Lessons from Learners

“Where there is an open mind there will always be a frontier.”
—Charles F. Kettering*

Learning and teaching go hand in hand. Recently I taught “Promote, Inform, Educate: Creating Effective Materials for Your Library Community,” one of a series of courses on communications I’ve created for Infopeople. Although my official role was to be a learning facilitator for participants, I learned some lessons too. In fact, I think many of us involved with the course learned things that weren’t on the official agenda, things that apply to the workplace as much as the classroom.

Things like these:

  • Your leaders don’t have all the answers. You can learn a lot from those around you—your peers and co-workers as well as your instructors and leaders. Conversations in online forums and live meetings give you chances to tap into one another’s knowledge and crowdsource ideas. Take those chances. Anyone can encourage and facilitate rich conversations—including you.
  • Give more and you’ll get more. It’s a cliché we’ve all heard since we were kids, but it’s true. If you make the effort to participate, ask questions, and experiment with ideas, you’ll gain so much more than if you watch the clock, thinking about other tasks and counting the minutes until the meeting or the course will be over. It pays to be present.
  • Keep an open mind. The knowledge and experience of others can help you develop your own ideas in ways you might never have imagined. Try to loosen your hold on opinions, listen to what others have to say, and incorporate what you hear into your own thinking. You might be surprised.

These are the open secrets of lifelong learning.


* Charles Kettering’s insight is one of many “Quotes for Teachers” collected by Richard D. Zakia, professor emeritus at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

One thought on “Lessons from Learners

  1. this is full of so many true statements! keeping an open mind particularly resonates with me – it is so important, but SO hard sometimes – and yet the rewards can be huge!

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