More information about #LearningStyles ‘Awareness’ Day

Last week I wrote a post entitled “#LearningStyles ‘Awareness’ Day – March 1st, 2012“. Since then, I’ve received an influx of inquiries and activity related to the post.

There were a couple of common questions – especially about how to participate – so I am providing this post to add some clarity to the day.

What’s this all about?

There are a great many things learning professionals do simply because they’ve either A) Always done it this way or B) Were told by someone who *knows* that this is how it is done. I suspect part of the reason this happens in our profession is due to the high number of us that fell into the field based on subject-matter-expertise rather than any formal education in adult education or workplace performance support.

Whenever something like that happens, there’s usually a gap between the actions taken and the understanding of why we take the action in the first place; we do what we do, without giving much thought to why or even if we should be doing it.

Too often, what we do is defined solely within the walls of our day-to-day activities. It seems to make sense when you realize that those that pay our salaries live within those walls, but ultimately it’s handcuffing us. We need to listen to what’s going on in the field at large, learning from the successes and research of those outside our organizations. That’s our best opportunity for personal growth, which in turn, helps us better serve our organization’s needs.

That’s the purpose of #LearningStyles ‘Awareness’ Day – to get as many people talking about the topic at once as possible, sharing ideas and research.  The more people participating, the further the message extends.

How can I participate in Learning Styles ‘Awareness’ Day?

The vast majority of the sharing and discussions for the day will take place on Twitter using the hashtag #LearningStyles.  There’s no scheduled live chat; I just encourage people to share links and interact using the hashtag throughout the day. I also encourage anyone interested to blog their thioughts about the subject – or share links to articles or posts they’ve already written – and share links to those posts using the hashtag.

If Twitter isn’t a service you are comfortable with, you can share information via facebook on the Misadventures in Learning Fan Page, or even by sending me your thoughts via comments to this blog or via the Contact Me link on this site.  Anything people share with me outside of Twitter I will add to the discussions there.

The discussion and sharing can take place all day, so feel free to participate as much as you’d like throughout the day.  Also, be sure to take time to review the posts of others and consider the implications. The main goal here is to share what you know (or THINK you know) about learning styles, and to expand your own ‘awareness’ on the subject.

Why is the word ‘Awareness’ in quotes?

The idea is to dedicate a day to focus on discussing and sharing information related to Learning Styles. I wanted to talk about this because it’s a topic that seems to have a great deal of grey area where ‘What We Do’ and ‘What We Know’ meet. That’s where my choice of using the word ‘Awareness’ in quotes comes in. I am not looking to tell people “This is right” or “This is wrong”, though I do have strong thoughts on the subject.  Nobody like to be told “You’re ideas are wrong”, even when that may be the case.  I’m hoping instead that the community shares what facts they know about Learning Styles and through greater awareness of facts versus assumptions, each individual can make an educated individual assessment.

OK… What’s your hidden agenda David?

Kudos to the person who reached out to me and asked that exact question. I respect that, and actually find it pretty funny.

The truth is, I DO have an agenda, but I don’t believe it’s hidden.  I’d like to do what I can to help our field move forward.  Any time there are misconceptions about something, it creates a roadblock that makes it harder to move forward.  My agenda is simple, and I’m hoping it’s also transparent.  Ultimately it’s exactly what I stated earlier: to have each individual make an educated individual assessment about learning styles.  What may be somewhat hidden within that is my belief that some will see things differently – and ultimately the way I see things now – after participating and reading through the shared resources.  But again, my ‘agenda’ is for each person to come to their own conclusion on the subject.

So what are you expecting on Thursday?

Honestly? I have no idea, and that’s kind of exciting. This is essentially an experiment, and I’m looking forward to see where it all leads.

Based on the early feedback I’ve received, I do expect there to be a good amount of response to the event. I will be monitoring the hashtag and participating in the discussion and sharing throughout the day. I also plan on writing a few posts after Thursday to recap the discussion and curate the resources that have been shared.

Hopefully we’ll all learn something Thursday, and be stronger for it.  Feel free to reach out to me with any other questions you may have.