Sunday, May 6, 2012

Reflections of a Personal Learning Workshop

When I was contacted to do a workshop at the North Central Leadership Conference on personal learning. I was really excited about this workshop because it is not like ones I have done before and I have lived and experienced tremendous jumps in my own personal learning through my online work.

I was not prepared for my inability to link my own experiences and my own working online to the personal learning development of others. Some who attended the workshop said it was "good" but for me and watching the lack of participation, the workshop was lackluster.  I did not see a lot understanding or enthusiasm.

Throughout the workshop I emphasized you must do, Though I did not spend a lot of time on applications I did mention them as part of the "doing" and "being" in the online space. I talked about developing an ability to connect with others, unlike yourself, and using the knowledge and sharing of others to develop your own personal development. I talked about how sharing makes the connections stronger.

I also discussed personal learning is up to the individual. Personal learning is not developed or mapped from the professional and staff development department. I wanted people in the room to think and discuss. Evidently I was not motivating enough or did not draw a clear of enough path to lead to discussion.
Personal learning is a series of activities that is mostly a crooked path. No one's path is like any other. The personal learning path, through connections with others, is an accumulation of reading, connecting, discussing, and experiencing along the way that helps one makes sense of concepts, patterns, research, and overabundance of information.

Personal learning is entirely individualistic. Jane Hart discusses this in context of organized learning and she quotes Jay Cross in his description that the individual is in control.
“Informal learning is the unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu way most people learn to do their jobs. Informal learning is like riding a bicycle: the rider chooses the destination and the route. The cyclist can take a detour at a moment’s notice to admire the scenery or help a fellow rider.”
Thus the highly individualistic and emerging learning happens when the learner allows it to happen and creates opportunities to learn. There lies the problem in encouraging others who "don't get it" because they have never experienced an aha moment or a gradually realization or personal or informal learning.

It seems that not until one experiences the "lightbulb" moment through listening or through connecting (which involves listening) does one understand the power of personal learning, the power of being in control of their own learning. Sharon Boller wrote in a tweet about serendipitous opportunities, learning, and listening.

"It is a lightbulb moment when you realize the big gain in social is the listening. 

As I begin to rethink the workshop and as I have a few more on my plate, I am looking for better ways of inciting the understanding and responsibility of one's own learning.

Here are the articles that I used in a someway for preparing for the presentation.

And a final note, I encouraged folks in the workshop to join or follow the Network Literacy Community of Practice.

  • Network Literacy Community of Practice web site.
  • Follow fictional character Alex NetLit on Twitter as she learns about using networks online.


No comments: