I just completed taking an online course. I decided to enroll because a few of my co-workers were also taking the class and I thought it would be a great way to collaborate and learn together with peers. The class was structured such that you could work and learn at your own pace and submit assignments when you wanted. There were no deadlines except that all work had to be completed by the end date of August 15. I figured that despite the work at your own pace schedule I would inevitably bump into a co-worker online at some point and would be able to engage in good collaborative discussion and thus challenge each other to deeper learning.
That did not happen. I was given the book to read, the assignments to complete, and a place to upload my responses. The facilitator responded in timely fashion and asked leading questions for me to ponder. I reflected and learned and pondered, but I missed the opportunity to collaborate and stretch. Don’t get me wrong, I had to think hard, and I did come away with new thoughts, but without the input of others I judged that I didn't stretch as much as I could have. Some of my responses were rehashing of old ideas. Sometimes I settled for ok because I knew no one I knew was reading my answer. Bottom line, I settled!
So what did I learn? Beside a few tidbits about reading and comprehension, I discovered that I am a social learner. I need others to guide me and to help me grow. I can not learn on my own, with just one person’s thoughts. I need to surround myself with others who value collaborative thinking and who will challenge me to think in new and better ways. I discovered that I learn best when collaboratively forming knowledge and new thoughts.
Hmmm… I wonder if our children need that too?
How do you learn?
I am attempting to keep up with my writing and joining in the Slice of Life community each Tuesday. Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating the space for emergent writers such as myself.