November 2, 2015

Learning On Your Terms

By Heather Smith

LearningIn today’s environment, learning is more complicated than ever.  Not only are you required to learn what has been taught for many years, but new discoveries, especially in healthcare, have been incorporated into courses as well. In addition to immense course loads, you are also immersed in the technology of learning where things are available 24/7/365, which is both a blessing and a curse. Put all of this all together and we have a tremendous undertaking for such a simple word….learning.

Ramsey Musallam gave a TED Talk in April of 2013 that proposed a new way to approach teaching and learning. After a life-threatening condition, Mr. Musallam began to look at the way he taught his chemistry students with a different lens. He was motivated by the competence that he witnessed in his surgeon who ultimately saved his life. When Mr. Musallam asked the surgeon what made him so competent, he was told there are 3 rules to learning:

  1. Curiosity comes first – ask the why – questions are the seeds to student learning; ask the hard questions and ask until you have an answer that satisfies your curiosity. The answers might not come from your instructor, but the answer is out there. Find it.
  2. Embrace the messy and inevitable process of trial and error – learning is a process that takes time and effort. By allowing yourself the right to get it wrong, you provide yourself with the opportunity to understand on a deeper level and to truly learn.
  3. Practice reflection to make sense of the information – by taking the time to sit and reflect on the learning that just occurred, you have the opportunity to own that knowledge.

Learning InspiredI’ve always loosely lived by the mantra that every day that I learn something new is a good day. This belief has helped put some pretty stressful and overwhelming tasks or situations into perspective because at the end of it, hopefully, I learned something new. By giving yourself permission to ask the questions and seek the answers, allow for mistakes as long as you learn from them, and take time to remember the lessons, you give yourself the freedom to learn on your terms. By approaching learning in this new way, hopefully you will learn something new every day and have many, many good days.