What I Learned in March

Where did this month go?

I don’t know about you but does it feel like the months zip by?

Some of you may know that I’m on the Michelle Bridges 12 week Body Transformation Program.  Michelle Bridges is an Australian personal trainer and marketing guru who has transformed health and lifestyle in Australia.  She is a co-host of Australia’s Biggest Loser, a television program that sees various overweight people who want to make a change in their lives, battle out their weight and food demons and to inspire others to do the same.

I’m the type of person who has to have goals.  If there are no goals to aspire to, I tend to get lazy and wave off the task.  I’m also impatient and lack willpower.  I will find any excuse under the sun not to go to the gym …even to the point of exclaiming that housework needs to get done.

Here are my priorities…

  • Writing a blog post VS a run in the park [no brainer – no to running – or shuffling in my case]
  • Picking up my knitting vs a Body Combat class [no brainer – yarn always comes first]
  • Knitting vs Blogging [yeichs, tough one…OMG…likely to make me panic so I…surf the internet or another time waster so I don’t have to make a choice between my two loves]
  • Washing the dishes vs going for a walk [oh, tough one but think the walk beats it]
  • Unloading dishwasher vs going for a walk [hate unloading dishwasher but thankfully, that’s what hubby can be tasked with while I go for a walk]
  • Body Combat vs Spin Class [Combat beats stationary bike riding – at least I can punch and kick the air and not get a sore bum at the end of it]
  • Yoga vs Meditation [another tough one but meditation beats it because I can lie on the ground, doze off and dream of clouds]
  • Yoga vs Pilates [Pilates by a smidge because the instructor is French and I like listening to her accent]

So you can see my priorities.

Let’s get to the point of this post.  What did I learn in March?

Personal Stuff:

Since the beginning of the year and on the 12 week body transformation program, I lost 6 kilos. There’s been no ‘body transformation’ (no muscles because weights are tedious for me) except for feeling thinner, no carbs in evening and sugar intake drastically reduced.  Needless to say been feeling healthier and energetic.  I learned that it’s not the amount of exercise you do – it’s monitoring what goes into your gob.  

My mum recently joined the volunteer organisation Country Women’s Association and she has got back into her sewing and crochet which is nice to see.  It means that she has time to do the things now in her retirement that she enjoys.  Her passion for crochet has already made me interested in learning more about this craft, so we’re learning more together.  Imagine her surprise when I showed her YouTube videos of ‘how to crochet’.  As she peered over her bifocals at the computer screen, she had exclamations of surprise as she instantly learned what she had been doing wrong all these years.  Watching her watch YouTube made me appreciate the value of this tool that has brought a whole world of crafts and more learning into our lives.

The clincher was that my mum has asked me to teach her how to knit.  I’m chuffed that my mum has asked ME to teach her something. Usually, for all of my life, it’s been the other way around.

(She’s still waiting for me to ask her about her teaching me how to cook all those Greek delicacies but nothing beats her cooking so I won’t even go there – besides, I can always be guaranteed to take home a tray or three, of delicious food whenever I’m around at my parents because she believes I’m not feeding my husband enough. But that’s another story…)

Professional Stuff:

Completed Educational Technology MOOC (#etmooc)


One of the highlights of my professional development was participating in my first MOOC, Educational Technology #etmooc developed by Professor Alec Couros and his band of volunteers.  It was the first cMOOC I had been through and I loved it.  It was more like a ‘family’ of course members who all contributed and shared their learning and not only did I learn about various topics, I made some great networks and applied some of the learning to my work.  I also participated in my first ever lip sync dub and contributed to an article that was crowd sourced.  I’m going to miss looking into G+ communities and not seeing any more contributions from fellow etmooc participants.

I learned that I LOVE cMOOCs over the xMOOCs like Coursera or Udacity.  Sure, I will do more MOOCs in the future but the cMOOC for me has been more personally satisfying and rewarding because I seem to be ‘closer’ to the participants in a G+ environment rather than the cumbersome discussion boards within the Coursera (or other provider) platform.  I like the ‘fluidity’ that cMOOCs provide whereby I can get as much or as little out of it and cherry pick the ideas, tips, hints for my own applications back in the workplace – and feel a lot less like an actual student within a closed learning environment.

Dare I say it, cMOOCs are addictive – so I registered for the Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning starting in April.

Facilitated Social Media for Learning Professionals: Twitter 101 PD sessions

This month I held a Social Media for Learning Professionals: Twitter 101 professional development session for my colleagues in the Learning and Development team.  I received positive feedback from it and already a few are now active on Twitter.  I advertised the session on our company’s Yammer site and instantly got a request to run the same session to a group of 25 facilitators across the company via virtual classroom on webex.  Also, I will be running the same workshop externally to two different companies who have requested that it be run as a professional development session for their own L&D teams.  

Attended the Designing Learning in the Digital Age Workshop

This was the first external professional development workshop I paid to attend. Even though it was targeted to learning professionals in the vocational education sector, I observed how the course organiser used different social media to get her content and practical components across to the participants.  In effect, she practiced what she preached and the workshop gave me ideas for how to integrate technology into my workshops. Unfortunately, like #etmooc, for some reason, I couldn’t access any of the Blackboard webinar sessions and had to resort listening to them post-event which defied the purpose of being able to share my learning with others in real time.

A burgeoning interest in Peer-to-Peer teaching

Through Yammer, I was invited by the Social Media Command Centre and to discuss a proposal on peer-to-peer teaching.  Although I cannot say more about this yet as it’s early days yet as discussions and negotiations are still progressing, it has made me realise the value of peer-to-peer learning.  I’ve been doing more research into it and exploring companies who use platforms to allow subject matter experts become teachers in their topic area within and external to the company.

More news to come but I’m really excited to be part of this new initiative.

An Increasing Presence on Yammer

This month I created a Yammer Group called the Connected Workers.  It was mainly to learn how I can use this tool to communicate and promote information about networks and collaborative learning to other company employees.  To date, I have 36 people who have joined the group but there’s only a select group of people who actively share and contribute.

Through this group, I also write articles to promote the use of Yammer and last week, I wrote one called, “Yammer as a Back Channel to Your Conferences, Team Days and Events” as a response to my observation of our Team Day where no one used any technology during the session to share any of their learning, thoughts or observations.

My intention is to promote and encourage the use of Yammer as my perception is that people are still unaware of how to use it to its full functionality especially as part of their normal every day work proceses.

Social Learning in Business

This week is the last week of the Social Learning in Business moderated by Harold Jarche (@hjarche) of the Social Learning Centre.

One of the key highlights of this course was that references were provided on how to promote and influence the value of social learning to your stakeholders especially when they ask your for the ROI or business value.

With the course readings and information provided, I was able to draft a business value  case for the peer-to-peer coaching concept that we are looking at partnering with an external provider so that funding can be approved and sourced.

Another MOOC dropout


Another MOOC bites the dust.

This month I had another first….My first cMOOC dropout.

I dropped out of Learning Creative Learning MOOC because admittedly I wasn’t finding the project work relevant to me.  I didn’t feel so guilty about this one because for some reason, it was easy to remove myself simply by deleting the LCL Community from Google+.  I didn’t have any networks or true collaboration with any of the participants so there was no guilt on my part.

So there you have it, March in a nutshell…

I’m looking forward to the next installment in April because I believe there will be lots more ‘technical’ professional development as I begin my new contract as a Virtual Learning Consultant at the NAB Academy.

About Helen Blunden

My unique super power is that I see learning experiences in everything I do. #alwayslearning
This entry was posted in Development, ETMOOC, Work Narration and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What I Learned in March

  1. Pingback: Week 3: Designing Active Learning for #OCTEL | Activate Learning Solutions

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