The Big Question: To-learn lists

“A true learning person also has a ‘to-learn’ list, and the items on that list carry at least as much weight in how one organizes his or her time as the to-do list.” This is The Learning Circuits Blog Big Question for September.

It prompted me to realise that yes, I have items on my list, categorised not as ‘to learn’ but either in ‘worktime’ or some variation of home time; but no, they don’t carry as much weight. This is evidenced by the fact that they often get deleted after weeks or months of non-action. The exception used to be on my old PDA when I had a program called SuperMemo that gave you a daily memory test of items you fed it – in my case Arabic vocabulary and JuJutsu terms in Japanese. When I changed to my new PDA, I couldn’t find the licence key and eventually forgot about it.

Thinking about it now most of the learning I do is opportunistic – I learn from the elearning blogs I read and very often rush to try out something I’ve discovered from the many more experienced and smarter people who kindly share their ideas in blogs. Another opportunistic source is SitePoint newsletters, where I pick up Javascript and CSS tips.  I’m waiting for decisions to be made about our learning site infrastructure at work before I set an action point to study SharePoint 2007 or even ASP.net – but I don’t want to be in the position I’ve found myself before where I’ve put a lot of time into learning something only to find it’s no longer a business need. For example I learned a fair bit of ASP some years ago, then we took into the team two people who were experts in it, so I didn’t need it very often at all. I spent a long time trying to get my head around SCORM when we introduced our LMS, only to find the way it presented SCORM courses was so unusable for our customers that we dropped them pretty quickly. Now, several years down the line, I’ve ‘learned’ a certain amount of disrespect for the ideas of tracking, MI and re-usability!

Finally, prompted by the question, a to-learn list:

  • Sharepoint 2007 development (if we’re going to use it)
  • a content management system (either ASP.net for work or PHP for home)
  • reading sheet music (been trying spasmodically for years)
  • become more competent in the New Standard Tuning used by Guitar Craft
  • finally (dream of dreams) the pedal steel guitar!

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