Cha(lle)nge to learn


A little over a year ago I started this blog. After the first blog named it ‘Change to learn‘, simply because learning and change management play a central role in my every day working live. Recently my 18  year old son Nathan read one of my blog post  and commented on the title of my blog. He said that he would change the title to ‘challenge to learn’.

I started to think about his remark. The first thing I noticed was that the word challenge includes the word change. That’s a nice coincidence to start with. But not yet very meaningful. I did change from job; I found a new challenge at easygenerator. Therefore my perspective has changed, from reseller/partner to producer. Another reason to change the title?

I like challenges, they give direction to your work and they give me energy. I really like to inspire and motivate people and a challenge, a far-fetched goal is very helpful with that. And I’m not a shopkeeper, I get bored easily. Nothing like a good challenge to keep you on your toes.

I’m a ‘carpe diem – seize the day’ kind of person. I live very much in the present and not in the future. I want to enjoy what I am doing today and I don’t want to work just for a distant goal far away in the future and struggle every day without enjoying myself. At first glance this looks contra dictionary to the fact that I like challenges, especially ones that are difficult or merely impossible to reach. If I place it in a traveling metaphor it would mean that I like the journey more than reaching the destination, but having a destination gives me direction in travel plans of today. A nice example of this was a series of holidays I spent with my family in Italy. Our oldest son Merijn (I think he was 9 or 10 at that time) wanted to visit Pompeii. That is approximately a 1800 kilometer long drive from where I live, a real challenge with three small kids. We decided to head into the direction of Pompeii. We packed our tents and our three kids end started our journey. The first year we got to Umbria and Tuscany, saw the most beautiful places and had a great holiday. It didn’t matter that we fell 500 kilometers short of Pompeii. The second year we reached Rome and only the third year we got to Pompeii.

At easygenerator we have set a challenging goal: we want it to be one of the top 5 e-Learning authoring tools in five years time and we want to change e-Learning as we know it along the way. For me this is an everyday inspiration and source of energy and it gives a clear direction to your every day work, yet it is so far away that it doesn’t interfere with you every day fun.

Finally there is an important connection between learning and challenging. I have a big problem with our current educational system. We put children in classes, train them to sit tight in benches and keep their mouth shut. We learn them things that do not have a real connection with their every day live or even interests. Formal corporate training (both classroom and online) has a lot of the same characteristics; it is not a lot of fun and it isn’t challenging.

I believe that people want to learn and develop. For workers I believe that you have to bring working to the workplace, for children I believe you have to bring learning closer to their every day live. Instead of conditioning them to fit into your system, you need to challenge people to get the best out of them. That’s true for working and it’s true for learning. You need to set challenges that they can relate and connect to; challenges that motivates them to get the best out of themselves.

All in all ‘challenge’ fits better than change. It does not only covers change with it characters but it also covers it through it’s characteristics. Challenge leads to Change. It seems no more than logical to change my blog title into “Challenge to learn”. So I did.

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