Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A new focus for my blog: the new social learning

In 2005 I started this blog around communities of practice. It was a great way to investigate, learn and share my steep learning curve about communities online. I still love to work with communities (facilitate the LOSmakers), but somehow my work has become much wider.  I have been writing about many things which interest me, though mostly about learning and learning technologies. Going back to my first blogpost I became nostalgic about the clear focus I had. I decided to think through a new focus and I found it in the term: the new social learning. It is wider than communities of practice, though communities would still fit in as one of the learning interventions. I call it the new social learning (coined by Marcia Conner and Tony Bingham) not to confuse it with the fact that all learning is in fact social. It is funny when I read the book some years ago, I didn't like the term at all.

My key interest is in how the way we learn is changing because of the internet and all social technologies and which new forms of learning evolve. When I worked in Chile, Mali and Ethiopia I was basically inventing everything by myself with a few key colleagues. I used to carry certain pages from books around. I had supervisors, but they were not all very interested and even if they were interested they were only interested in the progress, but couldn't help me with all my practitioner questions. Now I am inspired by so many practitioners from all over the world.. Through the 100 blogs I read, Twitter and LinkedIn groups.

Here's a video I made in the beginning of this year interviewing people at the learning and technologies conference. Answers include - is has become self-directed: it not about what you know but about what you can find out; where, when and through what means we learn is changing; dealing with information overload become important, we can instantly find out what we need to know, and the question of whether we will even be learning if artificial intelligence can take over?

The new social learning

My questions to explore are:
1. How does the knowmadic learner think, work and reflect? and what are the new challenges? What are the differences amongst different generations?
2. What is the impact of new social technologies? What are new technologies like learning record stores and what can you do with those technologies?
3. How does learning in (online, open) networks work? Changes as a result of technological changes?
4. What are new learning interventions? Experimental or effective?
5. What are practical examples of social learning in organizations?

In short my categories will be:
  • Knowmadic learner
  • Social technologies
  • Networked learning
  • New learning interventions
  • Practical examples
Sounds very structured isn't it? I hope this will also help you to make a decision to follow my blog or not. It will give me inspiration to look with curiosity for developments I see online or experience myself. 


Unknown said...

Hmm. I think there is a confusion between learning and finding out. There are factual answers to specific questions and videos about how to do stuff which may be easily learned, but there are still many areas where a skill is needed which needs to be learned, or a depth of understanding required in order to apply new information.
Being able to find out is a key skill - and possibly needs to be learned or taught! Searching for answers is a Socio-Technical activity - knowing enough to ask the right questions, whether the question actually has factual answers or whether the searcher needs to evaluate answers in their own specific context, whether the answer exists at all, corroboration of answers across multiple sources, understanding how Google and other search engines work and how your answer might be much more deeply buried requiring more effort to find. This is where people with expertise come in - or where the community may have the expertise to help you to ask the right question. Not everything is simple or automatable.
Deskilling is a serious issue - and reliance on technology and automated processes is not always healthy - eg reliance on route guidance systems means people cannot find their way without the technology, and parking sensors etc mean people can no longer manoeuvre the vehicle without help and have relinquished responsibility to the automated system. The financial sector has more than enough examples to illustrate this too.

Joitske said...

Hi Liz thanks for your answer and I fully agree with you. We can see the computer as our external brain, but that doesn't mean that a 10 year old can do the work of a manager who has grown into his job and managerial skills. Thanks for responding because actually I was hoping for more comments too! I will see whether I can dive more into this.