What I Learned This Year

The Big Question (Xmas)I’m going to squeak in at the last minute and answer the Learning Circuits Big Question for December 2008. I can pretend that I’m just being nice and keeping Clive Shepherd company with his procrastinating, but it’s really that I had forgotten about this myself until just a few days ago.

This month’s Big Question asks us to reflect on our learning about learning in the last year. This isn’t a complete list below (Clive was much more comprehensive in his month-by-month account), but two ideas came to mind immediately for me.

Liveblogging

While I did some liveblogging last year, I did much more this year. During the TCC online conference, I liveblogged every session I attended. It was a tough couple of days, but I learned so much more by pushing myself to take notes.

One thing about liveblogging is that it takes practice. Figuring out what process worked best for me took several tries. Even the skill of listening and watching while writing takes a while to manage too. As I posted multiple times a day for the conference though, it became much easier.

Adding a summary of highlights from the session is helpful when I have time, although it isn’t something I did during the back to back conference presentations. Next year I want to do more of the highlights like I did for the CCK08 session with Nancy White. I appreciate how it forces me to more actively reflect and process rather than just recording what I hear and see without actually filtering any of it. I hope that the summaries make those posts more valuable for my readers too.

Metaphors and the Language of Learning

During CCK08, there was some great discussion about our metaphors for learning and how the language we use to talk about learning affects how we design. I’ve mostly relied on constructivist metaphors of scaffolding and building in the past, but the metaphors of connecting and growing open up other ways of approaching instructional design.

We still house our courses in an LMS, and we have some structural requirements to work within. However, I have a lot of flexibility to use other tools and online resources outside the LMS to support learners making connections and growing their personal learning networks. This is an area where I think I’m only scratching the surface of what’s possible, and I’ll continue to push the edges next year to see what else I can do.

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