As a kid, I read comicbooks (and I still think they’re undervalued as a learning tool). Naturally, I was keen on the superheroes, and given my name, Superman was probably my favorite. To fly, to be invincible, strong, and fast, well, it as too perfect for a kid who wasn’t the greatest athlete.
As I get older, I’m becoming more partial to Batman. Why (and why is this relevant to learning)? Because Superman, and so many of the other superheroes, got their powers through no particular effort of their own. Radioactive spider bites, being born on a planet with different characteristics, lab accidents, the list goes on. They don’t even stand up to scrutiny! On the other hand, Batman set his mind to becoming extremely capable. He learned science, trained in martial arts, etc. (Ok, so he started with a fortune to back him, but he didn’t have to work so hard, he chose to.) It could happen!
Informal learning only works to the extent that the informal learner knows how to learn, and is diligent in doing so. Learners have to challenge themselves, and take responsibility for ensuring what they need to know, and we shouldn’t take that for granted. I’ve found one of the keys to my own learning is to choose not necessarily the easiest path.
I’m a big fan of learning to learn, but you have to be aware and choose to learn. For example, I think we’re not doing enough in most of education to share responsibility with the learner. I think we need to support, and expect, self-learning. And I think it’s one of the greatest ROI potentials in corporate training, where the one investment gets leveraged across all areas of endeavor. So here’s to Batman and all those who set themselves goals and work hard to achieve them.