Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thoughts on lifelong learning: attitude is everything

As the presentation our Learning 2.0 class just listened to says, lifelong learning is attitudinal. "Learners believe," the presentation states, "that one can and should be open to new ideas." I'm a new librarian, and thus not too far away from my formalised learning years in school and university. I still remember starting my first real professional job (well, I should hope so! It was only 5 years ago!) and thinking, this is it? This is all I need to do, technically? I suddenly had tons of free time, unblemished by worry about essays I should be writing, and even some downtime at work (I guess I shouldn't say that. It's not always like that in every job). I figured I might as well do something with this time, so I always had projects on the go, or I signed up for online courses through work. To me, it was natural to continue to incorporate learning into my life, and it was natural to continue a semi-formal set of learning goals.

What I really liked about the presentation we just watched was the mention of creating a learning toolbox or toolkit, a metaphor for the books, technology, classes, websites, mentors, and friends who support your learning processes. I think the lifelong learners who succeed certainly have these supports and are comfortable using them. Sometimes, that makes all the difference.

One final, hokey, note: In our day jobs, don't we all support lifelong learning? We are, after all, the people's university! In fact, that's Cleveland Public Library's motto. So we should be well acquainted with lifelong learning and the means to support it!

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