Friday, July 15, 2011

Ideas for Being a Life Long Learner in the 21st Century

I recently chatted with popular career advice columnist Penelope Trunk about how our generation can compete with the tech-savvy young people of today (known as Gen Z - born between 1995 and 2010) when it comes to lifelong learning. What Trunk really wants to know is how she can keep up with her own kids :-)  


Trunk with her son in cello class that she drives four hours to get him to and from.
Trunk believes that the biggest impact Generation Z will have on the workplace is in their schooling. I believe this is accurate only if they are afforded the kind of schooling Trunk is providing to her children which relies very little on learning in an actual school building and much more on learning at her farm and through classes they choose to take outside of school by experts like the Suzuki cello camp in which her youngest is currently enrolled. Trunk says her children’s generation will have a more creative, independent way of learning that does not stop at college, but rather, picks up pace remarkably after college, when real experiential learning starts happening. 


Trunk's son collecting the hay his goats will eat.
Trunk asked me what I thought about the subject and asked for some suggestions for adults today.  I shared the importance of being a participant in the use of social media for learning and why those who refuse can not compete. Instead, they will be left behind. From an educator standpoint, those teachers at best, are only hanging on until their time runs out. Educators who refuse to join 21st century learning and connecting environments are not doing justice to children if they refuse to communicate in their worlds.  


For those interested in being lifelong learners in the 21st century, Trunk shares some of my thoughts around personal learning networks as well as ideas about passion-based learning and unschooling.


Below is Penelope Trunk’s advice for those adults who want to be lifelong learners.  

1. When it comes to learning, keep your bar very high.
2. Walk a narrow path so you can keep learning to jump off the path.
3. Learn by way of discovering what you care about, and not the other way around.
4. Cater to your learning style.
5. Accept that lifelong learning is a huge time investment.
6. Spend as much time unlearning as you do learning.


To read an explanation of each idea and the rest of the article visit this link.
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