Whether I’m involved in learning for a course, professional development or a personal project, regardless of the topic or level of technology involved, there are 5 things I need in order to be successful.
- A Purpose – I need to have a good reason for my learning. I need to feel the connection to what is in front of me and see valid reasons why I should put myself out there to learn and to explore.
- Time – I need time to wrap my head around the topic, to ask questions, to clarify my understanding and most importantly, time to figure out ways the new learning fits into my life.
- Support – I need to know there are non judgemental people there to support me. The level of expertise of these people don’t matter, just simply that they are there if I need help clarifying my understanding, expanding my learning or simply to help each other muddle thru difficult tasks.
- Praise – I need to hear that my effort has been noticed, a successful final product or outcome is always nice, but for me, the process matters more.
- Opportunities to Share – I need to be able to share what I learn, to use the information to help others, even if the result of the learning wasn’t as successful as I would have liked. Sharing, reflecting and gaining insights from others serve to push my boundaries and encourage my next steps.
As I think about my learning needs, I reflect back to my classroom. Did I offer my students these 5 things? Could I have done a better job? I’m confident that there is always room for improvement, that open reflection is the key to starting that process.
What learning needs do you have, are there any that didn’t make my list that you think are essential? As you work your way thru your own list of essential learning needs, consider your teaching practice; does it provide for the needs of your students? It’s a tough question, but the answers may transform you.