-part of the N4L Series; celebrating Learning at Work Week-
It’s my great pleasure to introduce Veronica Benson…
What networked for learning means to me
At the broadest level I believe being ‘networked for learning’ is about making the most of all types of interactions with colleagues and friends by learning from them and sharing knowledge and information.
At a personal level, through all our contacts – both social and at work – face to face, via email or through social media, we absorb information, develop and contribute ideas. Listening, questioning and challenging enables us to learn. Being open and taking an interest is key.
Making new contacts provides an opportunity to learn something new – either about the external world or ourselves. I read a book called ‘Conversations with God’ a few years ago (although I’m not religious) as it was recommended by a friend.
The author suggested that everyone you meet has a message for you and you should look for that message. Adopting this view certainly helps you to better value each new encounter and give time to people you meet (although sometimes the message they’re giving you is really not clear!)
Working and learning are closely linked. The world of work is constantly changing – whether in terms of technology, environment, practices or expectations and we have to learn to adapt and be flexible.
We have become better and more widely connected through advances in technology. Communication and access to information is easier but we can suffer from information overload. We need to develop more effective ways of sharing information and knowledge so we can see the wood for the trees.
Collaborative and partnership working are increasingly recognised as important to enable us to share resources, create wider impact and avoid reinventing the wheel. Being ‘networked for learning’ is about working together to achieve our shared goals but we do need to be clear what our goals are. I believe a lot of time is wasted by losing sight of our objectives.
My personal learning insights
In the last year I have learned to say no! We are encouraged to say yes to requests and see them as opportunities. At work people often feel under pressure to agree to tasks beyond their job role – either because they see this as career development or do not feel empowered to say no. We can become overwhelmed and stressed – taking on too many projects or responsibilities and this can become counter-productive. We end up wasting time or duplicating effort.
I have learned to consider whether a task is a) important and b) my responsibility before agreeing to it. I am urging my team to do this as well! Having a clear idea of what is important and what your role is helps you know when to say no. I always give a reason and propose an alternative solution. As a result I feel more empowered and less stressed!