Lifelong learning

Some people consider the phrase trite and overused, but I enjoy the concept of lifelong learning. When I struggle with writing and enlist the mentorship of a more successful writer, I continue to improve upon my own understanding of what is involved in effective writing. When I check my twitter account and read up on the current issues in Alberta Education or recent blogs about the problems with Ph.D.s seeking alt-ac (alternative to academia) careers, I realize how much can be gained by keeping up on ‘current events’ in my field. I consider the presentations I attend on campus and at conferences to be my continuing education program. I challenge myself to explore the learning management software (LMS) our university uses for online courses, recognizing that if I can imagine an application, there is a good chance someone else had previously and it might be embedded into the software. For example, I wanted to show my online course participants how to do¬† a research database search and was able to do so using the application sharing function in the LMS. This is so much a part of my life that I assume it is a part of everyone else’s; however, I occasionally encounter resistance to learning that surprises me. “Oh, I could never learn another language” “I passed Math in high school, I don’t need to look at it again”. What I learn from hearing those remarks is how different attitudes toward learning are, especially among those who don’t carry successful learning experiences with them. It also reminds me of my former negative attitude toward art and physical education (and hence certain sports). I appears that we gravitate toward lifelong learning in areas we love, but still might have mental blocks about those we love less.