Can You Make Your Learning Connect? Week 1 of #CLMOOC

I don’t know and that’s just what I’m about to find out.

Thanks to my Google+ and Twitter pal, Gerardine Rudolphy who alerted me to this cMOOC called Making Learning Connected.

“Making Learning Connected (#clmooc) is a collaborative, knowledge-building and sharing experience open to anyone who’s interested in making, creativity and learning. Over six weeks we will play with new tools and processes for making projects, share our results and our learning, and explore the educational model known as Connected Learning.”

You’re probably thinking, “Not another MOOC! How do you find the time?”

Capture1

That’s the beauty of this type of learning and my preference towards the cMOOCs.  I get as much I want out of them.  I don’t have to do every activity if it is irrelevant to my direct needs which is to find activities that can relate to corporate and workplace learning.  I don’t feel guilty about not completing the tasks because there’s no qualification, accreditation or monetary consequence – the true learning is purely self motivation, curiosity and application.

I scan the posts, stumble on some gems and then reflect on how I can apply this in my work. I then have a ‘bit of a play’ to see if it can work in a corporate learning context (and this could be anything from creating visually appealing and interesting slides and promotional material through to elements that could be used within facilitator, e-learning or live online learning programs).

My journey so far has exposed me to many things that I have shared with my colleagues at work or through Yammer and who are similarly delighted when they see the possibilities of what they can apply to their own work contexts.

One example just occurred yesterday when there was a thread on Yammer about how boring some Powerpoint presentations can be.  Through Twitter, I stumbled upon Jesse Desjardin’s presentations so I posted a link to the thread to show others how he had transformed his presentations.  The result was many ‘Likes’ but also a request to join the private Yammer group on Powerpoint Presentations with an invitation to share it there.

Effectively, I had stumbled upon a small community of people within my own organisation (who I didn’t know were there), who were keen to learn more about improving their presentations and all I did was simply share something I had sitting in Evernote for a while.

This just goes to show that I would have denied myself the opportunity of connecting with like-minded people if I had chosen to control and keep this information to myself.

It’s nonsensical to keep information to yourself in this day and age because you deny yourself the opportunity to create a network.

Capture

By sharing what we learn with others, people also apply their own contexts and applications.  It doesn’t mean that there’ll be oneupmanship or that the keeper of the knowledge has all the ‘power’ because frankly, it’s all out there.  If people wanted to find out your information – they can.

The Connected Learning MOOC is in its first week and already, I have been exposed to some different tools that I had fun playing with.  Yesterday much of it was spent in bed sick as I tried to recover from a cold so this gave me ample time to see what these were about.  Although they may not be used in the corporate learning context, if I had to ‘jazz’ up some slides or training material, they certainly would suffice.

madmen_standard

This is a Mad Men avatar of myself. See how I dressed myself in green (favourite colour), in pearls (yes, I wear pearls), holding a cup of coffee (standard skinny latte from our workplace cafe) and standing in front of a flip chart. Typical day really. (I spent that afternoon watching Series 4 of Mad Men too)

Bear Grills

Bear, sorry to disappoint you but if you don’t have access to the internet over there – you’re stuffed.

Picassohead

This is with a tool called “Picasso Head”. I grew up with a Picasso print on my wall near my bed. It was a simple one of hands holding flowers. I liked its abstract simplicity and lines. My father, the artist had something else to say about it though…

game of thrones

Game of Thrones – in yellow and black (for Richmond Tigers Aussie Rules); the lion (for my husband’s English background); Fire and Blood (for the remote control torment that he gives me) when he watches Golf and Footy

Some other tools I experimented with was the video version of Vizify and Zeega.  Check out my introductory profiles (and set to Latin American music for a bit of movement and foot tapping. Frankly, if music doesn’t contain a pan pipe, banjo, bouzouki, sitar or ukelele in it then it’s not worth it):

Now a funny thing happened as I shared the above posts on Facebook.  People saw them, liked them or commented on them – some also did their own. (Many of my Facebook friends are not in my field but they saw applications to their fields).

This was a Facebook conversation with a friend in the Health Service industry whose curiosity was piqued when I promoted the #CLMOOC link on Facebook asking if anyone else was interested in coming along for the ride.  She saw the link and immediately saw how she can use it to promote a course on International Health.  So I’ve probably opened her eyes to a new possibility, saved her some time and she now can apply this to her own line of work.

So how can sharing be a bad thing?

capture2 (1)

The Facebook discussion thread…I put many of my findings on Facebook – at least the amusing ones – or the ones I believe can be used by others for their own education and interests. Although I don’t know the general ‘feeling’ and effect these posts have on my wider social and family network, there have been more times where people have mentioned to me that my posts have helped them in their own work. They may not directly add any comments but they have used the information to create something of their own.

I’ve been thinking why I prefer the cMOOCs and it comes down to two things:

  • Application of our learning by MAKING or DOING something (context and application)
  • Building of a community (a safe place to share, explore, learn, connect and network with others from a wider field than just corporate learning and development)

It’s made me realise that I prefer to apply what I’ve learned rather than simply just accept it or sit around and just talk about it. 

The Connected Learning MOOC is not only for making digital artifacts but also others. People are sharing other learning experiences.

So What’s It Mean for Me at Work?

For the last six weeks, I had been working on a Peer-to-Peer learning program to be implemented in our organisation.  The program was to implement a peer-to-peer platform linked to social collaboration tools that allowed anyone who had any expertise on any subject matter, organise and create self-hosted events to promote across the organisation.  This program drew on the Connected Learning aims of this MOOC because it allowed people to share their knowledge to others and together, create something.  There was also no Learning and Development involvement.  It was driven by the learners themselves.

With a pilot group who were ‘chomping at the bit’ to try this new platform with their own content and others who were contacting me to get involved as well, I was quite excited about implementing this project because it recognised the importance of social learning.  Unfortunately, due to various organisational constraints, my project was put on hold.  I was disappointed to say the least.  However, I was heartened that they believed in social learning and the project – the timing simply wasn’t right.

So I will revisit this project in  a couple of months time and try to get approval again.

Is It All About Being Digital?

The Connected Learning MOOC is not about just making digital ‘stuff’.  It’s about learning in any context.  People were introducing their new learning of what they were making such as vegetable gardens, knitting projects, baking. etc.

Although not directly part of the course – and I have mentioned it numerous times in my blog, knitting for me is my creative outlet. I find that I’m always learning something new with this craft and it keeps me engaged and wanting to know more.

This weekend, I knitted up a baby jumper (I still have to sew it all up) for something a bit different.

knit

As a self-taught knitter (at a time when there was no YouTube, Internet or Ravelry), I learnt by reading books and lots of trial and error.  It wasn’t until I joined a knitting group (my own community of practice), that my knitting drastically improved and only motivated me more to perfect the craft.

Imagine how this could be applied in the workplace?

So what are you sharing in the workplace?

So to leave you with a knitting theme, I stumbled upon The Goodies, Bill Oddie who sang a Knitting Song.  Please enjoy.

Tools? You Want More Tools?

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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.
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3 Responses to Can You Make Your Learning Connect? Week 1 of #CLMOOC

  1. Pingback: What I Learned in May & June | Activate Learning Solutions

  2. Thanks Elyse and much appreciated! The #clmooc likes a great mooc doesn’t it!

  3. Elyse says:

    Great post and insight into your experience of #clmooc and into what it means to be an entrepreneurial learner. Also good to discover your blog. Thank you.

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