December isn’t quite finished yet, so I still have time to answer this month’s Learning Circuits Big Question.
What did you learn about learning in 2007?
This has been my first year of blogging. I started because I was developing a course to introduce Web 2.0 technology to K-12 teachers. I figured if I was going to convince people of all the benefits of blogging to these teachers, I should do it myself. I’d been reading several blogs before then, but I’d never commented or done anything to join the conversation. Blogging has been a great learning experience though.
I have always processed ideas by writing about them, and blogging definitely lets me do that. I think I expected that part of the benefit. What I didn’t anticipate was how much I would gain from interacting with the community of bloggers. I really didn’t “get” that part of blogging before participating in the community myself. The conversations through comments and blog posts have been terrific. I’ve had my thinking challenged many times, and that’s a wonderful thing.
The other huge change for my personal learning this year has been RSS. Before RSS, I was reading maybe a half dozen blogs regularly. Now I have dozens of feed subscriptions (probably too many). Much of blogging is reading what others are writing, and I read so much more now through RSS than I could have possibly kept up with on my own. I know I’m actually spending more time reading than I had been, but I’m also much more efficient in the time I spend. It makes a big difference in my own continual professional development and lifelong learning.
Part of why I enjoy working as an instructional designer and developing online learning is that I personally am always learning something new. This year was better than previous years though; I think I really took control of my own learning in ways I hadn’t in the past. Blogging and RSS both let me direct my own learning, and that’s perhaps the most important idea I learned about learning this year.