Life Long Learning and Credit where it’s due

A life without learning seems a life wasted for me. It’s a privilege I treasure.  Any day I learn something new is a day to celebrated, even if the lesson is hard and teaches me what never to do again. Everything I say here equates as well to my past as it does to my present and my future.

I recently had an interesting conversation with a HR professional about learning.  She was explaining the 70-20-10 framework where 10% of your learning comes from formal education, 20% from exposure or social learning and 70% from experience.

This fits very neatly with my life experience. I’m a big fan of formal education for me because it gives me the confidence to dig deep into the other two learning spheres. There are lots of others out there that don’t need that boost as much I’m sure. but I’m the girl who reads the manual from start to finish the moment she unboxes a new toy tool.

Formal education itself comes in many forms.  On my photographic journey it has included;

  • having a portable darkroom on site at our primary school for what might have been a term or a few weeks (it was a very long time ago) where we shot and developed film
  • participating in a two day UWA extension class with Dale Neil on “Getting the Most of your Digital camera”
  • attending a one day Houndstooth Studio “Better Animal Photography” workshop
  • attending the “Art of Flash Photography” with Seng Mah and Steve Wise at Team Digital

The great thing about all of these experiences, and the reason they were all so useful and engaging, is that they all included formal instruction, communication and interaction with peers, and a practical opportunity to put the new concepts into practice right away, with take-away exercises to try at home. I’ve only just started my TAFE course, but so far the approach seems much the same, which is very promising.

I’m not sure where online tutorials fit in the pyramid, but there are a range that I have found extremely useful too;

In the exposure and social learning slice;

  • Awesome facebook groups (Snap Happy, WA Birds, AIPP Community, and on and on….)
  • Friends and colleagues with common interests
  • Photography tour (Antarctica = awesome!!!! )

I find that this space can be the most challenging for me personally, but finding a tribe where you feel safe enough to both ask questions and offer advice has value beyond measure.  I feel very lucky to have discovered some of those places.

All of that is really is just the starting point. It’s only when you have to solve your own real life problems in the field that the really juicy learning kicks in. In the Experiential sphere I’ve been involved in some awesome projects, some personal but most for charity so far. The great thing about charity work when you’re getting started is they believe you can do things you don’t think you can do – and if you fail it doesn’t cost anyone anything – and 99% of the time you’ll do great.

I think the critical thing that is missing from the neat little pyramid is the value, the critical importance, of Feedback (capital F intended) in the learning process. Not everyone knows how critical (pun also intended) it is, but I was told a long time ago the “Feedback is a gift” and those are words I live by.

In a formal environment it can present as a grade, or a pass / fail. In real life it is more nuanced, and often not comfortable. I welcome a constructive bit of negative feedback over a fluffy “that’s nice dear” any day of the week.  These are the things that help use grow. Good quality feedback is one of the things I am very much hoping I’ll get from my course this year.

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One Reply to “Life Long Learning and Credit where it’s due”

  1. jane brown

    That was a great ” Friday night after a crap day at work ” inspirational read. I dropped the ball at work today and had a little panic attack. Now I will put it down to another learning experience and start afresh on Monday.

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