Sunday, October 08, 2006

Should all learning professionals be blogging?

Recently Tony Karrer asked on the learning circuits blog: Should all learning professionals be blogging? He also encouraged people to comment by posting on their own blog, a concept that Stephen Downes thinks is a huge advance. If you have been following this blog, you will remember that I have been encouraging readers to post their perspectives on the course material in the learning section, on their own blogs, and informing me about the post.

Well, here is my response to the question.

What learning professionals should be doing is this:

  • Staying up the learning curve on technologies that affect them
  • Reflect on their learnings to gain a deeper understanding
  • Share these reflections with others to validate their ideas
  • Have conversations with other professionals to share their knowledge and learn from others
  • Manage the knowledge base of their reflections, resources, etc

Writing works wonders for reflecting on concepts. I cannot stress enough, how useful the process of writing is for reflection. Communication and conversations with peers can happen in a variety of ways: water cooler discussions, phone conversations, emails, forums, etc.

What is important is reflection and conversations, and blogging seem to bundle both in a very easy and effective way. People can reflect over a concept and write a blog post. But it doesn't end here. Conversations are spawned by readers who write a response on their own blogs and trackback to the original post, or by commenting and querying on the authors blog. With the possibility to integrate audio, animations, and slide shows, we have an even richer way to publish and communicate.

So, blogging is all about publishing, communicating, and creating an informal network of peers, and a community of reciprocal learning. That is why it is so important.

My conclusion: It is important to reflect and communicate, and at the moment blogging seems to be the best way to accomplish both. Till we have a better option, I'd say "Yes, all learning professionals should blog"

Perspectives from other learners/bloggers:

  1. Stephen Downes
  2. Geetha Krishnan
  3. Dave Lee 


Notes: This text was originally posted on my earlier blog at http://www.adaptivelearningonline.net
Here are the comments from the original post

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COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Tarun Chandel
EMAIL:
URL: tarunchandel.blogspot.com
DATE: 10/19/2006 09:24:48 AM
Hello Parag sir,

First of all I must thank you for this site. It's a nice way to get to read about your thoughts. Blogging is a nice thing but has it's limitations. Blogging is essentially like a diary which is up for everyone to read. Blog is best place to express your views about something and other person can get an insight into your thoughts.
If we try to use blogging as a place where various people can come together to share and learn then it is not that great a medium.
For that kind of collaborative experience we need to have something which can help the users communicate with each other and as a group more effectively. A customized Social Networking site can be good solution, but again that will need a lot of work and nothing great is available off the shelf as of now.
I have also tried using blog for various different situations but it is not that great a solution. Blogs I find are very helpful in case you want to express your personal views on any topic.

COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Parag
DATE: 10/19/2006 12:15:01 PM
Social networking sites are good because they give a common platform to a community. But if you think about it the Internet is the common platform.

The biggest issue with social networking sites is that they form a closed community. Those who are not part of that community cannot participate. For example if you have your profile on Ryze then you cannot connect to those who have their profiles on LinkedIn.

Managing multiple accounts can be very tedious. Personal webpages, wikis, and blogs work wonders here, because they use the Internet as the medium. I can connect to you through your blog, without being a member of a community. This is very powerful, because it lets people connect and collaborate without the annoyance of signing up with a particular community.

Probably tools that can map and manage conversations accross multiple blogs will be very useful to view a conversation in entirety. Not very sure how it can be achieved though.

At the moment we can use blogs to establish conversations, disseminating information (product, etc), sharing perspectives, best practices, etc.

Forums work out better for solving specific queries.

Podcasts are also a very interesting medium. They are being used for learning, as well as a replacement for international conference calls in some companies. Podcasts work very well because they transcend time zones. People can listen to them when it is convinient and yet communicate on a common platform. Again that common platform can be a blog for that podcast.

Grassroots journalism is another important application that blogs are being used for.

I think we have probably just scrathed the surface for blogging applications. In time to come there will be many more creative uses of blogs.

Would like to know what you think.

--
Parag

COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Ranjan
EMAIL:
URL: http://ranjanjha.blogspot.com
DATE: 10/27/2006 02:26:40 PM
Hi Sir

I was following your and Tarun's discussion about blogging and I just wonder did we had this kind of discussionn while were in classroon :)

According to technorati.com a blog is created every 7 second, more than 70000 blogs are created in a month and presently there are more than 25 million blogs!

The porpuse of putting this stats is that people are using the internet to 'upload' contents which is a big change,the internet is becoming more collaborative in nature and blogging makes the nature of information 'open source'; blogging is the best example of 'open source journalism' as some of the breaking news are provided by bloggers rather than 'professionals'.

Learning professionals should be blogging as they get wider audiance and the discussion become more open. As you rightly said it helps in reflection, the amount of research work that is needed before putting up a post is high as your voice is being heard and commented upon by wider range of people.

I wonder if you can invite more people on this blog to write article, the blog will become more intresting. Maybe you can add some of them as memebers to this site and ecourage them to post articles, this way the audiance will get more people to lsiten to and comment.

Regards
Ranjan

COMMENT:
AUTHOR: Parag
DATE: 10/28/2006 09:51:00 AM
Hello Ranjan,
I agree, open discussions are very important to learning and generally broadening the perspective. Getting other people involved on this blog is a very good idea.

In fact I have been thinking to extend this initiative with a podcast station, that will focus on core software skills. I plan to invite several experienced people from the industry to share their knowledge on the podcast. Will post details on this blog as soon as I have thrashed out the details.

Thanks for the suggestions.

--
Parag

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