Module 11: Infinite Learning – Professional Learning Experience

Learning in itself doesn’t just stop once we’re out of school. It is limitless and boundless.  It really is a lifelong experience. We may think, how easy it is might be to delve back into learning thanks to the advancements of technology. However, we need to realize and be aware that learning doesn’t come easy to everyone. I think it’s important to learn the background on the different learning styles and the reasons why these learning styles come about so that librarians can best help patrons who seek assistance.

I was reminded of how in the past in which I had little to no issues with learning whether it was learning about the latest in biology or picking up a new skill in areas such as languages or even digital editing via Photoshop. But that was when I found myself in an environment of learning, where it was easy to get that inspiration to pick up something new. Now, I find it hard to learn the way I used to and I never could explain it.

Fast forward to the present, where I have had the experience to tutor someone who taught in college-level courses but did not have familiarity with the newest features of Microsoft Office Suite applications such as PowerPoint. It was 2 summers ago that we worked together to create a presentation to senior citizens on the life of the poet, Gwendolyn Brooks. There were features that I was not familiar with and I found myself looking up tutorials and teaching her as I went along. I felt at that moment it was a learning experience not just for the teacher I was helping, but for myself as well.

In order to provide the best services and programs that we can to library users and to be able to better enrich the lives of our patrons, it is important to take the time and understand how people learn and what shapes someone’s learning style. I have seen, at least in my own library, that one-on-one sessions for technology refreshers are incredibly popular as are because it really helps to have someone that will tailor your lesson to your learning styles, needs and interests.. 

Chamorro-Premuzie (2015) showcases three of the most common learning styles and the ways we can reach our fullest potential in his article, How Your Personality Determines How You Learn.

  1. Strategic Learners: For the learner that is particular or strategic in their approach. 
  • Extrinsically Motivated.
  • They take on a more pragmatic approach
  • They care about the result and how they might be evaluated.
  • They are focused and would rather not dive too much into the philosophy of it all.
  1. Deep Learners:
  • Intrinsically Motivated: They are intellectually curious, open to new experiences, aesthetically sensitive, and sensation seeking
  • Deeper learning style.
  • They love the truly immersive learning experience.
  • They may find that they lose track of time with the diverse range of topics that they’re interested in.
  • It may be difficult for them to get that centered focus.
  1. Surface Learners:
  • They prioritize learning the basics and moving on to another subject or activity. 
  • Their main concern is avoiding failure more than reaching success.
  • May be preferred by individuals who aren’t as open to new experiences.

As one late and great Albus Dumbledore once said

BUT!

Chamorro-Premuzzie (2015) clarifies, “No learning style is universally “better” than any other. People will learn more when they’re each allowed to follow their preferred learning approach. In other words, when we play to the learning styles that fit our personalities, we actually learn more efficiently.”

One size does not fit all. Libraries need to remember this statement when thinking about future programming and its contents as well as services. In addition, the classes that they have available, whether it’s on job seeking or on technology refreshers, could benefit from framing the content using personality-based learning experiences.

But then, how can we fulfill our learning potential? Chamorro-Premuzic (2015) outlines the three main ways:

  1. IQ – refers to our capacity to reason and problem-solve. Even though IQ tests appear rather abstract, they’re useful because they measure our general thinking capabilities and working memory capacity. 
  1. “Typical Intellectual Engagement Level” – refers to what someone can learn but what they’re likely to learn. That is, some people are generally more interested in learning than others.
  1. Genetics – “Being genetically related to someone is a strong predictor that we’ll share a range of other traits with them, including learning styles.” (Chamorro-Premuzzie, 2015). 

I felt a strong connection particularly to the second which was on the idea of typical intellectual engagement level. I felt that rang true for me. I find that I’m weirdly interested in biology, art, and the like but I can’t really find myself interested in physics or most math in general. I find that if I like something like say the micro-cosmos (which goes into microbiology), I get incredibly absorbed and I can’t help myself with the excitement. I was genuinely surprised when Chamorro-Premuzic (2015) brought up IQ and genetics as a few of the ways we can reach our full learning potential. But I appreciate that new information and it truly gives me hope to see what libraries can do when they know more about the psychology and background on why we learn the way they do. The possibilities are endless for the content of future programming and services.

References
Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2015). How your personality determines how you learn.Fast Company. Retrieved from  https://www.fastcompany.com/3049270/why-you-learn-the-way-you-do-explained-by-science

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