Learning Resolutions: Be More Selfish

I admit that resolutions are a rarity for me. Like many people, I have watched quietly from the sidelines and watched New Year’s Resolutions fall like dominoes before the New Year is even 3 months old.  While this may be (okay, is) a cynical view, I know that many folks wonder why we have to pick one calendar point in the year to renew ourselves?

Having said that, I am taking a bit of a different view with this collection of resolutions because of its focus: “What are we resolving to do/think about/try/consider differently in 2013 (and hopefully beyond)?”  It is a good question for us in L&D because we’re living in very interesting times right now. Rather than approach these like typical resolutions of the “quit smoking” or “cast a smaller shadow” variety, I want them to be more like declarations, with a hint of a goal in sight.

I declare that I will become more selfish about my own growth and development. That doesn’t mean that I won’t be sharing lessons learned or awesome resources, but it does mean (darn it!) that I will make more time for it and I will take advantage of every opportunity to learn and develop during the workday and outside its usual confines.

I also declare that I will dedicate more time to the Analysis process. A recent workshop drove the point home that we are short-circuiting proposed solutions when we don’t take analysis of learners, tasks, outcomes, and goals seriously. While there are a host of other factors at play in any solutions effort, there are lots of little “gotchas” that crop up in the later stages that could have been identified or addressed through a good initial analysis. I know it won’t always be perfect, but I hope to learn more through each successive project.

Finally, I declare to get more serious about games. No, I don’t intend to become the EA of learning, but I do intend to study more about the things that make games work and how we can leverage that across the spectrum of learning situations. This particular goal is tied to the two above; it’s a specific area I want to learn about, and the planning and brainstorm process that takes place in game design is something I can harness for Analysis. There’s a breakthrough process to be had when we examine possible solutions to learning challenges, and I think that game theories and game design might just hold the key.

I hope your 2013 is fruitful, productive, and filled with connections to learning and growth.

Teaching skills via elearning is much more challenging than teaching knowledge – and more satisfying, too – at least it is for me. I fully intend to embrace that challenge in 2013 and build a suite of high impact courses that mirrors and complements our face to face offering.

Mark Sheppard is a senior Learning & Development practitioner in the Greater Toronto Area.  He is currently working as an Instructional Development Officer for the Royal Canadian Air Force, where he is helping the Aerospace Technology & Engineering School harness the power of online and blended learning as they teach the next generation of Air Force technicians. Follow Mark on Twitter.