Through life learning is one of my top ten values. But I have recently been introduced to a student and his enabler, that may have changed my perspective on what I thought I would define as continued professional development. I have always been an advocate of explicit knowledge – something I can read and assimilate. I have always considered what used to be termed as ‘lifelong learning’ as something that certain individuals who are exceptionally motivated to learn engage with, on and off throughout their maturer years (post secondary education). Now, I can see that it is also tacit learning or ‘social learning’ (the university of life!), and something that can be supported by individuals as part of their ‘explicit’ CPD who can be encouraged to share their skills and knowledge with others.
Professional learning support services involve individually agreed strategies that help individuals overcome barriers to achievement in education or at work.
As part of my department – Learning and Research Support, I have always considered myself to be part of a learning support service. Any information retrieval, access resolution, learning environment maintenance, and learning assistance, is part of a support network to enable students from all paths to achieve their aims. However, the rewards of ‘enabling’ others, giving them learning support, mentoring, job coaching, assistive technology training, employer preparation and other non-medical helper services, are appealing to my tacit CPD needs:
The student that I met is 28 years old. He has spent his formative years in and out of school, surrounded by groups of people who would consider an ASBO an achievement, who would EXPECT to spend half of their life in prison, and who have chosen crime as a lifestyle. One day, this man woke up and decided that he wanted more. He got himself on to an Access course, and is now, with the guidance/aid/help of learning support consultants overcoming (on a daily basis) any barriers to changing his life. He’s an intelligent man no doubt, and I tip my imaginary hat to him – he has already taught me something new.