Work at learning: virtual wanderlust

Michele Martin asks “how do you keep up the motivation to keep learning? Sometimes it seems so much easier to sink into just getting things done – learning can seem like one more complication. How do you keep challenging yourself to learn? What do you do if you hit a sort of learning lull?

Introducing social media into my personal development planning has made a huge difference to my learning journey. Two things in particular stand out to me as practical steps to take, if you want to increase your thirst for learning at work. And it begins with stepping outside of your comfort zone.

1. Connect. Make connections with people who inspire you. Think about the things you want to learn. Get to know your colleagues, introduce yourself to peers and subject matter experts around the world and learn more about your company or industry. With a little encouragement, you may even find yourself making the mind shift from “this is how it is” to “this is where it’s at”.

2. Participate. Step out and share your ideas,  have confidence and work on something that has tangible results. Consider your conversations, blogs you could read, extra-curricular projects (like this one!), online communities and other more informal learning approaches. Consider how you can contribute. What ideas or knowledge can you share? Which skills would you like to sharpen?

image originally uploaded by law keven on Flickr

image originally uploaded by law keven on Flickr

Think about the possibilities. You could be part of something GREAT. If you plan your learning activities to include some more informal learning approaches, you can improve your chances of creating a more relevant, enjoyable, personal and interesting journey of learning.  You might even meet some pretty amazing people along the way.

It’s probably a matter of attitude – about making a decision to work at learning. Jump in. Step out. Drift a little in the things you enjoy. Get caught in the virtual wanderlust.

This post is my response to the theme for  Working/Learning Carnival “Work at learning; learning at work”.

One thought on “Work at learning: virtual wanderlust

  1. Dave Ferguson

    Hi, Jasmin, and welcome to the carnival.

    I liked the mind shift you talk about, and I wonder if there isn’t at least one more stage: from “this is how it is” to “this is where it’s at” to “this is where I’m going.”

    I agree also about the value of participating. Some years ago, I decided to propose a presentation for the ISPI annual conference. The closer it got to the actual conference, the less wise the idea seemed —

    Yet the self-chosen target made me think about the work I’d been doing. I didn’t want to just yap about it or tell war stories — I wanted to clarify the things I’d learned that could be useful to others.

    And that was the aha moment for me: here’s what we’ve been doing (at my job at the time), and here’s what we learned that you might find worthwhile in a similar situation.

    Not all that earthshaking, maybe, but it got me out of the how-do-I-do-well mode.

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