#N4L: Laila D Says…

-part of the N4L Series; celebrating Learning at Work Week-

It’s my great pleasure to introduce Laila Duffy…

About Laila

Young woman who travelled to UK to pursue the engineering dream.  In my spare time I play various musical instruments and marshal at motorsport events.

Laila on Twitter    |    Laila on LinkedIn

What networked for learning means to me

If I look at the phrase “Networked for Learning” word by word (and as a non-native English speaker I often do), I can split out couple of things.

Firstly – “networked”.  I see this word already containing two different things – “net” and “work”.  From this I understand that there must be connections, the fundamentals of a net, therefore I cannot network by myself.  And then there’s “work”, this tells me that nothing will happen just by itself.  I need to put some energy into networking.

Secondly – “for”. This little one carries the purpose of the phrase.  In this case, learning is the ultimate goal.  Networking is bringing a benefit to me, however as in a “net” I am connected and to keep the net happy – I am learning to give as well as take.

And talking about “learning”.  A great action, this is what divides us human beings from rest of the animal kingdom.  We’re great at learning.  Well, most of us at most situations.

Putting all that back together “Networked for Learning” to me means putting the good old books away and going out there, and learning from people I meet on a daily basis as well as at random.  Nothing teaches me better than an experience. And when I learn a lesson from another human being it sticks to me much better than reading from a book during a study all-nighter at the university’s library.

My personal learning insights

About a year ago I started working in a new team.  Having studied mechanical engineering but wanting to become electrical engineer meant I needed to learn quickly.  Couple months in and I was working closely with few brilliant engineers, particularly one of them who had great knowledge and excellent patience.  Whenever I had any doubts or questions I would turn to him.  Four months ago he decided to leave the company.  To me this seemed like the end!

But it wasn’t.  What I soon realised was that loosing someone important from my professional network might have unsettled me in short term, but opened more doors in long term.  To continue to learn and develop I had to reach out to other engineers, growing my network and learning so much more.

No matter how experienced one person might be, there are always more perspectives and experiences to learn from by reaching out into the network.

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