“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis
One of my favorite bloggers is John Spencer. On New Year’s Eve, he challenged his readers to think of goals differently this year. After reading his blog post, “A Different Way to Set Goals for the New Year,” I felt challenged. He wrote about the difference between process and product goals. I started thinking about my personal goals for this new year. How focused on a product was I personally? Here are my goals for this new year:
- Blog weekly.
- Read at least one new book a month.
- Exercise 4 days a week.
- Appreciate the “joy” of life with my family and friends.
- Eat more healthy.
After reflecting on my goals, at first glance I lamented that I was entirely too focused on product. But, as I reflected more about my intent in these goals, maybe it wasn’t just on the product. Is there how we think we design learning goals? Are we as concerned with process as the product? What is that product? I certainly hope the product isn’t just a passing grade on a test or completed checklist.
I began to think how this translates to the classroom. Lately, it feels like about every other tweet on my Twitter feed is about the STEM, STEAM, or Maker Movement with a few speckles of personalized or customized. Are we focused too much on a product? I believe the process is essential to consider in our design of learning experiences. We want to construct an experience that requires learners to apply lifelong habits of mind and complex thinking skills in the process of gaining content knowledge. Perhaps we should consider requiring goals of both types as we are designing a learning experience.
There is nothing wrong with product goals but too many product goals create an environment that is focused on completing a project and not the continuous growth mindset that process goals encourage.
Think of your learning as a journey (process) and not a destination (product). Think back to your goals. Are you on the right track? Do you need to change directions? What can you take time to celebrate?
Make some time for reflection as an opportunity to examine where you’ve been and where you are going.