January 2, 2019

Getting started on change to improve learning

We’re fast approaching the New Year, when many of us will be making resolutions because we want to change ourselves for the better and help improve the things around us.

We all want change but sometimes we cannot go through with it. One of the things we all want to change is the way learning takes place in our society.

We’ve all been talking about creating a change in learning culture but not much seems to have been accomplished so far. On the one hand, people want to see change start happening today. But on the other, they are losing hope that change will happen because if it didn’t happen earlier, it probably won’t in the future either.

But every meaningful change in our lives began somewhere, and as much as I myself would like to speed up change, it does take time. Yes, we’ve been slow but as long as you and I as individuals try, we improve the chances of success.

Here’s how you can begin a journey toward change and use it to embrace and improve the future of learning.

First, think about the change you want to create and think about it realistically. Sure, many want world peace, to end world hunger and even restructure the education system, but what can one person do to create impact given such huge expectations?

You may not be able to achieve world peace, completely end world hunger, or change the way learning is done on your own. But you can start to build a better world with passion, planning, and the support of other like-minded people. The key is to start with small goals that will support the bigger picture. Simply jumping into the deep end can sometimes do more harm than good, so do think about it.

Second, try to become more self-aware. While you want to create change and you may have thought out the goal a bit more clearly, think about what it means to you and how it would affect you. Become aware of how you react to other people and situations.

Self-awareness is important because it is the first step to understanding your mindset and how you view the world. And as mindset is the most powerful influence whenever we start to do anything, self-awareness allows you to shed some light on your motivations.

Becoming self-aware is important because you need to understand whether or not you’re completely on board with the change, and willing to take the necessary action; otherwise the change won’t happen. Self-awareness is also quite powerful, because once you understand what drives you, you will be able to tap into that drive.

Third, set aside assumptions and open your mind to the possibilities. Sometimes, the very thing that’s stopping you from change is not being able to set aside assumptions. We can’t help it: assumptions always come from our past experiences and the knowledge we’ve gained.

We cannot even begin to reveal our own potential and that of others for learning and change if do not try to open our minds. There will be people who may oppose you or ideas you may feel are too unrealistic, but if you don’t stay open-minded, you’ll remain stuck in the same spot.

Fourth, start with small actions toward creating change. You might want to accomplish a certain thing each day in order to kick-start the change you want to achieve. Even when it comes to learning, it doesn’t matter if it’s a big start or small start with consistent practice, just begin.

With small actions, you can also begin to prove the reality of your assumptions. This is important because you’ll never know unless you try and you’ll always be stuck in the same old ways if you don’t try. Yes, there is a chance of failure, but if failure happens, it will spur you to get logical and seek solid, rational answers rather than make assumptions based on your emotions.

Wee are all guilty of talking about the changes we want but we act on them too slowly or never at all. But it’s not about what we could have done or why we haven’t done it earlier — it’s about beginning and creating that impact today, so we can create the change we want in the future, even for the future of our learning.

Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup), Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Center. She can be reached by email at arinya_t@new.seasiacenter.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa