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Do we Have time to Learn?

Posted Nov 03 2008 9:02pm
image: Mary Seacole Building, University of Salford

Whilst catching up on a few of my favourite blogs for new posts, I came across a recent post by Sarah titled "Do we have time to learn" which considers how we often cite lack of time as a barrier to development and learning. Sarah goes on to examine the issues of whether learning should take place in work time or in our own time (interesting to see that this is an issue in New Zealand as well as the UK). I was seconded to COT for 18months during 2004/2006 where my role was to develop the Post Qualifying Framework and to consider how to guide and enhance the CPD of the members of the organisation and at that time many comments and queries were about who should be responsible for learning.
In this seconded role I also considered issues of how we learn and began to help distinguish between Formal learning (programmes of study, workshops, short courses etc and Informal learning (Learning resulting from daily life activities related to work,family or leisure). It is not structured in terms of learning outcomes, learning time or learning support and typically does not lead to certification. Informal learning may be intentional (blogging maybe?) but in most cases it is non-intentional. In this way I was aiding OTs in considering all these aspects of their development in order to be ready for our first HPC audit of CPD for re-registration in October next year when 2.5% of the register will be selected for audit.

Sarah's post also reminded me of my own recent CPD activities where I have been engaging in experiential learning of web 2.0 applications. I have spent many hours late into the evening blogging and skype-ing, networking with peers from around the world which has been both tiring and illuminating. Yet often I hear from colleagues commenting that they don't have the time and/or the energy to engage in same or similar activities, or jokingly been referred to as a computer geek or equivalent. I have accepted these comments for their face value which has on the whole been humerous and tongue in cheek - but I think there is a deeper issue here, and one that I have often felt frustrated by. I reproduce here a comment from Sarah's post which I think maybe hits the nail on the head (for "nurse/midwife" subsitute OT"):

"When thinking about priorities, we have to ask ourselves the hard questions. For example, how many hours do we spend watching television? How valuable is watching 'Wife Swap' compared to having a conversation with a midwife or nurse in another country on Skype?....
Blogging, sharing and collaborating in wikis, communicating with Skype and Facebook is not a 'waste of time' nor is it an luxurious 'extra', of limited relevance to computer geeks only. So I would reiterate the question asked by Kevin Shadix in response to a post by George Siemens about theimportance of taking timeto consider one's personal learning networks:

"how can we NOT afford the time?"

I pose the same question here as Sarah, maybe we need to reasses and explore our own attitudes to learning. What do you think? Are you ready for the audit in just over a year's time?

And on a final note I offer this short video by Clay Shirky to watch and enjoy - I believe he makes his point well - what do you think?

College of Occupational Therapists (2006) Post qualifying framework: a resource for occupational therapists. (Core.) London: COT.

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