Learning 2018 Conference


Learning in 2018

This month I had the opportunity to learn alongside Chief Learning Officers (CLO’s) from large companies such as Bloomberg, Morgan Stanley, GE, ATP, McDonald's and Disney World to learn about learners and trends in the workplace. During the opening keynote session of Learning 2018, Elliott Masie laid out the question of workforce learning in 2025. He set the stage and asked, what can teachers learn from workforce educators and what can workforce chief learning officers learn from K-12 teachers? And his question enhanced my intentions throughout the conference. 

The conference lineup included an singer on Broadway, who is also is a professional web designer, a UX Graphic Designer who is also an artist, a National Teacher of the Year who is also a learner, the Norfolk police department who are also entertainers, a broadway star who is also a writer and the concept of lego blocks that could also be the way forward for sparking a blockchain learning effect. The intellectual line-up at Learning 2018 provided a provide plethora of learning experiences, all connected through one main theme that regardless of the content of learning, all of it requires a passion and understanding that deep learning and connections will make you successful in your endeavors.

As I sat through the Keynotes sessions and workshops of the Learning 2018 conference, I begin to realize that there are a lot of similarities between the two types of learners, the adults in the workplace and the learners in my classroom.  

As a K-12 teacher, we often do not get to experience life in a corporate world. We may not be aware  that at the corporate level an ongoing education still happens and that CLO’s experience the same dilemmas we do. The need to provide quality learning opportunities that are engaging and differentiated is the same regardless of age or environment.

One similarity with learning and learners is that the trend of “surface” learning and “just in time” learning is consistent in the “learning” adult workforce as it is in the the K-12 school system. The idea of generational issues is not necessarily true and we may now be experiencing societal effects due to our ubiquitous technology environment. Therefore it is not a question of a generational gap but a question of a revolutionary gap. It now seems possible that the impact of the Internet and easy access to information has had the same and equal effect on our learning as the current K-12 student?

There is a lot to say about the comparison of the two types of learners. Themes resound true to both. Everyone enjoys listening and learning through story, all users want to be taught with their point of view and preference in mind; and every learner will disengage in the learning process if they are not engaged with the content and delivery. The major difference between adult learners and K-12 learners, is that kids will always give immediate feedback through their actions if they are not engaged.  Students will fidget, talk aloud; go online and tune out or disrupt the learning. For the most part, adults pretend to look engaged but are they really learning? The question to ask, is how do you engage any learner in learning in depth and rigor?  Furthermore, how can you tell if learners are making connections with their learning? What are we using to assess understanding besides tests and quizzes. 

In the workforce, if you do not learn, you fail at your job. In the classroom, if you don’t learn, do you also just fail at your job as a student?

What do our tests assess in a K-12 environment? Are the tests superficial evaluations of content with no connection or are they evaluations of deep understanding and neural connections between contexts. Are we teaching and assessing the skills and knowledge that will allow our learners to be successful in their careers?

So many connections and questions, where do we go from here?

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