The Learning Circuit’s Blog Big Question of the Month is about To-Learn lists: whether they make sense, how to implement them, etc. Interesting question. On the face of it, it seems useful: identifying and focusing on explicit and specific learning goals. In practice, do they make sense? Do they even exist?
i would suggest that they do exist, and that every time a manager and employee agree on a development plan, there’s at least an implicit To-Learn list. Obviously, a competency path in an LMS is similarly a formal TL list. And we have an implicit one when we sign up for a course, whether online or face-to-face, buy a book on a topic, or access an online tutorial, FAQ, help page, etc.
I do think that being explicit about learning is valuable, hence my focus on meta-learning, and having clear goals is a way to make them happen. On the other hand, I think many of our learning goals are small and immediate (like my desire to figure out how to fix the CSS on my website and this blog). Would it make sense to capture them in the context and generalize them to be thought of at other times? Probably, and consequently another way we could use our mobile tools to make us more effective (I regularly capture ToDos in my mobile devices, which is why the iPhone is still making me crazy!). And there have been times I’ve put things to look up into my ToDo (though these days I often just look them up in the moment).
So, I think they’re a great idea, maybe not separate from ToDos in general, but worth thinking of as a sub-category, and worth taking the effort to make explicit. Little bits of learning over the long haul: slow learning!