Anytime, Anywhere learning
COVID has shown us that learning can happen anywhere and at any time. For most families, however, examples of HOW to learn in this new, 21st century format, are rare. As a result, parents can feel unnerved and may be tempted to rush back to that which is comfortable, safe, and well-understood.
But there is risk in safety. Just ask Blockbuster Video.
Their emphasis on safety led to outdated services and bankruptcy. Unfortunately, this is the path that many children are on in their schooling.
How to Become the Netflix of Learning
Blockbuster failed to see that the 21st century is steadily moving to “Anytime, Anywhere, Everything.” Order shoes in your bed. Get groceries delivered. Learn Spanish on your cell phone while riding the bus (for free). Learn about World War I from the Hardcore History podcast… and prepare to be amazed! (Also free).
Learning can and does happen Anywhere and Everywhere. If your child sees “school” as the dominant place where learning happens, then expect a Blockbuster-like outcome for them.
To be clear, Anytime, Anywhere learning is not solely due to technology. It’s a redefining of what “learning” means.
Examples of High-Value-Learning Without Tech
- Have your young learner ask your grandparent or elderly neighbor about their life as a child. Ask to describe a typical day when they were 10, 15, 20, and 30 years old. Prepare to be amazed.
- Or do like my daughter did just before Christmas: Make an appointment with Rev. Steve Capper, CEO of Lord of the Streets, and interview him on why he serves the homeless. (My youngest daughter did this and was inspired, amazed, and motivated to do more to help with homelessness.) If you do, please don’t forget to donate to Lord of the Streets.
- Have a child who is interested in entrepreneurship? Or engineering? Or Art? A short web-search can produce a phone number of an actual person in that industry. Most adults would be flattered and honored to spend 20-30 minutes speaking with a young person about what they do.
This is Anytime, Anywhere learning and it rarely happens in school, has nothing to do with multiple choice tests, and is the opposite of state mandated testing. Not surprisingly, it is FAR more inspiring.
Secondary vs Primary
This brings up another important point that most parents miss. Most of school-based learning is “secondary source”. By speaking directly with professionals, you get “PRIMARY SOURCE” information from experts living and working in the field. Pastor Steve recommended a book for my daughter and — get this — she is actually reading it!! Without any pressure from me!! And she is taking notes!! And not because there is going to be a test!!! This is further evidence that 1) God exists and 2) that primary source information is able to inspire curiosity, engagement, and action from the learner.
How to Start Anytime, Anywhere Learning
Step 1: Develop a DreamMap with your child.
A dream map is your child describing their interests and it is one of the most fun, and enjoyable activities a parent can do with their child. It is a list of what is exciting to them, what they want to do, become, or learn. A dream map inverts traditional school structures by placing the child’s interests as primary. Here’s a 20-minute tutorial on how to Build the DreamMap.
Step 2. Develop the How, When, and Where plan.
In educational circles, this is called “instructional strategies.” You can just think of this as a Plan to develop your child into a self-directed, self-motivated learner. Invite your child to imagine all the different ways that they could get closer to whatever their DreamMap uncovers. We can help you with the Plan if you’d like. Start Here.
If your child wants to become a dancer, you might brainstorm a list of Anytime, Anywhere learning opportunities. These could range from taking dance classes, to learning a dance on YouTube, to dancing with the church dance team, to scheduling a meeting with a professional dancer. The more ideas the better. Help your child expand learning beyond the walls of schools to include the myriad learning opportunities in the community, online, and with content experts.
If your child wants to become an engineer, encourage them to consider learning about cutting-edge, “Advanced Manufacturing” through this free online program (9th grade and older).
A final example for your artistic child. Brainstorming art classes is a fine start, but go further. Help the child to brainstorm spending a day with an artist, painting a mural on a fence (it would be your child’s job to get permission, by the way). Or have your child ask the manager of a local restaurant if she could paint a picture of their signature dish and display it on the front door (Maybe even offer to sell it with the proceeds going to charity — Might I suggest Lord of the Streets?)
Parents, your job as your child’s “Learning Leader” and “Head Coach” is to broaden learning by exploring these examples of Anytime, Anywhere learning. The above ideas, and many more, offer untold opportunities for your child to learn about ANY subject they can think of. It also introduces skills like interacting with adults, negotiating, and planning. All critical skills that are rarely taught elsewhere.
Ok parents! Now get out there and start learning Anytime, Anywhere!
And, as always, call on us if you need help in any way.