What are the learning habits that we perform on a regular basis to stay current? As professionals, we organize our personal learning habits in different ways that reflect our interests, personalities, and career paths. We rely on a variety of information sources, engage in reading, attend seminars and conferences, or take MOOCs or other online courses. And, of course, we connect with others. The content we seek may be directly related to our work – or conversely we may seek to acquire knowledge outside our immediate realm and field of vision.
Some or if not most of our reading of work-related content takes place outside of work, even though some of us may choose to cordon off our private lives and succeed in doing so at least some of the time.
We use these information sources in different ways, striving to question what we learn, sorting and organizing what we gather. We recognize the deeply personal nature and diversity of these learning habits. Informal learning is not limited to the context of work. We may mobilize modes of inquiry or specific values to approach a problem in work, drawing on our personal lives, faith or culture, or family contexts.
Each of us organizes such mostly informal, continuous learning in different ways. Making this strategic is not about prescribing best practice, but about recognizing the value of such practices. Our ability to quickly make sense of new knowledge – and to make it a habit – may be more important than the knowledge itself.
Photo: 10 habits (Audrey Low/flickr.com)