Over the years I have played several roles both in my professional career and personal life. Within each of these roles, the idea of ‘Education’ has always been valued with high regard and importance. Why? Because my experiences through school, university and earlier professional roles suggest that being educated enables one to be better informed.
While there is some truth in this, I’ve been curious about what does ‘being educated’ mean? Is it about ‘acquiring knowledge’ by completing school, attending university, qualifying with a degree and then acquiring further knowledge through workplace training courses and professional development? Is it about acquiring knowledge through other informal means?
Well I’ve done all of the above formally and informally!
When I graduated with a Master’s Degree I asked myself “So what?” . How have I become better informed and about what? I stayed with this ‘so what’ question and began to do a quick stock-take on all the new knowledge I acquired through my studies. Sure I gained quite a lot of new knowledge in the realm of Organisations business processes and practices. But something was still missing for me, in the notion that through education (both formal and informal) and the acquired knowledge one becomes better informed. Knowledge on its own is interesting. Today, in the information era, one can access knowledge in abundance. But what value does this knowledge have without relevant context for the individual?
Upon further reflection, I asked myself the following questions:
- “What” did I learn about ‘me’ through all this acquired knowledge?
- “So What?” How have I been impacted or influenced by this knowledge? What has shifted in my thinking, behaviour and practice through the meaning and connections I made?
- “Now What?” How will I be different moving forward? What will be different about me?
The ‘aha’ moment presented itself!
‘Education and Learning’ together enables one to be better informed. They are not mutually exclusive. The learner must make connections and draw meaning from the acquired knowledge in order to become better informed.
Within my professional practice, embedded in the dialogue I have with my clients (several of whom share a similar perspective about education and learning) I focus on the importance of ‘reflective practice’ for meaningful learning to occur.