Sunday, February 8, 2015

Into the mindset of a Learning Professional

We are lucky. We have as careers, this amazing job, and passion of being in the learning world.

Our jobs (and passion) involve designing learning experiences for people. Children, adults, teams, professionals - whatever our audiences - our jobs are to make learning experiences amazing. (And just what does that mean - topic for another post).

(Conundrum: On the one hand if you have passion, you will learn, however, wherever - think Ekalavya - but on the other hand, a beautifully designed learning experience will take the learner to heights faster and might even light a fire of passion in them.)

What does it take for a person to be in this profession? What do you know about? What do you care about? How do you do that? Here are some of my thoughts:

Oodles of passion for one. If you are not passionate, you cannot be in the learning business. Unless you wake up excited each day imagining the possibilities of learning, this is not for you. What are you passionate about, ask them. And ask for an answer other than their job.

A lot of knowledge for another. And yet, an ability to step out of the traps of carefully laid learning paths that claim superiority of all other paths. (Holds true for much of life as well).

An open mind. Imagine a learning professional, who seeks to open minds, having a closed mindset herself.

Curiosity. A desire to experiment. After all this is human minds one is talking about. And unless you have those basic instincts how do you build those into your learning experiences.

A reasonable knowledge of behavior. Theoretical or Practical, this is very very important. Many of our experiences seek to reinforce or redirect behavior, so yes, a knowledge of behavior is invaluable.

A great understanding of what your customer wants. Stated. Unstated. Real. Imagined. Problem behind the problem. And so on and so forth. What they say and what they mean. So, knowledge of the behavior of those who enlist your help as well.

A learning attitude. Isn't that simple enough?

And once you have all of this, you want the person to know science, arts, commerce, engineering, medicine, psychology, technology, philospophy, dance, music, sports and then some. Ok, atleast a few of them. And there you have it, a complete learning professional.

Yes, each one of us is a learning professional, but there is no right definition. They come in many shapes and sizes, but yes, all of those listed above are good guiding principles. Has worked for me. YMMV. 

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