Bill Fulton, CEO of The Civic Canopy in Denver, Colorado recently said ‘the last day of a conference is the first day of a learner’s journey’. These are wise words indeed. How often do you attend a workshop or learning event, become inspired and take lots of notes and then, upon returning to your workplace, you let the noise of immediacy drown out the inspiration of learning.
Tamarack recently co-hosted with The Civic Canopy a three-day Collective Impact workshop in Denver which engaged more than 220 learners and launched them on their learner’s journey. I have been wondering how many of these learners have used the lessons learned.
The learner journey is something that we think a lot about at Tamarack. We are intrigued by both why and how community change leaders learn and what they do when they return back to their communities and try to implement what they have learned.
To support learners, Tamarack provides a wide-range of continuing self-directed supports as well as the opportunity for communities to dive deeper through customized coaching and consulting services. The free, self-directed learning supports include: pre and post workshop webinars with leading edge thinkers; communities of practice on a wide variety of topics including collective impact, evaluation, community engagement, etc; and access to a wide range of tools, resources, blogs and articles on the www.tamarackcommunity.ca website.
A recent article called Social Learning by David Perring appeared in Leadership and Management and explored the idea of Social Learning.
While focused at using social media for learning purposes, the article provides a great learning framework which identifies both individual and organizational focus and personal and organizational motive.
Perring suggests that social learning is a blend of focus and motive. Used intentionally, social learning can create new personal and organizational synapses of learning. But this means unpacking the framework and setting individual and organization learning expectations and goals.
It is not just about attending workshops, webinars or learning events, but asking the question ‘what knowledge, skills, frameworks and behaviours will you gain by participating in this learning event and what expectations do you and the organization have on you to share these insights and act on them?’
A new year is an opportunity to set learning goals for yourself. Be purposeful about reflecting on and developing your 2017 personal and organizational learning plan. Set some goals for yourself, your organization or your collaborative partners. What do you want to accomplish in 2017 and what are your learning priorities, your motivations and focus. Then, seek out learning opportunities that will advance your community change efforts. Read blogs, listen to webinars, attend workshops, join communities of practice and think practically about how the lessons you are learning can be applied in your community change work.
I plan to be more purposeful in 2017. There are so many opportunities out there to learn, but don’t let the learning end at the end of the workshop or blog or webinar, let this be the beginning of your 2017 learning journey.