I like the term Learning Sherpa more than learning guide, because the term “guide” implies this is someone who knows where to go. Well, that should really be up to the learner. Yes, a sherpa can provide some guidance, but a sherpa is actually there to locate or provide the resources the learner needs, be it coaching, guidance, support, learning materials, or direct instruction.
So when I say “Learning Sherpa,” I am offering my services to assist you (be you an individual, team, group, school, corporation, or non-profit) on your learning journey.
Like a sherpa, I know the mountain and the proper pathways to ascend its heights. I know what you will need to succeed in the attempt. By this, I mean, the Learning Sherpa has sussed out requirements of “summiting the peak” of the knowledge or skills you’re seeking.
This help includes pointing out the way — a way crafted by passage of sherpas and learners before, so in this instance, the curricular pathway to your end goal. In learning, this can include instructional materials, courses, and learning experiences such as mentoring and collaborative constructivism that have been proven to help people learn what they need (or want) to know.
A Sherpa carries supplies you will need later. A Learning Sherpa looks ahead on your learning path to make sure you can continue apace with your learning even under challenging circumstances.
Specific examples of my acting s learning sherpa are as elusive as examples of my role as a creative catalyzer. Often, this role almost invisibly enhances the effectiveness of other aspects of learning. After all, just as we remember the mountaineer rather than the sherpa, we want to focus on the learner rather than the support system.
Truthfully, I still get most work referrals with my title of Instructional Designer. I just find find that the work itself encompasses so many other skills sets that I feel compelled to explain what I do in other ways. Sparking curiosity by listing these unusual titles on my business card opens up a conversation, allowing me to see if my skills might be of service to he person asking what I do.
So, call me the next time you need a Knowledge Wrangler or a Creative Catalyzer or a Learning Sherpa — or even an Instructional Designer!