looking back on the past year (and forward to the next)

In the banner for my LCP site, I have put a picture of my wall organizer (I love sticky notes!), and in the center, around the middle of July (2015), is the sticky note that says “Start LCP”. It was then that I began to develop my plan. That was a year ago, and as I took some time to look through this blog and to review the learning goals and activities in my plan, I realised how much learning I have accomplished in the last year.

Here’s a summary of what I accomplished related to my first goal: Learning how to refocus and enhance my reflective and creative learning processes which will help me explore, build on and share my learning:

  • I have learned how to use WordPress (enough to set up this site!). This was a humbling process, and there are still a number of things I’d like to be able to do, such as be brave enough to do a video reflection and add other multimedia.
  • I completed the “Learning how to learn” course, which was life-changing. This course gave a lot of insight into my learning brain and the confidence to appreciate how much more I can learn in my life. This course encouraged me to explore goal-setting which is meaningful, which led me to another great course, “A life of happiness and fulfillment”, which also discussed how to keep our brains nimble. I still get emails from both courses which prompt me to stay on track in my learning and to find other resources which encourage this process. Both courses highlight the importance of physical activity in learning, and I am now taking a course called “Sit less, get active“, which has really helped me get back on track with moving, and which has lots of great brain research information.
  • I didn’t take a course on reflective practice, but I did mentor two NSCC staff in mentoring/practicum courses, which prompted me to think a lot about my inner practicum learning tendencies and to renew some of the practices I have developed but slipped away from, such as taking an hour or so each week to reflect back on what I have learned and accomplished, and to set new goals for the following week.
  • I have done a lot of research on being a successful adult learner and learned a lot about andragogies. This is something I want to follow up on a little more in the next year of my LCP.
  • I have been a successful adult learner myself! I have now completed two French courses (Beginner 3 and beginner 4), and I have been practicing my French every day using Duolingo, by listening to French radio and by chatting with my friend who is a French teacher. Observing my own learning has given me a lot of insight into the challenges adults face as learners, but I also see the motivation that comes with wanting to learn something, which is one of the principles of andragogy.
  • I have had some awesome input from my creative mentor, Kathleen Naylor. We’ve met a couple of times, and she occasionally emails me with suggestions that prompt me to think of my creative self. Just last week she sent me the name of a book, and since I am taking a course on being more active, I downloaded another book by the same author and have been listening to it while walking at lunch time — Oliver Sacks, The Mind’s Eye, which has fascinating stories about how adaptive the brain is.

I have also done a lot of work towards my second goal: Learn about NSCC students in each of the four student lifecycle phases and the information literacy need of students in the major cohorts of each phase:

  • I have taken a CCEDP course “The Student Services Professional”, which reviewed the Environmental Scan that was part of the Alignment Project and discussed the goals of this project. I continue to stay abreast of the changes that are happening with the rollout of this project.
  • I have met with my mentor, Antonia Sly Nichols, to discuss the published research that I can use, and to find out what other pieces of data I can use to describe NSCC students. I will continue to work with Antonia to understand the NSCC student cohorts through the data we have available.
  • I am a member of AACUSS and receive updates from them about what is happening in the world of student services. I still have some work to do in finding out how NSCC student services is incorporating workplace literacy and adult education principles into its work and plan to meet with my mentor, Lisa MacDougall, soon.
  • I worked with my mentor, Mary Jane Pittman, to prepare a conference session for the AACUSS 2016 conference, in which we presented NSCC student demographics and research related to the two biggest cohorts, Gen Y and Gen Z. This was a significant amount of work that gave us a good general understanding of our transitioning in and in-progress students, and we prepared a bibliography as part of this research.
  • I started the Foundations of Teach for Learning course but abandoned it because it focusses on pedagogy, or education for children, instead of andragogy (education of adults). It was also not a course which is designed using principles of adult learning. I instead took a course called How to teach us, which presented a study of a charter school in the US which focuses on teaching kids using a project management model. It will be interesting to see these learners come to us as adults.

In the next year, I plan to shift my focus to adult learning in the workplace and how NSCC prepares our grads with the  “soft” skills they will need to function in the workplace and tools to continue learning.

And so it begins!

 

 

 

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