Learning by Doing

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“Knowledge that is actually implemented is much more likely to be acquired from learning by doing than from learning by reading, listening, or even thinking.”  –Pfeiffer & Sutton. 

Making shifts in how we learn, teach, and lead in education requires that we move beyond telling educators about theory and best practices (or even giving them a really great framework) to ensuring we not only develop new knowledge and expertise but use it to change how students learn.  

As I have read the blogs, tweets and connected with so many IMMOOC’ers, those who have seen shared significant impact in their practice and changed how they see themselves as educators not only talked about what they wanted to do but tried a variety of new things in the last 6 weeks. I have been thinking a lot about what made this such a valuable experience and these are my takeaways for how to make the most of IMMOOC (or any learning experience).

Learn something new

To do better, we need to make time to learn something new.  This might be from a book a lecture, a video, blog, conversation or an actual experience.  Many powerful learning opportunities include a variety of modalities. It is critical to emphasize the importance of learning something new and pushing your thinking beyond what you currently know or do, not just defending the status quo.

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” Albert Einstein

Try something

Everyone is in a different place and it’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing but the best way to get to the next level is by doing something. The people who learned the most and grew the most tried something as a result of what they were learning. From asking student’s opinions, to giving students choice in projects, to trying new resources and sharing ideas, this community is about action to create new and better opportunities for learners.  Keep leading and learning!

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, then starting on the first one. – Mark Twain

Put yourself out there

I have loved to see how people have reached out for help in this community but more importantly the response and support for one another when they ask for help.  One of my favorite examples was when Michael Buist posted a blog about his frustration with the fast-paced Twitter chats.  He didn’t just vent though, he asked for help, “If anyone has any ideas of how to filter and participate in large Twitter chats, I’d love to hear from you.”  The community shared ideas and shared similar feelings and suggestions.  Michael took suggestions, filtered his Tweet Deck thanks to some great ideas and shared with everyone else and many people had a more improved experience as a result.

Daring greatly means the courage to be vulnerable.  It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need. To talk about how you are feeling. To have hard conversations. –Brene Brown

It’s not only critical to our own growth but imperative that we model and teach students to ask for help, use feedback and be willing to try new things openly.

Collaboration is powerful

I was talking with Leslie Swanson about a website that she created to highlight her own students in her class but what I thought was powerful is that she used it as an opportunity to collaborate with her colleagues to share some of their students’ work too. Rather than have only one class be singled out, all kids in the grade level got to be recognized. It also created an opportunity to have conversations about how to better work together. She told me, “When we collaborate students benefit.”

This has been true of so many of the experiences in the IMMOOC and my hope is that we can all continue to grow and impact students all over the world. I really enjoyed the challenges and seeing how different people teamed up and worked together. It was so much fun to work with Annick Rauch on our collaborative blog from ideas that she crowdsourced from the group on Facebook. I could not have managed the craziness of the Twitter chats without Tara Martin.  She is amazing and made the process so much easier and FUN! And we learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way.

Even though I have learned so much and my head is full, my favorite memories from the past 6 weeks are the people and connecting with many new and old colleagues who continue to inspire me and push me. Thank you!

50 years ago, relationships were the most important thing in education, and 50 years from now it will be more so.- George Couros

Reflect and share out in the open

Reflection is a powerful part of the learning process and by so many people sharing their learning in the IMMOOC community and beyond we all grew exponentially. Thank you for creating a community that people feel safe to share and for putting your ideas out there to help us all grow.  In Mena & Francois’ collaborative post they share, “By having an open culture of collaboration, our ideas can be validated, challenged, and even become an inspiration for someone else to take the idea and run with it for the greater good, right?”

“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”Erma Bombeck

It’s just the beginning…

The last 6 weeks have been jam packed with lots of learning, new connections, Twitter chats and amazing conversations with some of the most innovative leaders in education (all of YOU). I have been blown away by the connections that people have made to The Innovator’s Mindset and the live episodes.  I love to read the blogs about what people are thinking, sharing, and most importantly DOING as a result. It is the interactions and the desire of educators to learn and grow to create schools that are filled with joy and passion and learning that have built this IMMOOC community and I am so honored to be part of it.


One Reply to “Learning by Doing”

  1. […] with great ideas and powerful practices, but the content does not change behavior. Learners have to experience something, try and learn through cycles that include action, reflection, and revision that go beyond […]

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