Lifelong Learning is a topic that has been emphasized throughout the PID program and great books like Brookfield’s “The Skillful Teacher.” In order to be a skillful and reflective practitioner, as teachers, we too must continue to learn. This can mean self-study and at times formal study to stay up to date on developments in our fields.
To me, the lifelong learning needed for a skillful teacher can be broken down into at least 2 areas. First, there is our practise as teachers. To continue to improve our teaching we provide our students, we must learn. This includes not only exposing ourselves to new ideas or methods, but also reflecting on our practise and soliciting feedback from students, peers, and administrators familiar with our work.
The second area of life long learning relates to our area of expertise. There are very few fields that are not subject to new developments. What we learned in university most likely only touches the surface of the knowledge we will need to learn in our careers to stay up to date in our fields. This is a particularly potent area for me, as I work in technology. If I do not stay in the loop on technology, my knowledge could be obsolete in a matter of months.
So what do I plan on doing to continue this lifelong learning pursuit in practise? There are tons of options! The first important way is by following a selection of institutions relating to workplace learning and technology. For an example, I plan on becoming a member with the Institute of Performance and Learning. They offer networking opportunities locally, mentorship programs, and a yearly conference.
As I am particularly interested in digital learning technologies and e-learning design, I am an active member of e-learning heros, which is an online community facilitated by the course authoring program Articulate. This platform allows me to connect with other professionals for advice, problem solving, and technical tips and tricks. They also have a weekly project challenge, which are designed to challenge your technical skills with their product.
Finally, I am an avid reader with a very long morning commute. I use this hobby and time to read books and articles relating to my field and practise.
Just as we guide our students that learning does not stop once you leave the classroom, it is important that this advice is also something we follow by adopting lifelong learning practises.