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Taking Responsibility for Your Own Learning: Maximizing Training Opportunities

by Carmen Rivers
November/December 2011
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Has this ever happened to you? You go to a workshop, a conference or a class, read a book or watch a DVD, to help you develop professionally. What you learn is thought-provoking and you tell yourself you will give the new ideas a try. Then you return to the demands of everyday work and get pulled right back into the comfort of your familiar routines, somehow forgetting all about what you recently learned and the changes you were going to make. This is a common scenario, yet one you can avoid by taking responsibility for your own learning and being intentional before, during, and after a learning event.

McCarthy (2000) defines learning as “the realization of something new and our response to that newness” (p. 3). In order for learning to translate into change, you need to commit to changes in both your thoughts and actions. This process begins with understanding your passions. As Dirkx (2006) suggests, adult learning is as emotional as it is intellectual:
“Affective issues influence why adults learn from educational programs; their interest in the subject matter, the process by which they engage the material, their experiences, the teacher and one another” (p. 15).

As a ...

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