In previous blog posts, we have established that we are all modern learners. As we explore and build our own modern learning pathways, let’s stop for a moment to consider where we are and what we are picking up along the way.
All of our learning choices are personal. The process we go through to select, evaluate, and use learning assets is, in fact, the process of designing our own personal learning blends.
The Right Stuff
We have a plethora of learning materials at our fingertips. A simple Google search on the topic of compliance training will turn up thousands of blog posts, webinars, workshops, infographics, job aids, white papers, videos, podcasts, and cartoons on the subject. We choose what we need and discard the rest, and hope we’re making the right choices.
But are we making the right choices? And how do we find what we really need as we progress along our learning pathways? We need to find ways to identify the resources we trust, and ways to return to those resources so we are not starting from the beginning over and over again.
Curating To Our Own Needs
We essentially become our own learning curators as we pick and choose the resources we want to design into our blend.
Here are a few guidelines to help along the way:
- Availability. You may find the perfect learning asset and have no way to access it. Maybe you set your sights on a specific research paper that is only available at a very high price through a professional database, and your employer does not—and will not—subscribe. At the same time, there are probably several reviews of this research paper that are readily available, that will provide enough insight and share additional related resources to learn from.
- Reliability. Sometimes we find the perfect learning resource and it is gone the next day. Materials change regularly online, and it pays to take some extra time to check how established an online resource, or associated brand is. If a part breaks on an assembly line and the company that makes the part no longer has help information listed on its site, where do you turn?
- Timeliness. Information is (and should be in some cases) updated on a regular basis. Check for dates as you come across learning assets, to be sure you have the latest version. Going back to compliance training, you want to be certain you have the most current version of updated material when policies, or procedures change.
- Credibility. Do you—can you—believe what you see? As we begin to establish our learning pathways, we need to build trust. If you are not sure about the credibility of a learning resource, ask someone what they think. Even if they are not sure, you will start a conversation that will most likely help you both decide, and lead you both further along your learning pathways.
- Value. Every step we take along our learning pathways takes time and for many of us, time is not something we have much of to spare. We can establish the value of any learning resource by thinking how we can apply it to our work and looking forward to where we want to be. Instead of asking, “What’s in it for me?”, try asking, “Will this get me closer to my learning goals?”, or even taking a chance with, “Is this a diversion I would like to take?”
As you self-curate along your learning pathway, take note of what guides you and how the learning assets you use impact the direction you take. Note what you are actually learning, and what you can and will do with that information later on.
If you find yourself hoarding, learn how to let go! Delete those emails with learning articles attached from six months ago. Throw out those magazines you haven’t looked at in years. Register for one less workshop or session at a conference. This will allow you time and space to reflect on what you are learning, and make it easier for you to progress along your learning pathway to meet your own personal learning goals!