I talk of being on a learning journey but there is also a beginning point and end point to each learning journey, and the journey is not complete without the flow of others. My beBee learning journey is envisages to be for a period of hopefully 3 years, with the culmination in the summer of 2019 of the last of our kids completing their University program.
For the learning journey at my college, I am at a critical juncture because the decisions I am taking this month will define the outcome of this journey over the next five years. At beBee there is no question in my mind that I am with the right people, at the right time, for the right way. My offline journey is not so clear cut.
The word "embarkation" means the point where travellers get off and new people board the journey, and in this case I use the word embarkation here in terms of this movement or flow of all learning journeys. The word "embarkation" is more meaningful to a college type setting because there are three year and four year programs which students embark, and at this time of the year there is an embarkation of those who have left the college and those that have boarded upon their specific learning journey.
The interesting thing is that students do not view their education as a learning journey, they view it as a program. This use of the word program reminds me of the phrase coined by Douglas Rushkoff about Program or Be Programmed, where he talks about learning digital technology. Rushkoff's talk deals with the transformation that comes with computers, and while I am not moving to the direction of learning how to program, the idea of the program is what catches my attention, because what Rushkoff is advocating in his talk is actually a learning journey that makes us aware of how we utilize digital technology to transform that learning journey.
This is where there was this schism this month for my offline learning journey, because the way the kids in my college utilize technology is a different form of learning journey, than how it is I have embarked on it. For sure it pays for me to understand how young students use technologies for their learning, but as Rushkoff questions, do they know what the technology tools that were made, were made to do?
Rushkoff is asking questions of educational platforms and so he comes at the word program in a different form than what a student see's as a program, as the three or four year study they have enrolled on. Yet when they come to my speech and leadership club, they embark on this with the same program mindset, when I actually view it as my learning journey.
At the same time these kids when they leave school and join the workplace, they will most likely be taken through HR programs called "on-boarding". So they leave an academic program, to enter a professional program. Now I layer on what Rushkoff is addressing, then how do I return to the idea of learning journey, as being something somewhat different to a program.
Rushkoff does not address a learning journey, but nor do the students who join the club I am serving as the VP of Education right now. The first step I have taken to address this schism is to hold a meeting with the club founder and mention to him that I have identified this difference in orientation and that both us have a relationship when we are both able to see this as a difference. That does not in itself solve the schism, but it is the first step in understanding my own learning journey in a college that is a mosaic of programs.
This means that I am now looking for students who can see the difference between programs and a learning journey and also recognize the digital infrastructure that has an altogether different programming effect and that when they enter the workplace, they enter programs and not a flow that is necessarily a learning journey.
If I remain with this college for the next five years, then I have got to become far more mindful of the effects of embarkation - that no sooner as students understanding that there is a difference between a learning journey and a program, they have left their journey at college, replaced by new students - and then where am I?
Unless those students remain with me and remain in the club as alumni, how do I handle this embarkation over the long-term. How do I transform and develop in my learning journey when it is fundamentally different to the program mindset that leads to seeing education as a batch processing rather than a flow - one being a product where passing is critical, and the other, my learning journey that isn't bothered about the certification, but the quality of life time learning.
There is no immediate answer, but it is an important frame of reference for me, because it fundamentally impacts how it is I continue my offline journey, in a way where I don't have the same reservations about this online learning journey that presently is emerging on beBee.