A Syllabus for Personal Learning
I am a professor, so syllabi are a regular part of my life. As we move toward the start of fall semester classes, syllabi are in place and I’m getting ready for the start of a new year.
I was in a faculty workshop today that referenced “the power of the syllabus” for personal learning.
What is the purpose of a course syllabus? A well-formatted course syllabus provides an overview of several key learning features such Learning Goals, Learning Resources, and Learning Assignments.
These features may also be helpful for our personal learning.
As you look to the next 6-12 months in your personal learning and development, perhaps it’s time to explore a Personal Learning Syllabus.
Here are a few recommendations as you consider whether a syllabus for life-learning may be helpful for you.
1. Learning Goals
As you think about your personal desires for learning, what are your goals for the next 6-12 months? Goals are often shaped by topics we are interested in pursuing.
Are you interested in learning more about change? Are you interested in learning more about effective leadership practice? Are you interested in focusing on your personal or spiritual formation as a leader?
Whatever these topics are, consider 2-3 learning goals you have for your personal leadership development in the coming 6-12 months. Write these goals down. Keep them in a place that will trigger your learning around these goals.
2. Learning Resources
Based on the goals you identify, what are the tools and learning resources that will assist you? These resources may be books, magazines, journals, key mentoring relationships, relevant blogs, or other learning tools.
As you scan a diverse set of learning resources, what are the 3-5 key learning resources that will best facilitate your engagement around your goals?
3. Learning Assignments and Activities
Finally, in addition to learning goals and learning resources, what learning assignments or activities may contribute toward your learning goals? This may include:
- attending conferences, classes, workshops
- taking a personal assessment
- organizing your thinking into relevant blog posts
- journaling or other writing exercises
- visiting key people or organizations that provide models of excellence around the leadership or learning themes you are pursuing.
The key is to not leave learning at the level of goals and reading. It includes bringing this reflection to a place of action and implementation. Creative learning assignments and activities provide a context for synthesizing personal learning.
So, what are your goals for learning in the coming months? What learning resources and activities will help facilitate progress toward our learning goals?
Perhaps a Personal Learning Syllabus will help to organize your thinking in this area and help you make tangible progress around these goals.
If you end up implementing this idea, please share how it worked for you!