What I Learned in February

February has been a busy month for me. Hectic actually.

Besides the client work,  I explored other contracts (inside and outside of my current organisation), as well as continued my professional development through various MOOCs and the Social Learning Centre UK.

What I’ve noticed is I prefer my learning to have some immediate application to my work.  That is, one of the things I learned from doing various MOOCs is that the material has to be ‘real’ to me.  I have to make some sense to it by putting it into a workplace context – I need to mull it over in my head, I need to apply and tinker with it in my work and then I need to reflect on whether it worked or not.

My learning must be applied to some workplace project or activity in order for it to be relevant to me.

That’s not to say that I don’t value hearty discussion, debate and pontification but conceptual frameworks don’t mean anything to me unless some example of how it can be applied in a practical context is provided.

So what am I trying to say?

Basically, sometimes I start out as an active learner, all gung-ho and ready for learning but if I find the content doesn’t apply to my work, I switch to being a lurker – or maybe entirely, drop out completely.

So What Did I Learn this Month?

Digital Literacy was a standout this month on my favourite Educational Technology cMOOC (#etmooc).  I am really enjoying this MOOC because it has a great blend of theory, webinars, practicals and a wonderful community of people and networks.  It’s also FUN!  The course organisers for example, create opportunities for people to get involved in some activities such as a crowd sourced lip-sync that make the course not only educational but create a spirit of supportive and collaborative learning.  I’m glad that this was my first experience of a cMOOC because it’s been positive.

Media Learning Lab cMOOC (#medialabcourse).  Thank you to @RyanTracy for alerting me to this course. With a opening time for registrations, I quickly pondered whether I need to get involved with yet another MOOC. However, since the eLearning and Digital Technology MOOC (#edcmooc) wasn’t really inspiring me, I thought I’d give this one a go.  I’m glad I did because once again, you can apply what you are learning to your work.  I also created our own little Google+ Community for our group the LCL-747ers (as I call ourselves) where we can share what we’re learning in our group.

However in the last couple of weeks, I haven’t been as active because of my workload but admittedly, they are getting us to create some Scratch projects which I don’t really find inspiring. I created a couple of simple Scratch projects but felt I was really wasting my time.

I’m getting more enjoyment out of the readings and reflecting about these rather than the actual ‘playing’ with the Scratch tool.

The eLearning and Digital Cultures xMOOC (#edcmooc) I am still unsure about this one.  It got rave reviews online but I must have missed something.  Although the videos were enjoyable to watch, when it came time to reading the papers, I was ready to poke my eyes out with a fork.  I found this MOOC too conceptual for my needs but I did enjoy reading some of the posts that people put up about the various weeks.  I toyed with the idea of creating a digital artefact for the last week with the idea of getting quick head snapshots or video of various professions and how technology has impacted them over the years: a ‘before’ and ‘after’ shot.  But when I thought about it more, frankly, I couldn’t be bothered.

So I left #edcmooc to concentrate on #etmooc which I was enjoying more than all the others put together.

Do I stay or leave Rotary? I have been a Rotarian for many years and enjoyed my connection with this service organisation.  In the last 18 months, I have been involved with the Rotary eClub of Greater Melbourne – an online community of club members who may not have the time to attend physical club meetings.  Admittedly, I think I’m missing the actual ‘face time’ with club members but I’m in two minds about it.  I don’t want to go back to a physical club with ‘old fashioned’ protocols and procedures but at the same time, I don’t want to be fully online either.

So to try and re inspire myself – and hopefully, others, this month, I created a “Breakfast Club” for our eClub to get people to come to a Sunday breakfast so that we can at least meet each other in person.  Our first breakfast had four people – next month, I hope more.

I also created a group in the online forums to assist members to contribute because I have a feeling that many just don’t know how to use the site.

Did I actually learn anything at work?

Umm…let me think.

I’ve been doing various bits and pieces of development work for my internal clients but nothing too inspiring.  My best learning comes from sitting with the actual work teams on the floor so I’ve had an opportunity to visit a couple of them this month and see what they do and how they work.  There’s also a couple of needs analyses to be done but I find the inspiration comes from what others are doing.  This is usually found in Yammer where I trawl through the treads and see what other parts of the business are up to.

I seem to learn a lot more from other areas outside of L&D.

One in particular thread took my fancy around ‘Sonic Guidelines’ – they called them. The use and guidelines of music for videos created internally.  I cannot say anymore on the topic but it heartened me that our company was well aware and onto this and guiding staff around this minefield.

Reflection of my Childhood

In the Media Lab Course, we had to write a story (in whatever format), any objects or toys that inspired us as children.  I really struggled with this one and it made me reflect on my childhood. I’m not one to dwell on my earlier years but I do recall that books were my favourite.

The Connected Worker Yammer Group

In February, I read Harold Jarche’s post in his blog Life In Perpetual Beta about “The New Artisans of the Networked Era” and at the time I was also completing the Online Communities workshop through the Social Learning Centre.

One day while working in another building, I had a Yammer follower  (whom I never met in real life) see me and exclaim that he liked what I wrote on Yammer because he and his team were learning from the posts.  They created discussions around my topics!

I was chuffed to say the least as I always have this sneaking feeling that I’m considered the Learning and Development kook.  People don’t really know how to take me.

So just to confirm their suspicions, I decided to create  The Connected Worker – Networked Artisans for the Future Workplace Yammer group at our company and share references, resources, notes and links to various sites that trigger thinking about networking and learning.

I called it ‘Connected Worker’ because in the corporate world, “networked artisan” may just have cemented my kookiness.  In defence, I just say that they’re just not ready for these words yet and I’m waiting until a senior leader utters them from their lips which will then spread like wildfire across the organisation…

Screen shot 1The group has 25 members in the first week but it requires some thinking on my part to get people conversing a lot more (so using more videos and polls at this stage for ‘one click’ responses to build a community that trusts this group) because I don’t want it to go down the path of many online communities that have cyber tumbleweeds drifting through them.

The one post that had over 44 replies was the one on CEO Yahoo Marissa Mayer.  Somehow that one got everyone talking…and they’re STILL contributing to the conversation.

I will write a specific blog post about this Yammer Group in the near future.

Social Media for Learning Professionals: Twitter 101

I was asked to deliver a session on Twitter to an external organisation and I agreed.

However, the more I thought about it, I realised that I could run the same session with our own internal L&D team for the company I work for.  So I developed both a facilitator-led workshop during lunch time and called it ‘Lunch and Learn’ and created it’s own hashtag #lunchlearn101.  For our interstaters, I will run it as a virtual classroom in early March and we will be having some people outside of our organisation join in as well!

It was a success!  You can read about it here.

Foreign Language Tweets

For those who know me, sometimes I do send out tweets in Greek.  Rest assured the Greek tweets are usually dedicated to commentary about the financial situation in Greece in particularly, following economist Yiannis Varoufakis and the journalist who was tossed into prison for exposing the LaGarde list.  This was the list of all corrupt politicians which miraculously went missing but he found it and published it. For his effort, he was jailed.  Naturally, I take an interest in the situation and hope that Greece cleans its image of corruption and scandal, ousts all the politicians who took the country down the gurgler and instills new financial reforms, industry and processes to get the country back on its feet.

This month, I got my FIRST FRENCH TWEET! I was ecstatic!  I had tweeted a link about Community Management books and I got a response asking if there were any French books.  Six years of high school French kicked into action.  It’s not a surprise that I love this language and I should have kept with it so that I could be fluent.  There must be a French migration to Australia recently as I keep hearing the language more and more – and it makes such a pleasant change.

So here’s a snippet of what I said…(the conversation continued because other French people got involved).  I do hope that @khalier got his answer – as the conversation continued afterwards with more helping him out.

(I couldn’t remember how to say, ‘no trouble at all’ or ‘no worries’ – looking at the Google Translate of these words didn’t make sense for me either so I decided to go with the smiley face 🙂 .

I’m sure “OK” is globally accepted…

Capture

Tweet Ups

This month I had two tweet ups! I met Rebekah (@RebekahMCB) and Gerardine (@GerardineTweets).  In both cases, I enjoyed meeting up with the ladies face-to-face and carry on our online conversations in person.

I also attended our regular Learning Cafe breakfast that occur every last Wednesday of the month and our topic of discussion over a caffe latte and a vegemite toast was on the recent Learning Unconference that some members attended in Sydney.

So overall a busy month!!

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About Activate Learning Solutions

Helen Blunden is the founder of Activate Learning Solutions and Third Place. She has over 20 years of experience within learning and development across private, public and not-for-profit organisations. With a specialty in performance consulting and networked learning, Helen believes that workplace learning is integral to business success. She has a passion for enabling people to learn beyond the classroom and believes in the power of networks and communities to drive collaboration and meaning within the organisation. From facilitator-led instruction, online and blended, Helen deploys social and informal learning such as enterprise social networking, collaboration tools and emerging technologies that have been proven successful and embedded workplace change.
Aside | This entry was posted in Development, EDCMOOC, ETMOOC, Media Lab Course, Work Narration and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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