I just submitted the third draft of my doctoral learning plan to my mentor. It's odd for me to say "third draft" because it's the first one that I've sent to him. The way I think it usually works is I produce something then send it to my mentor who in turn reviews it and provides feedback; each iteration of create/edit and review/feedback produces another draft version. In this case I held it pretty close to my heart; the more I thought about it the deeper I think I understand Fielding's doctoral learning model and my place within it. At least I hope so. The idea came to me just now that I can keep going round-and-round about it but until I get my mentor's perspective I'm not being as effective as I can be.
My learning plan includes several sections; three of the sections are very meaningful to me. They include:
1. Self-assessent relative to the Fielding doctoral competencies
2. Stating my personal/professional goals
3. Determining the Knowledge Areas (KAs) that make up my course of study
At my last institution my advisor did most of the work preparing my learning plan; I let her know what I was interested in and she, working within the constraints of course scheduling, identified when I would be able to take a course. In the Fielding model I not only identify what KAs interest me but I also specify what I will do with it and how my efficacy will be assessed. I'm doing the heavy-lifting this time: cool.
My main research interest is studying the role of socialization, fun and media (story as well as technology) in positively influencing learner efficacy and outcomes. With this in mind here are the KAs I want to study (note that the first four KAs are required by Fielding):
ELC - 751
ELC - 752
Leadership and Change
ELC - 769
Structural Inequality and Diversity
ELC - 753
Systems Thinking and Intervention
ELC - 781
ELC - 778
Technology, Learning and Teaching
ELC - 774
ELC - 770
Creativity and Problem Solving
You can learn more about Fielding's KAs at http://www.fielding.edu/programs/elc/elc/curriculum.aspx.
There's a part in the 2000 movie Space Cowboys where one of the astronauts, Tank Sullivan (James Garner, 2000), invokes [Alan] Shepard's prayer: "Oh Lord, please don't let us screw up. Amen." This is kind of how I feel about the program I'm just starting. I've given a lot of thought about the studies I'm undertaking. The only thing I have to do now is get my mentors' buy-in to my plan and then work/study/research like mad for the next four years.
Garner, J. (2000). Space cowboys. Retrieved from the IMDB website at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0186566/quotes on April 13, 2010.