Learnium Blog

Thoughts about student life, the future of education and Learnium

Growing the learning identity

Look in the mirror. Who do you see?

You might think that’s a silly question and say, “Of course, I see myself!”

However, the notion of “self” is a tricky one because there is no one true self. As Catherine Cronin points out in Open Education and Digital Identities, “we have multiple identities related to our different roles and contexts”. You probably have a social-self for interacting with friends, a family-self when dealing with your parents and a professional-self in the office. There are many aspects that make you, you.

Not as flamboyant as the social or professional self, the learning-self usually stays in the shadows. Even though we all have learning identities, there is a huge variation in the level of development of these identities. It is not enough to go to school to call yourself a learner. Alice and David Kolb, who reveal that in their experience many people see themselves as incapable of learning, emphasise this idea. Only people that believe in their ability to learn and approach life with a learning attitude develop strong learning identities. Unfortunately, the percentage of people that have this stance on life is quite low.

In (Re)humanising eLearning David White concludes that “we should encourage and challenge students to nurture their [learning] identities”. But why is that the case, why is it important for people to have a strong learning identity? To put it simply, learning impacts all aspects of our lives, from empowering us on a personal level to ensuring that we keep up with the macro-requirements of the knowledge and creative economies.

Having a learning identity is about having a growth mindset. This is why all of us (educators, trainers, thought leaders, technologists etc.) should focus on creating an environment in which everyone is comfortable stating “I am learning and proud of it”.

References Cronin, C. (2014) Open Education and Digital Identities. [Online] 12th February 2014. Available from: https://catherinecronin.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/openeducation-and-identities/ Kolb, A. & Kolb, D. (2010) On Becoming a Learner: The Concept of Learning Identity. [Online] p3. Available from: learningfromexperience.com http://bit.ly/1GJyq0A White, D. (2014) (Re)humanising eLearning. [Online] 3rd December 2014. Available from: http://daveowhite.com/rehumanise/