Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Is that really me?

I've started doing my first voiceovers for software demonstrations using Adobe Captivate, and there's another huge wave still to come.  I class myself as a veteran of these kinds of software demonstrations, in fact in a 6 month period this year I recorded over 100 of these!  However, I've always been able to get by with silent demonstrations.  Why do I sound like I count myself lucky?

Because I hate hearing the sound of my own voice.

Whenever I hear a playback of my voice, I feel like I'm hearing a complete stranger talking.  Now there is such a thing as an acoustic reflex, which contracts the muscles in our ear when we speak, and hence affects the way we hear our own voices, which can acount for this, so I have made a conscious effort to get over my dislike.  Nevertheless, it was with some trepidation that I donned the headset to record my voiceover, dreading to hear that strange voice getting steadily worse as my recording session progressed.

I was determined to make my voice sound a little better (at least to my ears) so I played around with some ideas that I hoped might work, such as saying jokes out loud, if only to put myself at ease. However, I found the best solution came from my favourite place - outside the box. I hit on the idea of recording my voiceovers for the slides in reverse order, this way I should sound better as I went along. I'm not sure how well the voiceovers will really go down with users, in fact Rosen (2011) notes that audio is a very passive medium and can actually cause learners to disengage from a visual task. But at least I felt more confident in recording, and hopefully that will come across in my voice...

Rosen, A., 2011. An Argument Against Voice-Over PowerPoint for e-Learning.  In Allen, M. (ed.) Michael Allen's e-Learning Annual 2012. Pfeiffer

Monday, October 24, 2011

Blog 2.0

I've been having a think about the emphasis of my blog and my motivation for using it, and decided it's time for an overhaul and to refocus my reflections.  Whilst I started this as a foray into social media, this stems from a wider interest in all things to do with online learning.  I'm suffering from a little social media fatigue, perhaps due to a deliberate attempt to fully immerse myelf in the medium to better understand it.  Whilst I've learned a lot from the experience, and about myself and my learning preferences, it has to be part of the bigger picture.

I'm studying education to complement my role at work, and I've come across the idea that social presence is needed for effective learning to take place, online or offline.  We cannot learn effectively in complete isolation, we have to contextualise the learning.  For much of my life I tended towards being a solitary learner, and I think I suffered from having insufficient experience to develop my learning into professional expertise, and also had no safety net when things didn't work according to plan.  With my current studies, I'm able to relate pretty much everything to my professional practice, accessing course materials and continuing online discussions in the workplace where this furthers business goals, and shaping course projects around the needs of our business.  Reintegrating work and learning in this way is a win-win situation for me and my employer, because I'm boosting my own learning and contributing directly to departmental objectives.  My reflections from this point will look more generally at my experiences with online learning, and will also be a foundation for my Masters dissertation.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Social media fatigue

Well I've heard people talking about this before, but not experienced it for myself, until now.  After attending a conference a while back, I've been actively exploring the use of social media, particularly in terms of learner engagement, and the extended interactions you can achieve with the medium.  It's all well and good, but after getting myself thoroughly immersed in the medium, and finding out so many useful facts, there's a certain nagging doubt creeping in.

What's in it for me, anyway?
We should all be asking ouselves this question, because once the novelty of the medium wears off, it's easy to get bored and disengage.  I've tracked my Klout score for a while now to see how my interactions affect my score, but I'm getting pretty disillusioned, particularly after I've been taking part in chats, getting mentioned, retweeted and favourited, but yet my score gets slashed 8 points in a day.  And people are warning of how your score can slump massively if you take time out.
Well I got into using social media to interact with people, not numbers and data.  If my interactions with people aren't meaningful, then what's the point?  So I'm taking a week out, turning on the metaphorical 'out of office' for Twitter (though doubtless someone's already got an app for that...) and I don't give a hoot what happens to my Klout score.

Monday, October 10, 2011

To blog, or not to blog, that is the question

I'm eagerly awaiting the rollout of a Web 2.0 technology at my workplace, which should hopefully encourage the more widespread adoption of social media, or at least that's the theory...  Thanks to the efforts of one of my colleagues, there are a fair few executive blogs in place now, which do get read by a substantial portion of employees, and even get comments as well.  The question has moved on from whether we should keep blogs or not - as Steve Radick has pointed out, what once made the social media 'ninjas' stand out is already becoming old hat, something we're expected to do as a matter of course.

So what else is there to talk about?  The most important thing now is to take ownership of what you write.  Blogs need to go beyond the self-promotion device that many seem to regard them as, they are a tool for people to use for their own reflections as part of the experiential learning cycle, and to help shape their destiny if they draw on those reflections well.  How much do the blogs you read make use of this powerful facet of learning?  And are you doing it yourself - online or offline?

Monday, September 12, 2011

How Social Media has changed the way I think & learn (Part 4)


My first contact with wikis was, as for many people I suspect, through Wikipedia. As a child I remember browsing through encyclopedias, soaking up information as I was want to do, so here was an interesting concept, in that it was all online, and that you could actually edit it for yourself. Now I remember all the protests at the time, that because anyone could write and edit articles it would all be rubbish and full of inacuracies, but then I guess that depends on who is writing it, and whether you have the good judgement to question what's there anyway. I liked the idea enough that I would occasionally refer to it and make my own mind up, and also started to use it as a kind of news feed through the current events section and the featured articles for something different to read. Later I started putting in small additions and even new sections when I felt moved to do so, and I actually regard it as being highly educational because I am able to engage more powerfully with the material this way.

I read Clive Shepherd's recent blog post where he questions whether a book is method or medium, and I agree that moving books to electronic format is the same method for a different medium, but the wiki does go a step beyond, because it's a uniquely collaborative venture. Instead of regarding knowledge as fixed and exclusively in the hands of 'better people', it is now in our hands. Is that a good thing? Depends on the judgement we use, or don't use! If our judgement is bad, so our wiki will be bad, and the results should alert us to this fact. So if you like what Wikipedia has done, take ownership, and get on board with the discussions if you disagree with something. Because we can all become 'better people' by increasing our knowledge.

Click here for Part 3

Saturday, August 20, 2011

How Social Media has changed the way I think & learn (Part 3)


Last October I started my Masters degree (MEd) with the University of Hull, done entirely online. Seems fitting, especially as the subject was in fact online learning! I thought I knew quite a lot about the subject from producing on-demand software tutorials and briefing modules for examiners, and I was expecting the course to build on that, which it did. What I wasn't prepared for was the ongoing, subtle change in the way that I interacted with the other people on the course.

Because the majority of interaction between me and my fellow students took place through an online forum, the nature of our communication took on a unique property which allowed us to have conversations over time - 'asynchronous' is the proper term. Whilst human beings have been doing this through letters for centuries, having all the messages channelled through a central forum allowed for a strange hybrid form of communication, somewhere between normal written correspondance and a real time conversation. I've often found myself losing my place in a conversation because I'm trying to think of a meaningful, considered response to someone - but by then that 'thread' of the conversation is lost because people have moved on. Not so with a forum.

Communicating in this way has allowed me to get the best of both worlds: interaction with many people, and the chance to consider my responses. No, wait, it's actually more than the sum of its parts, because I get an extra synergy from talking to people this way, and that's the ability to change my attitude. This way I can learn from my mistakes without the usual embarassment that I might feel in a social setting. If anything I've become more willing to dare to express controversial opinions, because the ethos of the medium does seem to encourage experiential learning. No more 'drill and fill' for me thank you very much!

So, in short, I've gone from being a solitary learner to a social one, and because I can take my attitude with me wherever I go, that new behaviour can translate to the face-to-face setting as well.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Watch your language on Twitter!

Here's a little tale of a lesson I've learned lately about using Twitter.

Over the last couple of months I've been getting to grips with this new medium, and I'd been thinking about whether or not I should follow people back when they follow me. Eventually I decided to take Ted Coine's advice about following everyone back, looking on it as a social courtesy. But last week something a little unusual happened. My number of followers pretty much doubled over the space of a few days - all well and good, and I did the 'good thing' in return and followed them back.

So what's the problem?

They were all from South Korea, and quite naturally their tweets were in Korean.

Now as much as I like the idea of having a truly international audience for my tweets, logging in to my Twitter feed and not being able to understand a large portion of it is a little alarming! Sure, there are tools to channel your feed, which I'm going to start looking in to, but should they be the first port of call for making any sense of what's on there? And am I going to start learning different languages just to understand it all anyway? Probably not!

So to any folks in South Korea who are reading this, don't take it personally if I do unfollow you. You'll still be able to hear what I have to say, and my extension of courtesy will be to make sure I'm talking about something that has value.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

How Social Media has changed the way I think & learn (Part 2)

My last post was about micro-blogging, so now I'll extend that to...


Keeping a public blog has been a very positive move for building my self-awareness, and overcoming some of my own limitations in communicating. As an introvert, I normally have an awful lot of deep thoughts running through my head that I'm not able to share coherently with others, especially in crowded social situations. Suddenly I have a tool to put them into print, whilst I'm alone and relaxed, then share them with anyone who cares to listen - and apparently a fair few people have started to listen already. Knowing that I can reach out to people this way gives me a new found sense of confidence in communicating with others. I don't mind saying I've wrestled with depression in the past, I think primarily because of frustrations in this area, and an imposed sense of there being 'something wrong with me' because I didn't fit in with the crowd. Now I've managed to find a place to speak my mind freely in a way I didn't know existed. Because most importantly of all, I've not followed any rules for how my blog should be set up - just some really good advice.

There's also a real professional benefit to blogging. I'm naturally disposed to reflecting on my experiences - good or bad - with a view to continuously improving myself. According to Schön (1983), this is one of the defining characteristics of professional practice. I have been able to enhance and extend this process through completing critical reflection assignments for my Masters course. Keeping a blog to summarise my experiences as I go along has been an essential tool in keeping track of everything I learn, much of which could easily be taken for granted after the event. Further to this I'm also conscious that other people may be reading my blog, and the essay that I draw from it, so I'm motivated to keep it coherent and relevant. So my blog actually becomes a powerful aid to my own learning and long-term memory.


  • Schön, D. A., 1983. The Reflective Practitioner: how professionals think in action. London: Temple Smith

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How Social Media has changed the way I think & learn (part 1)

So, some time ago I had an idea about getting social media used more at my workplace.  It's been on the back-burner for a while to avoid clashing with our busiest period, but that will be drawing to an end soon, and I now have a whole lot more tricks at my disposal thanks to Jane Hart's 30 Ways course. Here's a hint folks: she's running this course again - for free - starting on 29 August. Be there and remember sharing is learning!

Before I get started on my initiatives at work, it's worth taking a look at how my attitudes have changed over the last few months. The chief instigator would have to be Jane Bozarth, after I saw her talk at the Learning Technologies conference in January. Or perhaps I should blame Donald Taylor for organising that conference? I digress...  Here's the first of what will probably be a fair few posts about social media and learning.


This was a strange step for me at first. As someone who usually likes to reflect at length ('No, really?' you ask) the idea of getting anything worthwhile out of 140 character posts sounded like anathema to me. But the idea got lodged into my head - proving also that lectures still have some use - and I signed up for my account. Initially I followed the speakers from the conference, occasionally looked at my feed, but didn't do very much. Eventually I decided that you can only really learn by doing, dared a few tweets, and actually got some reactions. I started looking for more people to follow, realised some actually follow you back, read the articles they tweeted about, and suddenly it was like I had my own personal newspaper on learning. Oh wait, I do have one <http://tweetedtimes.com/#!/jimmy_hob>

But what really kicked it up a notch was deciding to get involved in the backchannel at the Learning and Skills Group conference in June. At the last conference, I was utterly bewildered by the flood of tweets showing up on the screens. As I started to get into the swing of using Twitter more, I noticed people using hashtags to talk about conferences, particularly David Kelly's move of sharing what he had picked up from the backchannel. So along I went with a clear goal of getting engaged with the backchannel and picking up on ideas from the talks I couldn't attend. I found myself more engaged with the talks than ever before, frantically scibbling notes as usual, whilst thinking of short, succinct points to share on the backchannel. Plus I noticed how people were using the backchannel to raise digital eyebrows at contentious ideas, without disrupting the flow. Afterwards I collated all the resources I could find and put them on my blog, to share with the world through all the channels I could find. I went from 30 hits to over 300 in practically no time at all, and I started to see blogging in a whole new light - but that's for another post!

In short, Twitter has become a great extension of my thinking and learning, in a way that I can share with others, and be recognised for it.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Reflections and backchannel resources from #forwardthinking

Here I go again with the backchannel - I'll be keeping an eye out for any more tweets to add...

Epic's new authoring tool GoMo Learning looks like a dream come true for anyone wanting to get content out reliably to mobile devices.  One of the main driving forces behind the development has been the need within the NHS for convenience - having content available at the point of need is critical for medical purposes, and seems to actually make the learning more effective.  And the number of platforms for delivery is increasing all the time - Lars Hyland points out that smartphone sales are now exceeding those of regular phones.  Anyone wanting to get a free copy of the research can contact Epic.

Next up was the generic Leadership & Management e-learning from Cross Knowledge in partnership with Epic.  I have to confess to being deeply cynical about the idea that something generic could be of any value - from studying online resources to Masters level I'm aware of the reusability paradox, that tends to make generic content irrelevant as a rule.  However I'd be willing to take a good look at this resource with my cynic glasses off, because they might just have hit on something deeply, well, generic about leadership by getting experts to share their experiences.  And heck I salute their determination in getting people to actually use e-learning in the early days - I've torn my hair out lots of times with the lack of hits that my carefully produced resources have had in the past!

Roger Schank's invention EXTRA builds on his assertion that 'learning is the creation, adaptation and absorption of stories'.  Sounds too heretical and against conventional wisdom to be true?  Then why is it our species has survived this long?  And why is it that conventional wisdom has promoted so little to corporate memory?  Advances in artificial intelligence has allowed for a search engine that can actually comes close to conversational sharing of stories.  I'll be interested to hear reviews from users...

Interesting tweet from @s0ngb1rd - she uses the iThoughtsHD app for mindmapping.
Craig Taylor has posted a blog entry about mind mapping.
Lars Hyland has a book recommendation: The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding From You

Photographs from @epictalk@maberdour and @kirstymeynell

My archive of #forwardthinking tweets is saved as http://archivist.visitmix.com/jimmy_hob/3?s=true
It seems that the #forwardthinking hashtag isn't exclusive to the Epic event - my favourite article mixed in with the backchannel is how the push for recyclable materials may actually be harming the environment!  Perhaps someone could produce an e-learning module for that....

Reflections on LSG11 - Chris Bones' keynote speech

Long overdue I know, but here it is...
Chris Bones has no small task ahead of him with the Learning & Development Research Project.  He has stated in no uncertain terms that the answer lies with people, and getting them engaged with process from the outset. Concentrating on social interaction and problem solving skills will get us half way there straightaway.  The rest lies in thoughtful implementation and the winning of hearts and minds.  This is something I agree wholeheartedly with.  Too often people are expected to follow the example of leaders without question, but as we move into an era where the case study has become irrelevant, the power of crowdsourcing is about to come to the fore - if only we dare to let it!

One point of contention I had was with his perception that online learning is only useful for updating information, and I noticed that a few eyebrows were raised on Twitter at this comment. Some perceptions need to be changed here...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Reflections on LSG11 - Andy Tedd's session

Andy Tedd's session was of particular interest to me, since I started this blog to help me track what I've been learning from social media over the last couple of months...

We all know how to use social media, don't we?


Apparently not, as many campanies are getting far too friendly with the #FAIL hashtag on Twitter.  So what is stopping us from putting these tools to best use? Usually it seems to be coming down to an unsupportive environment for communications - we're worried that we might look foolish, and sometimes we are right in this because there are consequences for getting it wrong, but too much fear will cripple us.  Companies can be criticised on social networking sites for getting things wrong, even they don't have a real presence there, so what's the difference?  And how can we break the cycle?

For a start, we have to leave behind our expectation that all corporate information should appear in a polished, professional format.  It turns out that the less complete the information seems, the more people feel invited to comment and leave their mark, and that should start getting them engaged with the process instead of being passive consumers of information.  The next step is for people in positions of influence to let the debate run freely, as they can often inadvertently stifle the conversation.  If this is happening too much, then it's a sign that your culture has to change.

Oh, and one very important point that has just been brought home via @JaneBozarth on Twitter, Social Media is not the same as Social Learning!  Social learning is not something that has been 'discovered', nor is it something to be 'implemented', and anyone who thinks that way will only succeed in throttling motivation (thanks @hjarche for inspiration too!)

Reflections on LSG11 - Cathy Moore's session

The second session I'm looking back on is Cathy Moore's session on scenarios.  What have I learned?  Two equations:

'Let's add a scenario to make it more engaging' = FAIL!
'Let's base it on a scenario to make it more effective' = GETS IT!

Designing a learning experience that has the potential to change attitudes doesn't have to be hard, which Cathy has been tirelessly working to get into the heads of anybody with the wisdom to listen. For too long the field of e-learning has been dominated by foolish attempts to make a 'death by PowerPoint' course seem a little more palatable, not to mention unavoidable with the advent of 'smart' LMSs that can make sure we've looked at every single slide.  Because that proves people have learned, right?

No more!

Powerful scenarios don't have to be expensive or difficult to produce, just get your hands on the tools and dare to experiment.  Ever since I attended Cathy's session at LT11, I've been looking for an opportunity to put this into practice, and I've now got the freedom to explore this in my latest project.  Using the Action Mapping approach with SMEs meant that relevant scenarios came to light naturally, and I was able to work them up into a prototype that I'm currently developing into a finished learning intervention.  My only niggle is I may have to wait a while to put it into practice - can anyone offer me a course in patience please?!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reflections on LSG11 - Clive Shepherd's session

It's been a while since the Learning & Skills Group Conference, but it's never too late to reflect. The first session I'm going to look back at is Clive Shepherd's 'The Learning Professional'.

Clive has taken a bold step in drawing us closer to a practical model for how learning really works. Breaking down the range of learning interventions into different perspectives and contexts helps us to stop and question our pre-conceptions of what constitutes good learning, since our own experiences will doubtless have pre-disposed us to favour those which we have been exposed to in the past. And those experiences that we thought of as learning have almost invariably been labelled as courses.

We do so love to package everything up as courses, don't we? But does it always have to be that way? And is something you can't describe as a course, any less important for learning because of that deficiency in name? New developments in technology are catalysing changes in the way we communicate and work. As the pace of change begins to quicken, courses will quickly become obsolete if they don't focus on teaching people processes, and leave the information to one side. But that doesn't mean the information isn't important, we just have to change our approach to updating ourselves. If we can find the courage to break away from the familiar and try something new, we can devise new and more effective learning strategies.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Backchannel resources from #LSG11UK

OK, been poring over the Twitter channel and here's what I've found so far....

From the speakers:

Links shared through the backchannel:

My Twitter archive is saved as: http://archivist.visitmix.com/jimmy_hob/1

I've also added blog entries about the talks I attended:

Back to the blog...

After a week on the road it's time to get back to blogging and the normal routine. Taking part in the Twitter back-channel at the Learning & Skills Group Conference was a novel experience, and I actually felt more engaged with the talks because I was actively listening out for interesting quotes to share with others.  Next task is to look for resources that people put on Twitter, and try to pull them together in one place.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Getting smarter with social media

It's my sixth day on the Centre for Learning Performance Technologies course, and I've been adding a host of tools to my kit for keeping up to date with the world.  All my bookmarks in one place?  Check!  All my favourite blogs on one reading list?  Check!  Not to mention a whole set of ways for finding information and 'how-to' guides.  More power to search for information and connect with people has to be good.

Next week is the Learning & Skills Group Conference.  I'm looking forward to all the talks, and venturing into the Twitter back channel too, should hopefully bring a new level of engagement with the talks.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Social media course

I've been well and truly bitten by the social media bug - why else would I sign up for a course on social media (C4LPT, 2011) when I'm already doing a Masters course?  The idea of working and learning smarter seems simply irresistible as I start to really understand the efull potential of online learning, so on I go and hope that there are enough hours in my day to cover it!  Oh, and let's not get started on the other stuff I've seen courtesy of the online moderator...

Centre for Learning Performance Technologies, 2011.  30 Ways to use Social Media to Work & Learn Smarter [online].  Available at: <http://c4lpt.co.uk/workingsmarter/> [Accessed 29 May 2011]

Monday, May 23, 2011

Finally some progress!

I'm getting the first real signs of department wide paricipation for my forum as we move on to discussing a topic that lends itself easily to collaboration, since the two halves of the department have a shared interest in its success.  Previously it's taken some colleagues a while to get into the spirit of things, but now one of the people directly involved in the project has taken the initiative in calling for ideas.

We've also had some staff update sessions and I took the opportunity to work social media into the mix.  Our company has been getting into using social media more of late, and I'm amongst a small group of people who are keen to see it used more.  I saw some doubts initially because colleagues are rightly worried about the potential embarassments that could come with it, but then I pointed out that we've taken flak on social networking sites anyway, so what's the difference?  I was pleased to see that people were agreeing, and I've hopefully got some genuine attention.

This week has also been interesting for me because I found myself credited for a comment I put on Twitter - somebody had spotted a tweet that I made and put the article onto their website, with my tag next to it.  Shows that people are listening...

Monday, May 16, 2011

More ideas on using social media for learning

I've just come across a whitepaper on increasing the use of social media within an intranet (Ward, 2010).  One of my colleagues is working on introducing a new intranet within my workplace, so I though it would be a good idea to have a look at what Ward believes are essential ingredients for success.  I'm definitely in agreement with the idea that a social intranet must include access to social media tools direct from the main intranet portal - these are certainly present on the intranet I use, so does it qualify as a social intranet?  Unfortunately the 'wide participation' hasn't started yet.  We have some executive blogs, and there are some comments on them, but the wider body of employees haven't engaged yet, so what is missing?  We've got the tools that people are supposedly coming to demand, but they haven't, well, come...

The problem doesn't seem to be unique to my workplace.  There is a lack of engagement with intranet tools across a wide variety of companies.  Ward identifies the same missing factor that I have been working to remedy - it simply isn't part of the culture, and that needs to be changed.  Since I'm not in a management position, and am approaching from an educational perspective, I'm planning to lead and promote conversations.  I believe there are sufficient tools in place to get those conversation going properly, and I'm having success with the group that I work with, so now I need to persuade other departments that my approach has merit, and build up the groundswell that can lead to company-wide support to realise the potential of a social intranet.

The case study shows that an effective social intranet doesn't neceessarily have to employ expensive social media tools to increase employee engagment and yield positive results, such as a saving of 400,000 Euros from ideas contributed by employees.  The flip side of this is that a company that doesn't implement an effective social intranet policy 'risks being left behind or outright failure', according to Prescient's survey.  Again, the problem doesn't seem to be lack of availability, since the tools are so cheap.  It is employee disatisfaction with the tools - or as I word re-word it: it's employee perception of the tools, because they don't get a sense of satisfaction from using them.  That perception is something that I want to change.

Ward, T., 2010.  The Social Intranet: Key factors for Intranet 2.0 success; Social Intranet Success Matrix.  Prescient Digital Media Whitepaper [online].  Available at: <http://www.prescientdigital.com/articles/download-social-intranet-success-matrix> [Accessed 16 May 2011]

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Forum is on the move

I've finally got just about everyone on board for my cross-department forum.  We've already got some people sharing photographs and chatting on the forum, so it should help the team to overcome some of the boundaries between the two departments we're merging.

For the next couple of weeks I'll be getting the socialisation aspect moving properly, using a creative story activity (Bennett, Marsh & Killen, 2007) to let people use their imaginations, explore spontaneity in their postings, and learn to accept a few errors as part of the process.  I'm hoping that this will build people's confidence in preparation for a constructive exchange of ideas in the next phase.  Establishing a successful process and matching the activities to the staff involved will help to ensure that future initiatives involving social media run more smoothly, regardless of the platform that is to be used.
Bennett, S., Marsh, D. and Killen, C., 2007.  Handbook of Online Education.  London: Continuum.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

This isn't as new as I thought it was...

Barely have I started writing about the use of social media for learning, when along comes a blog entry (Kelly, 2011) to highlight the point that social media and social learning aren't new and may be a little over-hyped right now.   What is important is the fact that the medium can now keep up with people, and even enhance our learning. So thanks to somebody I've never met for helping me put things in perspective and contributing to my learning (I stumbled across the link on Twitter).   This doesn't take away from my desire to understand social media for learning, rather it refocusses my attention on the key benefits that I'm aiming to get out of the medium.   First and foremost is to break the reliance on formal, structured events as the only recognised form of learning, and get some recognition for all the informal learning events that we know are taking place every day in the workplace. Second, I am hoping to increase learner engagement, and break the mindset that learning is something that is done to you, and instead promote people's ability to learn actively, both as individuals and socially.
More to come, eventually this will all distill into some kind of announcement that should get people's attention...

Kelly, D., 2011.  What's 'New' About Social Media and Social Learning?  Misadventures in Learning [blog] 3 May.  Available at: <http://misadventuresinlearning.blogspot.com/2011/05/whats-new-about-social-media-and-social.html> [Accessed 3 May 2011]

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Learner-learner interaction

I'm starting this blog with the aim of building up ideas for best practice of using social media more in the workplace.  Forming my ideas by using a form of social media seems particularly appropriate, since I want to foster a spirit of open communication and feedback - potentially from anywhere!  My starting point for using social media more will be using the forum at work, with the goal of making it break (i.e. become unmanageable) under the sheer volume of posts, using my undestanding of Salmon's (2003) five stage model of scaffolding interactions among learners.

While I doubt that I'll get people to to the illustrious stage five (development) any time soon, I think that significant strides in interaction could be made by simply engaging people enough to motivate them to actually access the forum and post on it (which most don't as of yet), and building them up to the stage of exchanging ideas and information with each other.  Asynchronous learner-learner interaction was found to be the single most important interaction for online learning (Soo & Bonk, 1998), so I think this is a logical first step in promoting social learning in my organisation.

Salmon, G., 2003.  E-Moderating: the key to teaching and learning online.  2nd ed. London: Routledge-Falmer.
Soo, K-s; Bonk, C., 1998.  Interaction: What does it mean in online distance education?  In Conference proceedings Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia & World Conference on Educational Telecommunications. Frieburg Germany.  Available at: <http://eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED428724.pdf> [Accessed 01 May 2011]