Personal Learning Experiences

green chalkboard hanging on tan tiled wall

Elementary/Middle School Personal Learning Experience

I  began learning how to play various instruments in elementary school and this continued into middle school. I played violin, then flute and in middle school I was asked to pick up the Tenor Saxophone. I was more than willing to begin learning the Tenor Saxophone, as I always preferred this instrument to flute, and took to it immediately. Although, it began in difficulty, as I had to un-learn all of my finger and mouth positions and learn anew those for the Saxophone. The saxophone also required quite a bit more breathe to make sound than I had previously experienced. My teacher at the time was very patient, worked with me to hear the sounds I was making and helped to adjust my technique. This teacher also allowed me to work alone and figure out my technique changes on my own, if possible.

High School/Undergraduate Personal Learning Experiences

In High School, I took an Advanced Placement (AP) US History class, where we were all learning in preparation to take an comprehensive exam at the end of the year that would provide college credits if you scored well. We worked through specific eras of history (usually surrounding wars) and we were expected to do most of our learning through our own reading of the course textbook, discussion in class and then end of section exams. The exams asked us to remember names, dates and places of specific key events in the era of history you were covering. The exams were marked the same way as the AP exam, where correct answers would offer a point and incorrect answers would be negative 1/4 point. Therefore, success in the class consisted of rote memorisation and the ability to navigate the exam structure.

In my undergraduate degree, my freshman humanities course was very unstructured. When it came to the work that you were assigned, it was always supplementary reading or watching films. The expectation of the value of completing the readings was always variable. There was always the lingering fear that your contribution to the class was not enough to secure a decent grade and uncertainty at what efforts would secure the grades. Class discussions were prompted by a ‘controversial’ question or debate started by the professor, and egged on by the professor, where we were left to discuss among us. The discussions were around controversial issues in American history that had relevance to continual debates in the present. It seemed the professor was looking to start arguments amongst the class. The culmination of the class was a group project where we were to embody, create a campaign and debate as a present electoral candidate for president.

Professional Career Personal Learning Experiences

In a prior role, I was trained for my role in a fraud department. Originally,  the training consisted of reading through printed powerpoint slides, page by page. As part of a change in my role, I began to take over the training of colleagues through their first 4 weeks. The first week of training would be primarily classroom-based and the further weeks would be guided practice of the tasks with feedback. During the classroom week, rather than read through powerpoint slides together, I altered the training to be half presentation and half discussion. We would immediately work through the task concepts in real time with a case and I would allow the students to lead these cases to explore the knowledge they hadn’t yet gained. When the trainees first learned the how the system worked, I even had them play a game through the system to better acquaint themselves with how it worked.

In my most recent career, I have began my own personal development in the learning and development community. As a new instructional designer, I have learned by doing on-the-job, but I have also sought out other sources of learning. This learning has been gained through setting up a personal learning network through social media, listening in on podcasts and webinars, and reading as much as I can. Most of this learning has been gained through informal means. My learning is also the building of connections between my prior experiences and my newfound knowledge.