What is perceived as learning by the knowledge workers LO24267

From: Fred Nickols (nickols@worldnet.att.net)
Date: 03/29/00

Responding to LO24249 --

>I work with about 200 software engineers and interview about good 10
>people a month for recruitment.
>One recurrent theme I'm hearing from our software engineers is that they
>value learning as the 'thing' that keep them going. Also about 99% of the
>people interviewed for recruitment says the reason for leaving the current
>job is lack of challenge and learning opportunities.
>How do knowledge workers perceive learning?

I'm no software engineer but I am a dyed-in-the-wool, genuine-article
knowledge worker, so I'll try to answer as one.

I perceive (view?) learning in many ways. First of all, I view it as
"finding out" something of value to me, even if only temporarily. The
"finding out" might take the form of obtaining new information, gaining
some new insight or reaching some conclusion, even a belief.

I also view (perceive?) learning as marked by some kind of change --
either in the way I view/perceive things or in what I believe about them
or in my own behavior.

I view learning as something that I do -- and that everyone else does too.
I draw a sharp distinction between teaching or training and learning.
Teaching is what teachers do, training is what trainers do, and learning
is what learners do.

I don't get too upset if I don't see myself as continuously learning;
after all, I'm probably paid to apply what I know as much as I am to renew
the knowledge base that I am applying. However, if I start "rusting,"
then I will likely leave for a new position (or stir up a bunch of trouble
in my current position). Continuous learning can be just as big a drag as
continuous application.

I view learning as something desirable. I value it; I judge it as
good. It is an end unto itself.

I perceive learning to be the greatest -- and the best -- when I am tasked
with responding to novel situations, ones for which I don't have a
ready-made response. In short, learning is the best when it involves
creation (note At de Lange's comments).

I "perceive" learning as one of the two most important aspects of my life.
The other is enjoyment. My philosophy of life boils down to two aims that
run through all the stories of my life: (1) to educate myself, and (2) to
entertain myself. Both have often been quite problematic but I wouldn't
substitute any other goals for those two.

One more thing: Learning is just plain fun. (Being "taught" or "trained"
can be downright painful.)

A question for you: Is this responsive to your question?


Fred Nickols The Distance Consulting Company "Assistance at A Distance" http://home.att.net/~nickols/distance.htm nickols@worldnet.att.net (609) 490-0095

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