Monday, September 22, 2008

Sit Back and Wait for the Learning to Happen

Tēnā koutou katoa - Greetings to you all
To Learn List
I was struck by the diversity of opinion to be found on The Learning Circuits Blog on To-Learn Lists. Clearly I'd been kidding myself all these years that everyone knew all about to-learn lists.

Yesterday I read Gina Minks' post on What’s a "To Learn" List, and wrote a comment:

Ah! The ‘to learn list’.

Many years ago I went on a course on manual writing. I’d just become a computer trainer and my boss sent me on this course - she thought I needed the skills. She wasn’t far wrong - but I found some of the course fascinating.

To cut another epic comment-post short, one of the key tips for starting writing a manual was:

Write the contents page - neatly.

No kidding. And y’know. It works. It’s the psychological effect it has on making that starting leap. Clearly, the manual almost wrote itself after that momentous task was done.

A ‘to learn list’ works the same way. Different from a not-written-down skills-I-need-to-get-list :-)

It’s the immediacy of the thing, like writing instructions on a work sheet for kids.

It’s not

See if you can write a poem on . . .


Write a poem on . . .”.

There’s a whole Britannica difference between one approach and the other.

The “to learn list” will have a number of A1 tasks on it, for sure. Now an A1 task deserves to be written, if only to focus the mind.

But it’s more than that. It puts it firmly in the mind. How often has one written the shopping list and got to the supermarket to find it’s still lying on the kitchen table? I’ve done that so often, but, y’know, I race home after the shopping’s done to check the list. Most times I get the lot. I wonder how successful I might have been if I’d just not bothered to write the list at all.

So. Yep. The “to learn list” is one sure-fire way to make sure you’ll get it all done. And don’t just scribble it.

Take a clean lined sheet of refill. Sit at the writing desk, and in your best copperplate writing, draw up your list - with a pen. Pin it to the noticeboard when you’ve finished, sit back and wait for the learning to happen.
Ka kite anō - Catch ya later


diane said...

I find that writing things down, on paper or digitally, helps focus my mind beautifully.

Occasionally, I will write out pages of notes, only to discard them before I compose my final copy or do my oral presentation.

My nest is (usually) empty, I'll be retiring from my classroom job in June.

The learning that began when I started blogging and experimenting with online tools will ramp up as I move into the future.

I don't have the time to sit back and wait...I'm running full tilt at the learning and snatching what I can.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Ha ha Diane!

I like your style! "Sit Back and Wait . . ." was a metaphor, of course :-)

I have a 14 and a 18 year old at home at the moment, so I suppose I'll have a few years yet - I'm not campaigning for them to leave! I have been parenting for not quite 40 years. It is a way of life for me. I have trepidations about giving that up and maybe I will have no choice in the matter. So I'm trying to get accustomed to the idea.

Ka kite