns Douglas
VP Professional Services, InReach