Finding my way in self-directed learning

For one of my graduate courses, we were tasked with planning and following through with a self-directed learning project. I’ll admit it- I wasn’t especially enthused to work on this assignment initially. The steps surrounding the actual learning seemed arbitrary. However, reflecting on the experience now, I see how each part of the process was influential in the completion and success of the final product. Not only did I learn how to use Camtasia, I learned about my own learning process outside of formal education. 

The first essential aspects of the assignment were choosing the subject and planning the outline of my project. Video production is something that I’ve been wanting to work on. Choosing a popular app that was new to me made sense. Setting a schedule is something that I am always happy to do. But if I’m the only stake-holder, there is no telling what the follow-through will look like. Believing I can do it is half the battle; following this assignment, I feel confident in my ability to do it again.

Time for another confession: I did not actually stick to my schedule. What I had planned was very linear. What I had forgotten in the planning is that my mind (and motivation) isn’t usually linear. Originally, I wanted to post an update each week on the specific task that I had assigned myself for that time. Very quickly, this plan fell to the wayside. When I spent time on the project, I didn’t stick to just the one task- there was a little bit of everything mixed together.

So, I reorganized my thoughts and plans. Instead of blog posts in a row, I developed my learning on pages of a Google Site. This way, I could follow the streams of interest simultaneously, without having to stunt my growth at the completion of each posted update.  Once I made these changes, I felt relief. No longer was I disappointed in myself for failing to stick to one week’s task. I was free to pursue which parts I wanted regardless of what week it was. 

Finally on a path that worked for me, I found success in learning about Camtasia- what it can be used for and how I can use it. Opportunities to practice with the program came up over the summer and I was able to try different things. When creating my professional development asset, it was a new skill that I was working on- not just attempting for the first time. 

So, what is next? With Camtasia, there are some things I still am hoping to try but I’m not putting myself on a regimented schedule. When the time comes, and I’m sure it will soon, I will get the chance to create a video that has interactive qualities. With self-directed learning, I haven’t yet decided what is next. Since we now have access to LinkedIn Learning, I’m going to look there for inspiration for a new project. 

Of course, most things I work on do not flow in the same way. What was unique about this experience, is that it was my choice for my own benefit in my own time. Well, for the most part- as designed by my instructor. Nevertheless, I have gained confidence in my ability to grow professionally in a tangible purposeful way outside of my employer and outside of my Master’s program.

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