Becoming a Reader #LifelongLearning

Becoming a Reader #LifelongLearning

Curriculum Designer Caroline Slee-Poulos takes us into a subject near and dear to her – Becoming a Reader – for her post in our #LifelongLearning series.

It’s a New Year! We all know what that means, don’t we? At this time, we’ve all made resolutions. We are determined. We are committed. We are going to improve ourselves.

I mean, sure, most of the resolutions people make have something to do with weight loss or fitness, but you have to consider who is writing this post. I’m a curriculum designer AND an English teacher.

There’s funny thing about reading: if you’re a reader, there’s very little that is inaccessible to you from a learning standpoint.

But there’s always a catch: you have to have a budget for books!

The Kindle, the Kobo, and the iPad have taken away the space requirements of being a reader. Although, if you’re anything like me, you like the feel and smell of printed books… Still, who can afford a bigger house just to house their books? In all seriousness, if reading is a part of your self-improvement journey in 2023, I have some very good news for you: free books!

There’s one first step to take when you have a title you know you want to read: Google it. You would be surprised how many times there is a free PDF available to you online. Most of them have been uploaded by English and History teachers for different school projects.

If, however, you have decided to start reading as a pastime, a way to de-stress, or a way to be entertained, there’s an entire website of free books – with audio – available to everyone. I use this one in my classroom, and my students use this website to choose what they would like to read. The website is On that site, you can read everything from transcripts of speeches and articles to full novels from Steven King. It’s your choice.

If you have a competitive streak, I invite you to set up a free account on Goodreads. Every year, they have reading challenges in which you can set your goal for the year. You get to set your reading goal, you pace, and it tracks your progress for you. I find it very helpful.

If you want to continue learning, reading is your entry point. If you haven’t made a resolution yet, allow me to encourage you to make becoming a reader part of your self-improvement plans.

Let’s all commit to lifelong learning together.

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For the Love of Lifelong Learning

For the Love of Lifelong Learning

Guest writer, and guest lecturer for the Learning Without Scars “Lectures for Learners” series, Bonnie Feigenbaum writes today about something that matters to all of us. We invite you to read Bonnie’s blog post, “For the Love of Lifelong Learning.”

In Québec there is a saying, Je vais me coucher moins niaiseux à soir. »  which loosely translates to I’m going to bed wiser tonight.  That is my goal every day when I awake to learn something new so I can lay my head down with more information in it, with a deeper understanding of some aspect of the world we live in. I believe there are three types of lifelong learning you can incorporate into your life, have-to, need-to and want- to.

  1. Have-to – Continuing education to maintain your professional status

When I finished my formal education in the 90’s, recertification requirements to maintain your professional designations (statuses) were few and far between and opportunities for learning for self-improvement were also limited.  Now many professional orders and industries demand constant learning in order to be up to date on all the new technologies, practices and requirements.   For example, in Quebec, Real Estate Agents are required to complete 24 continuing education credits every two years in a variety of topics related to their field in order to maintain their membership in the association.  

In addition, in the last 30 years, education requirements to a decent job have boomed with most career driven employment requiring undergraduate degrees instead of just high school diploma, like in the securities industry, entry level positions where you need to have a bachelor’s degree to even be considered 

Due to technological advances, remote learning has made education more accessible to the masses both in terms of finance and convenience, respecting time constraints and learning styles.

Technology also affects the types of jobs out there.   Bank tellers are becoming obsolete, investment advisors and personal bankers replace them as their rote jobs are being downloaded to the consumer and these employees need to be trained to take on new roles.  People are changing jobs more frequently now, so acquiring new skills to enhance your employability will also be a benefit.  And you can look at these job changes in a different light as they are actually beneficial for lifelong learning. When you stay in the same organization, you gradually lose touch with the larger world outside your company’s silo. One of the biggest dangers of staying a at a job too long is that you fall behind what is happening in your industry and the wide world beyond it.

As many of my colleagues have written in these pages, I would encourage you to take advantage of any opportunities that your company affords you to further your education, develop the skills you need to maintain your status in advance to the next level. 

  1. Learning because you need-to

The advances in technology also dictates lifelong learning here as we transitioned from landlines to cell phones to smartphones, we had to learn how to use these new communication tools.  The same can be said of the transition to the online work environment and the current undeniable necessity of computer skills.

In addition, the rise of social media has led to a new participatory culture which means everyone can create and critique content in a real-time, unfiltered and direct way.  This social media landscape is rather new and versatile and requires the accumulation of new media literacy skills in particular, the ability to evaluate reliability and credibility of the information and sources.  you need to be able to ask the right questions to be able to determine what is “fake news”.  

Lastly, Consumer Behaviour theories have shown us that consumers’ prior product knowledge predicts their information search, illustrated by an inverted-U relationship between knowledge and external search effort. In other words, people with minimal expertise may not feel sufficiently competent to search extensively. Novice consumers tend to process information in terms of the big picture instead of detailed information. They are overwhelmed by the knowledge they need to acquire and don’t know where to start. On the other hand, experts feel they have a better sense of what information is relevant, sometimes falsely; thus, they engage in a minimal to selective search.  So, who searches the most? Moderately knowledgeable consumers. This means you need to develop a balanced base of knowledge in any subject so you can research and ask the right questions.

In today’s data-driven business landscape, staying up to date of the news and current events is an admirable way to learn about the new advances and challenges in our society, but how are they being presented, how can we navigate them, how can we succeed in this everchanging business landscape – committing to lifelong learning.

  1. Want-to Edu-taintment or Fun-ducation

Continuing education to maintain your professional status and to be able to function in to say society is required learning.  But what about wanting to learn?  Remember the joy and excitement you felt the first day of school?  Do you still feel that spark?  Well, that brings me to the next form of lifelong learning, you can have those experiences again with Edu-taintment or Fun-ducation mindset.  These refer to embracing the topics that you want to explore and are motivated to master.

Studies with young adults have shown that learning processes are typically associated with an enhanced and broadened brain activity. Neuroscientists from Bochum University observed, learning processes in old people result in a further enhancement of brain activity too and that older people improve even more than younger people.  This does not mean that training and learning can lead to a “rejuvenation” of the brain, nor does it reverse age-related brain changes, but rather remodels them.  This study demonstrated that training and learning pay off at every age, in order to remain fit.

How would you get started? What do you care about?  What did you want to be when you were a child??  There are classes available in a plethora of topics from ballet to baking, a multitude of language learning apps, how to videos for creative arts, electronics, web design and even construction.

Teachers can open the door to knowledge; but as I always tell my university students in this environment, you need to adult.  You enter and decide to stay in the room by yourself.  I believe that you can learn anything you want on your own time, I encourage to go to bed wiser every night.

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What Is Your Why for Learning?

What is Your Why for Learning?

Guest writer Kari Bogdan creates this week’s blog on lifelong learning with her article, “What is your why for learning?”

“You can have anything you want if you want it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose.” Abraham Lincoln

The reason(s) why we choose to learn should be personal and unique as each of us.  Before you start on the path to learning something new, try setting an intention.  Setting an intention is different from setting a goal for learning, because it focuses on “the why” and your return on investment.  It is about the person, place, thing or maybe even the feelings that you are striving for.  It’s about finding purpose. 

The odds of accomplishing your goals will be more realistic and more satisfying if you define your intentions. Here are things to remember when you begin to determine your purpose for learning:

  1. Take time to reflect. When you consider your purpose, a good place to start is asking yourself some questions like, “What do I value?”  “What do I believe?” “Who and what are the things most important to me?” This video could be helpful as you start to explore your why: What is the purpose of learning? 1
  2. Shift any limiting beliefs 2. If you have doubts about what you can achieve, you will not able to get very far. Get out of your own way. 
  3. Make sure it comes from a positive place 2Your intention should start with “I will”, rather than “I will not.” Research shows negative emotions can overpower their positive counterparts. 3
  4. State your intention 2. Write it down.  This will help you be accountable and take ownership. It can also serve as a reminder if you post it somewhere that you can read it each day.  You may even want to tell someone who cares about you about your intension.
  5. Be clear 2. The more specific you are, the more focused you will be. Remember, it’s about results.
  6. Keep it simple 2. It should be a sentence. Like learning, intentions can also be broken down to make them more manageable. You can start with your ultimate intention. Then, set a daily, weekly or monthly intention that will help you get there.

Once you declare your purpose, continue to reflect on it. You may even find that your purpose will change as you move forward. Remember, that through the process of learning you are growing. Do not be surprised if your “why” becomes something different along the way.


  1. Harvard University Online. (2017). What is the purpose of learning? Apr 19, 2017. Accessed November 28, 2022:
  2. Houlis, A. (2021). The power of setting intentions — and how to do it correctly. Self Magazine. Accessed November 28, 2022:

Vaish A, Grossmann T, Woodward A.  (2008). Not all emotions are created equal: The negativity bias in social-emotional development. Psychol Bull. 2008 May; 134(3): 383–403. Accessed November 28, 2022:

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Make It Intentional

Make It Intentional

In this week’s blog on Lifelong Learning, our curriculum designer, Caroline Slee-Poulos, advises us that we need to “Make It Intentional” when it comes to learning and to life.

Last week, our guest writer Steve Johnson advised our readers to “…make continuous learning intentional… ” This week, I would like to challenge you to bring intention into your family, your education, and your professional life.

What is intention, really? It’s certainly a word we hear when people accidentally hurt someone’s feelings: “I didn’t intend…” Of course, we also hear it in that old adage, “the road to Hell is paved with good intention.” In both of these cases, we are looking at intention as something passive, a thought or an idea. I would like to help you to make intention more of an action.

According to my favorite dictionary, Merriam Webster, intention is defined as “a determination to act in a certain way: resolve.” (Source)

If you bring intention into your everyday actions, you will see your life transformed.

To expand upon this a little bit… every class we create at Learning Without Scars is made with intention. Very deliberate intention. We analyze the needs of our students (professional and academic together); we create learning outcomes for each class; we gather feedback on sample class materials from Beta users; we adjust the materials based on your survey data. Our courses are adaptable to your short-term and longer-term goals and needs, just as you would experience in the traditional face-to-face classroom.

We intend for you to build a successful future with the tools you gain from your continuous learning.

The only missing ingredient is you! What is your intention?

It’s not the easiest question to answer. You have to look to the present, the immediate future, and the longer-term future. Where are you right now? Where do you see yourself in 1 year? In 5 years? In 20 years?

What personal goals and wants do you have for yourself? What will help you bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be? I am challenging you, TODAY, to sit down and take stock. Write it all out: today, 1 year, 5 years, 20. What do you need to do to reach those milestones? What actions do you RESOLVE to take in order to make it happen?

The advantage of continuing your education as an adult is that you can determine exactly what benefits you want to receive from your efforts and analyze what steps you are willing to take in order to reach your goals. When we are younger, life seems to start while we are just along for the ride.

In this phase of your education, you are the one driving that journey.

So, tell me, what are your intentions?

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Continuous Learning – Learning Without Scars’ Centers of Excellence

Continuous Learning – Learning Without Scars’ Centers of Excellence

In this week’s installment of our blog on Lifelong Learning, our guest writer Steve Johnson gives us this cutting-edge blog post of the way our education programs are taking shape: Continuous Learning – Learning Without Scars’ Centers of Excellence.

Why continuous learning should matter to you…

The Learning Without Scars website makes the statement that, “we know that ‘better’ is the enemy of ‘best,'” and “that everyone needs the knowledge, skills, and tools to continually elevate their own personal and professional development while contributing to the success of their companies and careers.” Learning Without Scars’ business is all about continuous learning: lifelong learning.

Continuous learning is essential for those employees who want to remain valuable to their employers, and advance both personally and professionally. That’s true whether you are climbing the corporate ladder, developing in-depth expertise in your chosen career field, or just want to be a better-informed human being. There are many reasons for you to invest your time and money in yourself through continuous learning. 

Keeping your skills and knowledge current strengthens your value to your employer. If you are not always learning, you’re not even treading water: you’re actually falling behind. In any work environment, development of new information and technology is rapid, and that pace keeps accelerating. At some point in the future, you could find out that management no longer feels you are relevant to attaining the company’s goals. You could find out that the job market feels the same about your resume. 

Continuous learning provides you with more professional resilience both at your company and in the broader business environment and marketplace. It ensures that you have or obtain not only the knowledge and skills requirements for your current job, but also lays the foundation for the next steps in your career path. It can help you stand out among your peers as an important part of the future of your company. It’s not a bad thing to be one of the “go to” people. Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of your company and lose the big picture of the environment and markets within which you work. Continuous learning can ensure that you exit that cocoon and keep informed of current trends as well as what may be impacting you in the future.  

Your company may be an excellent source for continuous learning, especially in such areas as company culture, products, IT systems, and best practices. They may have both formal and informal opportunities to develop your interpersonal and management skills. It makes good sense to pay attention in your day-to-day work for learning moments, and also for occasions where you can get out of your comfort zone and learn. Networking in your company will allow you to track the pulse of important activities, events and company direction. Networking through professional and industry organizations will give you a feel for the pulse of your industry and the economic environment.  

Take advantage of it when companies offer to enroll you in formal training, within or from outside the company. Alternatively, you can seek out specific education that aligns with your individual needs and goals. For example, I’ve read that many consider one’s personal oral and written communication skills to be critical to career success, and the importance of those skills increases as people pursue their career paths. Maybe “Toastmasters” is in your future. 

Learning Without Scars’ Centers of Excellence

Our efforts to encourage greater continuous learning in the industries we serve continue. A recent focus for Learning Without Scars is developing relationships with public higher learning institutions where these schools will also function as our Centers of Excellence (COE). 

Online, you will find a number of definitions for a COE. Wikipedia says it is a “team, a shared facility or an entity that provides leadership, best practices, research and support or training for a focus area.” It also can be a “network of institutions collaborating with each other to pursue excellence in a particular area.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines a COE as “a place or an organization that is known for doing a particular activity very well, and that is involved in new developments, new ways of working, etc.” We can add to the above, but I think you get the idea. Learning Without Scars is working to develop a network of schools to achieve the above goals and offer excellence in delivering education where it is needed.  

Our plan is to have ten of these Centers in the U.S. and Canada. Courses include new online certification programs offering comprehensive content in equipment dealer parts management and service management. The courses are applicable for heavy equipment dealers, including construction, heavy truck, mining, forestry, light industrial, and agriculture. We are working to soon provide automotive aligned versions of the programs. In the near future, we will also be able to provide dealer sales and marketing programs. Benefits of the new programs include: 

  1. High quality comprehensive curricula from a well-known industry expert; accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET); and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant.
  2. Content that is current and reviewed annually with IACET.
  3. Assessments are delivered throughout the learning process to measure learning progress.
  4. A Learning Management System available to dealer employees/students that allows both self-paced progress and 24/7 access to courses.
  5. Programs that result in industry credentials to employees and students upon successful completion.

As a final note, make continuous learning intentional and give it high priority. Continuous learning is your responsibility, not the responsibility of your company, your supervisor or anyone else. To be able to effectively manage your career, you need to plan your future, that is, identify your goals and chart your path for reaching those goals. An important part of that path is going to be continuous learning. Plan your educational future now. In doing that, we encourage you to explore educational opportunities at Learning Without Scars for high quality industry- and position-specific education. 

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Academic Credits

Academic Credits

For this week’s blog on Lifelong Learning, our Founder, Ron Slee, tackles one of those pesky, behind-the-scenes aspects of education: Academic Credits. Please note that this blog post will be published in English, Spanish, and French.

As an IACET accredited provider, Learning Without Scars has certain very specific rules to follow. For instance, to earn an official CEU we have to have ten hours of learning. This gets a touch more complicated when we look at the US Department of Education requirement of fifteen to sixteen hours for a single CEU.  However, they bury the lede in that statement.  This is all modeled on traditional, in-person learning. So many hours of face-to-face instruction, and so many hours of homework. 1 hour of facetime, 2 hours of homework.  That has been the “rule of thumb.” This cannot be “mandated” by the federal government here in the United States, it is only a guideline. However, in order for students to be able to obtain Federal loans or grants, the school MUST follow these rules. Since the United States federal government is secondary to state laws and policies, the number of course “hours” for Academic Credit can vary from state-to-state. Even further, the states give institutions of learning their own latitude when it comes to determining those course “hours.” That means each school can establish their own criteria for Academic Credits.

That is where it gets complicated for all of us here. Our classes offer six and a half hours of “face-to-face,” but asynchronous, learning. Albeit, it is not in a traditional classroom, it is on the internet. That means that there are six and a half hours of specific learning per class. We have been told that we must add a “homework” component to make it easier for the “Academic Credit” schools to add our classes to their curriculums. In line with that we are creating homework assignments for each of our classes following the “rule of thumb” of two hours of homework for each hour of face-to-face learning. In other words, for each class, we are adding thirteen hours of homework.

I have had a problem with this with several schools in that I have always asked questions about how the schools track that the students did the homework? The answer I consistently get is “we don’t.” That doesn’t account for the fact that an individual instructor may very well be tracking the homework. Or, an individual instructor might be following research-based practices and realizing that homework is not an effective tool for understanding. That research has been guiding a movement to phase out homework. I anticipate that this will also shake up the course hours model that is so widely varied here in the U.S.

I, as an educator, have always been more concerned that the student leaves my classes with a solid understanding of the subject matter. I use quizzes, snap exams, oral debates in other words everything I can to give the student the opportunity to show me that they “get it.” Caroline is of the same mind which led us to perhaps a different approach on the homework we assign. We provide the homework hours as “Close Reading and Annotation” assignments. If you follow research-based practices, reading is solid method for increasing knowledge and understanding. For each element of the assigned reading, we provide a “Check for Understanding.” This we do with a Quiz for each homework assignment. Obviously, we score the Quiz and provide that feedback to the student. We have established a level of 60% or higher as proof that our “Check for Understanding” goal has been met. This is another step we take to make us different from the traditional education model in use across the world and establish our internet-based learning as a viable model to be used everywhere by everyone.  

Through each of our Subject Specific Classes we have a similar structure and methodology. From the enrollment of the student from our website, or from the registration process at a school, the student receives from us the notice that they have been registered in one of our classes. They receive an email with a short slide show with audio explaining how the learning experience works. They will then receive an email allowing them to establish a password to our Learning Management Software system. From there they will see the full Learning Without Scars homepage. Once they have signed in, they will receive another email explaining what that home page is showing them and how it works. They can then proceed to their class.

Each class is a series of videos. Each video can be started and stopped multiple times and the student will always be brought back to their last position. We have short videos all of which end with a Quiz. That quiz is to test comprehension of the subject matter – it is a “Check for Understanding.” There is a quiz at the conclusion of each segment of the class. At the completion of each class, we have a twenty question, multiple choice, Final Assessment that the student has to pass if they want to obtain their certificate. The passing grade is 80%. The student can take the Final Assessment. Then we ask the student to give us their opinions on the class they just took. Finally, they then can get their certificate.

Now we are adding the Homework piece. We are selecting books that are pertinent to the class and providing the students with this list of books. Once this has been completed then we will add another check point prior to the receipt of the certificate. The student must have achieved 80% on the final assessment as well has receiving 60% on each of the “Check for Understanding” quizzes for each homework assignment.

We are truly providing a “school” experience with our internet based Subject Specific Classes.

Each LWS Class consists of 6 ½ hours of classroom and 13 hours of homework.

Two of our classes then earn an academic credit consisting of 13 hours of face-to-face learning and 26 hours of homework providing 39 hours of education to the student. That works for most schools but there will be others that have different requirements. We will adapt to the conditions and situations we come across so that our Classes will qualify everywhere. We already have Accreditation Internationally so that will allow us to continue with our work to offer all of our classes in English, French and Spanish. We will expand that language offering as required.

We continue to push forward. We have audio tracks to match our class reading assignments. We have closed captioning for all of our film clips. We have the multiple language platform underway. We are adding now the homework element. We have come a long way. That is true. However, we still have a long way to go and many more learning elements to add to our portfolio. Next is “Half” classes. We will address that more in the coming months. 

The Time is Now.

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Five Things

Five Things

For this week’s Lifelong Learning blog, Founder Ron Slee talks to us about performance reviews and leading teams – both in a classroom and in a business setting. He describes for us five things that prompt thoughtful conversations.

Five Things

Many of you know that I am almost fanatical about providing great performance reviews with each and every employee I touch. Regularly. Not annually rather as the opportunity arises. But frequently to say the least. Then this came up as I was running through my time allocated to social media and my email and texts. That allotted time is my recognition of distractions that Nir Eyal pointed out to me that changed how I work. That recognition came from his excellent book “Indistractable.

A post by Harvard Business School on LinkedIn brought to mind a few things I used to do, as a matter of common practice, when I was leading teams at dealerships or software companies.

I called them my “Five Things.” They went like this:

  • Please list the “Five Things” that are the most significant items in each of the categories. 
    • Five Things to Improve Operations
    • That are a pain for you to do
    • To Make Your Job Better for you personally

It was an interesting exercise. Everyone on the team had a week to make their lists and we tried to ensure they didn’t work together on their lists. Then we got together as a team, at a break or after work and put them on a flip chart. We compared the lists. It was remarkable how there werem any items that were on all of the lists. As you can imagine my question was rather simple. If they make operations better AND they are a pain for you to do AND they will make your own job better THEN why haven’t we done them. Think about that for a moment.

I also regularly asked each member of the team three simple questions.

  • My “Check Up from the Neck Up.”
    • What do I do that you like, and you want me to continue doing?
    • What do I do that you don’t like, and want me to stop doing?
    • What do I do that doesn’t really matter to you or impact your job?

That gave me a very upfront and personal performance review by my team members.

Then this morning I find the following on LinkedIn from Harvard Business School.

“If you’re worried that your employees are eyeing the door, it’s time to start having some important, career-defining conversations.  Here are five key questions to ask your direct reports at your next one-on-one to ensure that they feel seen and valued — before it’s too late.

  1. How would you like to grow within this organization?   Identify the career development opportunities they need — whether that’s coaching, mentoring, increased visibility, or more challenging projects.  They’re more likely to stay if they feel like they’re growing.
  2. Do you feel a sense of purpose in your job?   Tap into what’s meaningful to them — and connect it with the values of the organization.
  3. What do you need from me to do your best work?   Be prepared to devote more time and resources to help your employee feel fulfilled. 
  4. What are we currently not doing as a company that you feel we should do?   Asking what they feel the company could be doing better — what market opportunities it might be overlooking, how to leverage resources more effectively, etc. — conveys that their thoughts and opinions matter.
  5. Are you able to do your best work every day?   This allows you to determine whether they’re optimizing their strengths. You might follow up with, “What part of your job would you eliminate if you could?” Don’t make promises but knowing which aspects of their job are least and most enjoyable will help you make any necessary changes to ensure they stick around.”

As many of you know I am quite critical about our skills in performing a performance review with your team members. Typically, no one has trained any of you on how to do a review. In many cases the review is what I call a “hygiene” review. Is the employee on time or late, are they absent a lot, are they dressed properly. Oh, and then some metrics. In many cases the individual employee does not have any control over the metrics so why are they in their performance review. It is almost that I have to check off another of the boxes on the things I should do.

Many of you know that we have Job Function Skills Assessments for most parts and service and product support selling jobs. Ninety-Six Multiple Choice questions. Your knowledge and skill level will be seriously evaluated with these assessments. This is about getting an objective measure of the “gaps” in the skills and knowledge that are present with an employee. The employee and their team leader sit down and talk about the assessment. With the score that the employee has achieved on the assessment we can provide a “Learning Skill Level.” The Skill Levels follow the education system categories: Developing, Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced. With each Skill Level we have eight class recommendations for the employee to continue to grow and develop their skills. We recommend that the team leader and the employee come to a joint decision on the classes that the employee should take to continue on their “career path.” This is a very different performance review. This is about treating each employee as an asset not an expense. They are people that we want to operate “aspirationally” (our word) not transactionally. We want employees that are engaged in their work.

For more in this direction please read David Jensen’s recent post on PTO

The Time is Now.

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Learning Inventories

Learning Inventories

This week, our Curriculum Designer, Caroline Slee-Poulos, continues our series on Lifelong Learning with her post on learning inventories.

When we speak of learning styles, most often we are referring to three primary categories: visual, auditory, kinesthetic. If you are a visual learner, you are thought to learn most effectively through images (or, you know, visual aids). For auditory learners – who, by the way, are technically aural or auditory-musical learners – it is thought that hearing information is the most beneficial delivery system. For kinesthetic learners, we consider the “learn by doing” method to be most effective, although incorporating movement in any way can be helpful.

Most of us don’t necessarily pay attention to learning and education in a “meta-” way: we don’t study how we learn.

The difficulty we face with learning styles is two-fold.

First of all, those three categories above aren’t actually all of the categories. The full list is seven learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, social, solitary, verbal, and logical. Considering there are seven of them, it’s pretty strange that many learning inventories cover only those first three.

Second, these learning styles have been thrown out the window as an effective way of teaching. Although the “know thyself” wisdom of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi is always valuable – for the learners – an educator should not be seeking to sort students into neat little compartments. Or houses. This isn’t Hogwarts, after all…

With asynchronous education, we have to reach multiple styles and multiple forms. I think we can all agree that online learning isn’t necessarily geared towards movement, even though a standing desk (or, better yet, a treadmill desk!) can change that. Despite that, our classes do hit the visual, auditory, verbal, logical, and solitary notes.

Then again, since you have the flexibility to take a class at home, you may very well be surrounded by family. This wouldn’t be solitary at all.

The question is: do you know yourself? What would you say your own learning style is? This week, I would like to ask each of you to take a simple learning inventory quiz. Once you have your result, give it some thought. What surprises you in your results? What did you already know about how you learn? How can this information help you in your continuing education? Let us know in the comments!

The learning inventory can be found here.

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Becoming Successful

Becoming Successful

In this week’s installment on Lifelong Learning, our Founder shares a blog post on all of the professional steps involved in becoming successful.

Everywhere you look and a large amount of what you read people are talking about attracting, finding, hiring, developing and retaining talented people. It would appear, at least from everything that is out there, that it would be easy to find a rewarding and challenging place to work. It appears that you would be able to show your talents and potential to these desperate employers.   

Good luck with that. 

Like most other things in life if you want to become successful you have to put in the work. That is easy to say, but what do you mean? 

Let’s be systematic and outline some steps. But first, please remember success is not a reflection of your job alone. It is a reflection of who and what you are as a person. 

Phase One 

Here, you have to do some serious self-reflection on what you think you need to do to represent the best person you can be. This is very personal, isn’t it? There is only one of you on the planet. Let’s be systematic; what are your values, your strengths and weaknesses. Are there things that you already know you need to improve on. Write them down. Is there anything that you have wanted to do forever, but never had the time to do? What about your physical being. Do you need to improve your health, your weight, your condition? Be brutally honest here. Never forget that the easiest person to lie to is your reflection in the mirror. 

Next let’s establish some action items and goals. There are many sources that tell us that setting goals is an important aspect of becoming successful. So, make it real, write it down. Make a list of what you want to get done, what you want to achieve. This is where you have to remember that your goals need to be achievable. Don’t be unrealistic. In this area it is extremely important that you are very specific. 

Finally, for this first phase, you have to make a commitment to yourself that these lists are things you are going to work on every day. No slacking off. In leading a team we have to be able to communicate to a group of people what you are trying to do. Then you have to have the discussion, the debate, as to whether or not that is the right thing to do. You MUST have that debate. Once everyone has had their say and you have reached a common understanding then and only then will you and your team be committed to make it happen. This time you are the team. You have to be all in, totally committed to making this happen.         

Phase Two

Find someone or something to be your lighthouse, you beacon, your spiritual guide. Don’t laugh at this. It is important. Find someone with whom you can talk. You will get discouraged and they can perk you up. Make no mistake, you are the one that has to get this done, but there will be times that you will need help and encouragement. I used to find a piece of music that motivated me. Those of you that have listened to any of our Podcasts know that the song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is one of those inspirations for me. Another thing that has helped me often is to have a pad handy or talk to your phone. When something strikes you record it. It is much too easy to forget those brilliant ideas you had in the middle of the night. A long time ago, I was a Data Processing Manager at a dealership. We were open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I used to go to bed with a pad and a pen on the nightstand so that when I woke up with that brilliant idea, in the middle of the night, I could write it down I wouldn’t lose it. Isn’t that strange? Of course, I am sure you guessed it, I couldn’t read my writing in the morning, so I stopped doing it. Oh well.

Remember your goals from Phase One. Now might be a good time to go back and review those goals and break them down into more manageable chunks. Allow yourself the opportunity to succeed at those goals. Make them shorter and more easily achieved. As you begin to have more success at achieving those goals you can make them bigger. Remember Collins and Porras in their book Good to Great. They wanted us to create BHAGS. Big Hairy Audacious Goals. 

 Similarly remember those aspects from Phase One that had to do with your appearance. Dress for success. Exercise regularly. Eat the right food. And don’t be surprised if you have to make some changes. Sometimes you will have external influences over which you have little if any control. Focus on those things in your plan, in your activities, over which you have control. The things that you can influence.

Phase Three

Things are building you can feel a difference. You feel more in control of your life. This is a good time and it is a good place where you have your mind. However, you will have setbacks, you will fail at some things. Don’t get discouraged. Failures and failing are part of life. Edison famously said “I have not failed I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 

One of the things that has worked well for me is even though I knew I had failed I never took it personally. Remember that the mission you have is important. It is not necessarily going to be easy. Not everyone can be all they want to be. This where you might need that support figure. You don’t need to do this alone. Finally, trust your instincts, trust you gut. Intuition and contemplation are best when they work together. 


Achieving your potential is a lifelong process. Your skills and abilities are dynamic, they’re constantly changing. That is true because you are constantly learning. Samuel Beckett wrote “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” If you follow his advice and continue on the path to lifelong learning you will achieve your potential and you will have become successful.

The time is now. 

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Want to Become More Resilient? Learn Something New.

Want to Become More Resilient? Learn Something New.

In this week’s installment of Lifelong Learning, we are pleased to introduce our new guest writer, Kari Bogdan. Kari Bogdan has nearly 20 years of experience in the training and development industry.  Her expertise is design and development of engaging instructor-led training, online education, and curriculum development.  Currently, she is a Learning Specialist for Children’s Wisconsin.  In her first blog post for Learning Without Scars, she challenges readers with her title: Want to Become More Resilient? Learn Something New.

Kari serves on the Board of Directors for the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the Association for Talent Development (SEWI-ATD) as Vice President of Professional Development. She is also a member of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Women Leaders Association. 

Kari has worked in a variety of industries with a focus on health care over the past 10 years.  From 2003-2007, she was the Manager of Continuous Education for the Associated Equipment Distributors.  Previously, Kari was a video and multimedia producer for over 9 years working on training, sales, and corporate communication.

Kari holds a Master’s Degree in Adult Education from Capella University in Minneapolis, MN and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Radio-TV-Film from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Want to become more resilient? Learn something new.

Before 2019, I didn’t realize how much it meant to me to talk to my coworkers about projects or even their life experiences on a regular basis. It struck me the other day that, besides the companionship or the environment of a physical workspace, the thing that I was also missing was the opportunity to learn and grow. It wasn’t until I sought out new ways of learning that I began to feel a little better about what was going on around me.

Numerous studies have pointed to the benefits of life-long learning. One of them is a higher level of resiliency or the ability to cope with change. Resilience is defined as the ability to cope and thrive in the face of negative events, challenges or adversity. It can lead to improved self-esteem, a sense of control over life events, a sense of purpose in life, and improved interpersonal relationships1,2. The result is a more fulfilled individual. Organizations have also found that resiliency contributes to greater job satisfaction, work happiness, organizational commitment and employee engagement.

Think about the last time you met someone who had a really interesting hobby or a cool job. You found yourself asking, “How did they do that?” You decided to learn more.

You took on a challenge, you overcame an obstacle and you did it! The feeling you experienced was really good. That is a demonstration of resilience. 

Becoming more resilient is something that you can achieve. There are more opportunities to learn than ever before. It does take some effort. In the end, however, I have no doubt that you will find is worth it. If you want to learn more, this article can provide you with some good insights and advice. Click here

Here are some key things that I have learned about trying something new. You may have heard some of these before, but perhaps it has been a while. 

  1. Find your motivation: Ask questions like, “Why am I doing this?” “What is in it for me?” “How do I hope to feel once I have done it?” 
  2. Start by focusing on one achievable thing. If it is something long term, break it into manageable chunks.
  3. Take time out each week to focus on that one thing. Schedule it and don’t move it.
  4. Be curious. Look for resources of information that are reputable or people with experience who can offer advice or show you how to do it.
  5. Let someone else know what you are working on so that they can support you.
  6. Don’t give up if you make a mistake or fail. Think about what you learned in the process.
  7. Keep track of what you have accomplished and celebrate your wins.

If you have done this before, then you know that you are capable. Find your motivation and get to it.



  1. McAllister, Margaret, and Jessica McKinnon. “The importance of teaching and learning resilience in the health disciplines: a critical review of the literature.” Nurse Education Today 29.4 (2009): 371-379.
  2. Masten AS, Cutuli JJ, Herbers JE, Reed MG. 12 Resilience in Development. The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology. 2009; 21:117.
  3. Goh J, Pfeffer J, Zenios SA. The relationship between workplace stressors and mortality and health costs in the United States. Management Science. 2015;62(2):608-28.
  4. American Psychological Association. “Building your resilience.” February 1, 2020. Accessed October 14, 2022:
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