Friday, August 22, 2008

Learning 2.0 and the 23 Things: Better Late than Never!

Okay, I admit that I’m late to the party on Learning 2.0 and the 23 Things. I ignored the whole thing when it took off 2 years ago because it didn’t seem like a match for my needs. In the fast-paced business world, learning via playing over a 9-week period with tools that are not in the standard office suite is largely discouraged. If it were a 1-hour, no-nonsense course using behind-the-firewall products, we’d have no issue.

Of course, being an ultra-hip librarian, I’ve been using Web 2.0 technology for a while now, albeit stumbling along and learning the hard way (which probably is my favorite learning style – jump right in!). But, in my behind-the-firewall universe, thinking can become limited. So, despite the "learning by playing" and "large time investment" taboos, I finally decided to check out Learning 2.0 to seek inspiration in the outside-the-firewall world, nabbing whatever cleverness I can find for my inside-the-firewall applications. I will try to be diligent about doing the exercises, although my instinct is to power-learn through them in days rather than weeks (always trying to reduce cycle time…), so I may take a few shortcuts and jump around the curriculum a bit.

As directed, I viewed the 7½ Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners. (BTW, I think I need to visit the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County because it’s definitely NOT your father’s public library. I also want to buy Articulate.) Here’s my assessment of what’s hardest and easiest for me.

Habit #4 – Have Confidence in Yourself as a Competent, Effective Learner.
No doubt, I believe I can learn anything that interests me. I’m a Chemist by degree, but forged career well outside of a lab. I learned everything from database and web design (in the days when it was a matter of typing straight HTML code and JavaScript into Notebook!) to business management on the job. I learned well, too. On the flip side, because endeavors like cooking don’t interest me in the least, I can barely make toast.

Habit #1 – Begin with the End in Mind.
Goal setting, per say, isn’t a problem for me. In fact, I excel at setting ambitious business goals and executing to achieve them. My problem lies more in the difference between goal setting in my work, family, and public life and goal setting just for me alone. I need to work on investing dedicated effort to achieve goals that are just for my own benefit. My excuse is familiar: I have little “me” time. I don’t believe the nonsense that you can just “make the time” – I’m an efficiency expert and still can’t create time. When someone figures out a way to extend the day past 24 hours I’ll be all over it; until then, we’ll have to rely on balancing the well-known business triumvirate of resources, time, and quality.

On the job, if I have a work-related goal that is inflexibly under-resourced and I am unwilling to sacrifice quality, the only solution is to extend the timeline, steadily and persistently continuing the course at a slower pace until the goal is achieved. On personal goals, however, when that timeline starts to feel excruciating long, I have a tendency to either abandon the quest outright or become so intermittent in its execution that my efforts to achieve the goal begin to quietly sputter and fade. I can do better.

Yep, I’m filling out the learning contract. The details are private, but I’m going to give my best personal effort at reaching a “me” goal.

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