Magazine article The Learning Professional

As We Learn, We Change

Magazine article The Learning Professional

As We Learn, We Change

Article excerpt

Recently I had a chance to reflect on what it means to learn. My reflection process began as I sat with a group of colleagues casually engaged in a dialogue for the purpose of defining that term - dialogue. As we dis- cussed individual and shared perspectives about the perceived differences and desired outcomes among conversation, discussion, advocacy, and debate, and how these forms of communication compared to dialogue, one very powerful concept kept surfacing: learning. I walked away from the group feeling that suc- cessful dialogue happens when, through the process, I deepen an understanding or develop a new or different understanding than I had from the onset. For me, this means that I am no longer the same as I was when I started the learning. My thinking, my approach, my perspective, my ideas, and even my subsequent actions have changed as a result of learning. This change can be positive or negative, negligible or monumental, for the moment or for the rest of my life. Having learned, I have changed. Learning = change.

I've always described myself as a learner. Having been connected to professional development for a significant portion of my adult life, I'm your typical "learning groupie." Upon further reflection, I've come to realize that being an information omnivore is not the same as being a learner. The learning process begins with a readiness, an openness to being influenced. If learning signals change, then it would stand to reason that the change would be manifested in different behaviors. …

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