Last week I talked about the importance of passion for trainers. One of the things we need to be passionate about is learning. I believe learning is about our personal growth and development. The only way we can grow as trainers, and therefore be more effective for the participants in our programs, is to be continually learning.
“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
Learning takes many forms:
- Reading – I encourage you to read outside of the world of law enforcement. Read about leadership, motivation, mental preparation, and adult learning.
- Ask questions. Find people who are smarter than you are or more experienced than you are or have different skills than you do and ask questions. I recently had the pleasure of spending some time on the phone with Jim Fraser who is a master in the field of adult learning and Marcus Young who is a friend, a smart man and a great trainer. I got some great ideas from both of them and as a result of those conversations ordered another seven books on adult learning and critical thinking. I recently wrote an article for PoliceOne.com on The Power of Questions.
- Audio tapes. Audio books are a safe way to read while you are driving. There is also a great volume of podcasts and other information available in audio format. Due to my travel schedule I was unable to attend the National Speakers Association or the Canadian Association of Professional Speaker conferences last year so I purchased the audio recordings for each of the full seminars. I have been listening to them during my last two driving trips and on the plane when turbulence makes it hard for me to read. There is some great information in these recordings.
- be open enough that people in your classes will share their stories with you. I have learned some amazing things on the breaks when course participants have shared their stories and experiences with me.
- Take courses at your local college or university. The world of online learning has opened the door to every learning institution to you. Takes courses to learn and grow, not just to get a piece of paper.
- Attend conferences. The two that I would recommend are the ILEETA Conference and The Legacy of Excellence Conference. ILEETA is the premiere law enforcement trainers conference in the world. The dates for the 2011 conference are April 11 to 16. The Legacy of Excellence Conference is held in Calgary, Alberta each September. We bring in some of the top trainers from the world of law enforcement for an amazing four days of learning.
This is only a partial list of the ways in which you can learn. The key is do something. Do something now. Do something every day to learn, grow and develop yourself.
“There are no such things as limits to growth, because there are no limits on the human capacity for intelligence, imagination, and wonder.”
P.S. If you are looking for a great place to start your learning library check out the great books at www.warriorspiritbooks.com.