Tuesday, December 23

Thinking Back to The Future!

First, I would like to wish all Muslim readers a belated Eid Mubarak (Eid-al-Adha), and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for readers celebrating those events.

Some people might be wondering, "how come ZaidLearn has been so quiet for more than a month (since 10th November)?". Partially, it is because I have been busy reflecting since then about this year and how to move forward in 2009. Also, since my last post I have conducted two e-learning workshops in Saudi Arabia (17-19 and 22-23 November), had a spiritual journey (Umrah), a two week terrible flu experience (but Insha-Allah a cleansing one), and delivered a lecture on critical thinking at the Ministry Of Health Malaysia Tutor's Conference, besides work and family pleasure.

Although, the online learning adventures have brought me joy and some success, I can't say that of my last learning adventures in the physical world. Somehow, they have been way below what I had envisioned (a real wake-up call!). Though, I was really impressed and humbled by the amazing hospitality and kindness I received in Saudi Arabia (Thank you so much!). Everyone, from the Director to the hotel driver were simply amazing. Although, the workshops didn't work out as well as I had hoped, I do hope that they benefited from them in one way or the other. Yes, those two workshops (3+2 days) with a Umrah smacked in between was really exhausting (of course my fault!). I am for sure not planning to try something like that again (at least not as a one-man show!). Hm, on the last day of the second workshop, my brain simply malfunctioned. At one stage, I was babbling things that weren't making any sense at all. Oh I forgot, I was even interviewed by one of the Saudi TV Channels on the second day of this adventure. 10.00 pm local time, no make-up, 5-hour jet lag, meaning 3.00 am Malaysian time. In other words, I must have looked really tired! In short, I have produced a laundry list of things that I could have done better (or have avoided).

Then a couple of days ago (21/12), I conducted a lecture about critical thinking at the Ministry Of Health Malaysia Tutor's Conference in Kuantan. Again, it was another speedy energetic inter-galactic infusion-of-confusion kind of delivery. In short, it was a mess (from a learning point-of-view), but hopefully they benefited from the slides and some of the points I made. Though, I would like thank and congratulate the hosts for their hospitality, caring and understanding. One of the organizers even apologized to me on behalf of some of the tutors who fell asleep during the lecture.

Whether it was the dinner (just before the lecture), their long journeys to the event that day (from all over Malaysia), or my confusing lecture that was to blame is something that could be debated, but surely it has changed my plan and hedgehog goals for 2009.

To sum up 2008, I would say that the ZaidLearn online learning adventure has been quite successful (No mood to discuss it, but you can Google 'zaidlearn' to figure it out), but the worldly adventures have been rather a big question-mark (lectures, workshops and work)!

To transform this big question mark (failure!) into success, will be my major hedgehog goal for 2009. So, the Learning Innovation Lab and PhD adventure (
unless I can align it with this hedgehog goal) will be put on hold. This time it is personal!

So, what is my hedgehog goal for the near future?

Why me? Why now? But, then again, everything happens for a reason, and hopefully this is the case here. I am still learning (the hard way! As usual!). But then again, no point crying about it. I suppose the best thing to do, is to zoom in on the problem (me!) and transform it into a learning opportunity. So, after a couple of shaky learning adventures I have decided to dedicate 2009 to mastering the art of simplifying ideas (or content) and inspiring people to learn. Some might argue that people can only inspire themselves to learn. So, if that is the case, I need to master the art of triggering people to inspire themselves to learn. But first, I need to trigger myself to inspire myself to learn.

By the end of 2009, this learning journey (or approach) will hopefully be known as the ZaidLearn Method (Simplify Ideas, Inspire People!). I am not sure if I can get a PhD on that (unless I complexify the simplifying!), but hopefully I will increasingly be able to simplify my ideas (and content), and connect with learners in new and inspiring ways, as I learn.

I was thinking, what if I could learn how to simplify content like the Zen, and inspire people like Obama. What if I could apply this to... Not everything can be learned (nature vs nurture!), but we will never know unless we challenge ourselves beyond thinking about it!

For years, people have been telling me to focus, and perhaps now I have found an area that at last excites me to focus (for a longer period than a few hours!), besides the personal mind enforcement kind of approach. If I am not mistaken, I wrote somewhere about doing a PhD entitled 'The Lecture' some time back (here it is!). I suppose now this prediction might even come true. Well, not perhaps the PhD part, but the journey to mastering the art of lecturing. This time it is about survival!

2009 here I come! Only God (Allah) knows where that will end! But, at least the hunger to learn is back in me. Yes, I am back, hopefully on the right track :)


doofdaddy said...

Always enjoy your blog. May you have a blessed '09.

Zaid Ali Alsagoff said...

Hi Tom,

Thanks (for the compliment!) and may you have a great 2009, too.

I will surely be reflecting your amazing blog more (than usual) in 2009, as I figure out what the ZaidLearn Method (Simplify Ideas, Inspire People) is really about :)

Warm Regards,


Anonymous said...

the art of simplification.
:P been doin research on that for the past 12 years.
simplicity is one of the best ways to advance thinking. as such, i think it's gonna be a cool topic for your doctoral research.