I am considered a “Strong Willed Learner.” This doesn’t surprise me. I’ve been labeled as such for a long as I can remember. This labeling is typically not positive as it suggests a desire on my part to do my own thing as opposed to that of doing what everyone else is doing. As an adult learner, developing as a member of a group or team has been an essential component of the adult learning program. To understand how I fit in a group as a participant is one that has caused great consternation in some instances while in others I have found participation to be seamless. Participation in the Adult Learning program provides an abundance of opportunities to work with others in a group setting. It wasn’t until the last course of my study, Lifespan Issues for Adults with Learning and Behavior Disabilities did I understand more fully the best way in which I could contribute to a group.
The Learning Connections Resources inventory is probably one of the best tools that I have explored as a way in which to understand the way in which I function best. As a “Strong Willed Learner” the resources suggest that I use three or more patterns at the first level. My interactive learning process engages me as highest in Confluence, with a score of (28), with Precise (28), Sequence (25) and then Technical as (21). When considering the internal self-talk of learning, metacognition, the way in which I make learning work for me appears to be consistent with the way in which I responded to the questions on the survey. I am not surprised that my learning styles are fairly balanced at this stage in my career. I am curious about the way in which I may have scored as a college student or young educator.
Most recently, in several encounters with an individual in an organization setting, I noticed that the individual with whom I was speaking began to exhibit discomfort. This individual expressed behaviors as well as verbal reactions during these discussions. When considering my penchant for confluence, I recognized that my responses were uncomfortable to the listener based on prior knowledge. (We have known each other for several years.) The Learning Connections Inventory (LCI) is a 28 item self-report instrument. As a focal point, teachers can use it to discuss learning with students. The survey suggests that I enjoy taking risks, I see situations very differently than others and that I don’t like doing the same thing over and over. Hello…how did a survey know this about me? I am very comfortable being a “confluent” learner. In order for learning to work for me, I need the opportunity to use this strategy as well as the others in order to consider how best to learn.
Work assignments that are frustrating for me as those that I consider boring, lack creativity, are not well thought out or are devoid of well-documented research. I value a balanced approach to my own learning and the learning that I do in group settings. As an adult learner, I recognize that learning on my own is the way in which I self-select the tools from each of these measures that will work for me. When approaching a work in a group setting, I now feel comfortable expressing how this resource supports the way in which I will both learn and contribute to the work completed by a group. I understand myself as a learning, and quite frankly, like having my own style. I value confluence and see it as a strength.
I understand myself as a learner, and quite frankly, like my style. I value confluence and precision see it as a strength. However, I do recognize that this style is uncomfortable for some individuals, particularly those who are unfamiliar with a questioning culture where asking questions is a way to learn and advance critical thinking. I can now recognize this discomfort visually in others and understand that to use my style for my own learning is perfectly suitable for me, however, must be tempered for others who are without understanding.
In an adult learning setting, the interactive learning processes surveyed through this assessment is one that would provide greater validity when describing how the individuals in a class setting learn. For example, professors frequently share the “working draft” of a syllabus for a course of study. This tool provides a working vocabulary for responding to future requests by instructors as well as to when evaluating my own learning in a class setting. I wish that I had this verbiage in my adult learning toolbelt in the beginning of my course of study.
When designing and developing learning for adults, this is an essential tool that I look forward to using in the near future. I am really intrigued by the concepts described in the “Let Me Learn” program that Dr. Webb referenced in class. Exploring how the brain and the mind connect these concepts appears to be a natural way in which to consider the work of Carol Dweck’s “Mindset,” which I’ve referenced on numerous occasions during class discussions.
Something to Chew on…
- As a participant in an adult learning setting, how will I help my instructor to see the value of sharing the learning patterns of the instructor and the class with each other?
- As an instructional coach, I am excited about how this new knowledge will strengthen conversations that I will have with those whom I instruct.