Lifelong Learning

By Lisa Biasillo,
Vice President, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Wildlife Education Programs

Professional learning is not a one-size-fits-all prescription. The path is not standard. The methods are not uniform, and the task is never complete. Thankfully, our industry is not static. This is the beauty of lifelong learning. You don't need a special degree, a prescribed pathway, or endless hours. You simply need a curious spirit and the motivation to grow.

There has been a consensus that adults need flexibility in their learning—the modalities, the style, and the frequency. And by human nature, we seek professional growth and development to feel fulfilled.

Learning comes in many forms, including degrees, professional courses, and workshops—but also through short courses, podcasts, books, talking with colleagues, and webinars. Bite-sized learning is vital, often more digestible, and, therefore, impactful.

At San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, we utilize the Academy for its flexibility. We appreciate its ability to empower learners to choose their pathway, and decide when and where they want to engage. The courses embed an array of learning styles and can be paused at any time, which is essential for our busy team members. Each course directly tackles the topic and strikes the right time commitment, so we can be sure that team members are efficiently getting the essential information. We are naturally inclined to value being given options and choices, and our team members at SDZWA appreciate being empowered to choose their pathway.

To further support our staff's professional development, we cultivate a community of learning and growth. We share articles, connect with colleagues from other organizations, and watch webinars together. Earlier this year, the leadership team from our education and community engagement departments conducted a literature review on environmental education, and other related topics. Because of that learning, we have identified the areas we want to focus on for our upcoming professional development. We see our professional growth as a journey, and one that is made better when surrounded by colleagues.

Contact us to find out how you can engage and empower your team members using the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Academy.