Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The one about archery

Over the course of the last year I've been keeping this blog from a professional perspective, but now it's time to write a post about something a bit more fun.  I've been a regular archer for the past six years or so, and teaching it to beginners for three of those, so it's high time that I take a moment to reflect on my experience of learning processes from a physical skill, as opposed to my normal workplace and academic pursuits.
Nowhere have I felt the reality of the term 'analysis paralysis' more than when I came to teach the sport to others.  After an enthusiastic few weekends on the Archery GB leader course (or GNAS as it was then known as), I was keen to get started with teaching beginners.  But one thing started to diminish my enjoyment of the sport.
I suddenly found myself shooting terribly.
Trying to hold a whole new set of information in my head whilst shooting brought my performance down because I was over-analysing my own shooting.  Having a new sense of awareness of what could go wrong just seemed to make those very things happen, and identifying your own faults is always problematic.  I eventually managed to get past this, and I'm still enjoying both participation and teaching, in fact I've developed the beginners course for our club so that it can be delivered consistently by any of our leaders.  I even called on some of my new knowledge about learning to better inform the design, which is deliberately minimalist, since I don't want our beginners suffering from analysis paralysis!

A year of blogging

It's now a year since I first started this blog, and it's been an interesting one for sure.  I started keeping a blog as part of an effort to get my head around the use of social media, but it's starting to feed into all of my learning processes now, especially as I make extensive use of blogging as part of an online course.  So what have been the best things about keeping a blog for the past year?

Having my thoughts captured allows me to look back over the past year and how my way of thinking has changed.  After a burst of short rambling posts centring on my exploration of forums, I found some interesting things to write about, which led to some unexpected highlights:
  • My summary of the Learning & Skills Group and Forward Thinking conferences drew a good deal of attention from the associated communities
  • I received an entry on Janes Hart's Top 100 Articles of 2011 for a set of three of my articles
These were a real boost to my confidence in using social media generally, knowing that a wider audience would listen to my ideas, but towards the end of last year I did find myself burning out a little, something that gets referred to as social media fatigue.  Sometimes you just want to switch off from the world.  It also reflects my enthusiasm coming up sharply against the wall of reality - you can't do everything at once, and other priorities tend to get in the way.  Since then I've made an effort to write about different aspects of my learning, and I've continued to keep up blog entries within the bounds of my online course too.
Where do I go from here?  I think it's time to bring in a new personal angle on learning, which brings me to my next post...