What I Learned in March 2019


The three things I have picked to talk about what I learned in March 2019 are:

  1. Mental Models
  2. Data Analytics for learning professionals
  3. What we can learn from blue zones about longevity

Watch the video to hear what I learned and/or read the summary below

1. Mental Models

In March I attended a Learning Disruption workshop hosted by Arun Pradhan.  Arun is the creator of the Learn2Learn app.  He talks and writes a lot about learning agility, and mental models are a key approach he recommends people use to improve their learning.

Arun defines mental models broadly as the “concepts, theories, frameworks, heuristics, and assumptions we have about how things work in the world.”

I have been consciously using mental models for over twelve months after picking up the habit from Arun when we collaborated on a project.  He included a segment in Learning Disruption about mental models, increasing my deliberate practice using them.  I certainly find that using mental models  increases the flexibility of my thinking and efficiency of my work.

In the video I show how I store mental models in Evernote and give examples of some of the models that I use.

2. Data Analytics for learning professionals

Data analytics is a hot topic for learning professionals.  It was the key theme in the top three responses to the Global Sentiment Survey recently released by Donald H Taylor.  It’s also one of the 25 skills identified as necessary for modern learning teams in the Learning and Performance Institute’s Capability Map.

I encourage others to improve their skills working with data.  I’m consciously seeking to improve my skills working with data in my business and on client projects.  In the video I discuss what I’ve learned about the impact of outliers on small data sets from analysing the capability of learning teams.  I also talk about sources of inspiration for improving visual presentation of data.

3. What we can learn from blue zones about longevity

This is something I’ve learned from my personal rather than professional activities.  I learned I am low on iron which I believe is a consequence of adopting a vegan diet.  While investigating the benefits and challenges of a vegan diet I came across a global study of  ‘blue zones.’  These are areas around the globe with high longevity.  One aspect that is common to populations in blue zones is that those living to over 100 with high quality of life eat a 95% plant-based diet.  While I am increasing my iron intake, I do believe that a predominantly plant-based diet is healthy and will continue with it.

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