I conceive learning to be an ongoing process in which one acquire new sets of skills and knowledge based on real-life experiences. The experiences can take place in a structured environment such as an educational institution or other non-formal forums such as workshops, workplace or from the general public. Even though learning can take place either voluntarily or involuntarily, it is essential to determine the conditions that facilitate active personal learning.
I learn best when subjected to a participatory learning environment. In essence, I learn by doing something since it is only then that I get the opportunity to try out new things, see how they occur and conceptualize innovative alternatives that have the potential of making the outcome to be achieved more efficiently. Apart from getting actively involved in a situation to learn from it, I also have to experience it many times to foster reinforcement and nurture some level of specialization. For me to learn better, I need to continue doing the same thing repeatedly so that it gets into my system as a routine. I believe in the concept of "use-it-or-lose-it" for better leaning.
I find a challenging environment more suitable for me to learn since it triggers my brain to think beyond the ordinary and construe the best solution for a problem at hand. For instance, as a professional nurse, I have to harmonize the spiritual, physical and social conditions of a patient when trying to restore their health conditions in an actual nursing environment. The leverage is best achieved when I experience the real patient and get triggered to act even when they may be uncooperative. Even though nurse training incorporates virtues such as empathy and sympathy, I conceive such concepts in nursing practice as lofty if not presented with an actual scenario that requires their implementation.
I also learn well when presented with concepts and information in a systematic manner rather than just being bombarded. I have to get the complex information, understand it, break it down and appreciate its applicability or otherwise. I believe in learning in details rather than superficially hence I analyze a learning experience strictly before I integrate the lessons into my daily practices. I understand that in any field of profession, there are bound to be new concepts, emerging issues and terminologies. For instance, in nursing, individualized and evidence-based nursing approaches are revolutionary in the field. So to me, just knowing the terms is not adequate. I endeavour to get an in-depth understanding of what constitutes everything or experience. It is only from such a comprehensive understanding that I can be able to replicate or apply the skills learnt and knowledge gained to solve other situations in the future.
Instrumentation is also one of my best learning strategies since they provide a nuanced impression of how things operate so that I gain a visual perception. When I see, touch and experience something, I learn better. This is why I believe in using models for learning since they create an almost similar condition as the actual situation thus prompting me to see how theories and concepts apply in any real-life situation. In essence, I learn well using different forms of approaches including listening, seeing and hearing. Learning through these three pathways foster an aspect of reinforcement and enables me to cement the knowledge in my mind. In effect, this saves me from the trouble of thinking so much when confronted with a situation that needs me to retrieve and apply the knowledge or skills acquired.
Learning with and from other peers is my other way of learning better. I believe in teamwork and peer-to-peer learning since it not only challenges me but provides an environment in which I reinforce what is already acquired. I can read and conceptualize things alone but learning from colleagues gives me a more relaxed atmosphere without the unnecessary tension of making mistakes. In the nursing profession, for example, it involves gaining the skills that work in stabilizing the situation of the patient. In such a job, no single method works universally hence peers not only share with me their experiences, but I also witness them applying the different strategies which eventually stick in my memory. Therefore, learning with colleagues help me gain new perspectives, ideas and innovativeness are often rare with individual learning.
After acquiring particular information, conceptualizing it and cementing it in my mind, the other way I make it a permanent lesson is teaching it to others. I solidify my new set of acquired knowledge and skills by sharing it with colleagues and peers. When they listen to and appreciate my achievement, then I get the stimulus to not only apply the experience but also gain more. Some of the ways I share the information to foster long-term memory is through writing seminar papers to colleagues or just on one discussion with the aim of developing their perspectives on an issue in context.
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