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Month: June 2013

Habits for successful lifelong learning #coastd

This caught my eye this week.

It was posted as the introduction to Learn Camp, a self-directed learning programme from the Central Ohio ASTD chapter that aims to let learners explore some of the new digital tools that are changing access to information and ways of learning today. The activity along with this, labelled ‘discovery exercise’, was simply to share your thoughts about which habit is easiest for you, and which is the hardest, plus any thoughts you might have about lifelong learning in general.

Looking at the 7 1/2 habits, I identify, more or less, with all 7 of them. What I have difficulty with is the fraction on the end, that is to say, play. Not that I’m particularly serious, or a kill-joy, it’s just that I don’t seem overly inclined to play, idly fiddling around with things. For me, exploration, akin to travel or journeying, better encapsulates the end fractional habit of lifelong learning more than playing. That is, finding out what’s next or over the horizon, finding out how things are connected and what it means, not just to me but to others too. Because I don’t identify greatly with the playing metaphor might be one of the reasons that I’m not particularly inclined towards the current trend in digital learning for ‘makes’. Oh well, we can’t all be the same.

An article entitled “How to Become a Successful Lifelong Learner” was also signposted by LearnCamp. I’m glad this article was flagged up because it served to remind me of the importance of goal setting within lifelong learning, and most importantly to write those goals down. If I’d written my goals down in the past, maybe my odyssey to learn Spanish might not have taken a nose dive in the last year or two 🙁

All in all, a useful little activity.

Post script: subsequent to posting this, I’ve been thinking about the definition, or the meanings, of the word play. In his list of participatory skills, Jenkins identifies play as, “the capacity to experiment with and explore your surroundings as a form of problem-solving”. The role of exploration within play, together with experimentation and performance (testing roles and identities in different settings), has long been established (Huizinga 1950; Bruner et al. 1976 and Gagne 1985). However, nowadays, play can equally be seen as simulation, or as Garvey (1990) suggests, wilfing (what was I looking for). Indeed, in today’s intensely interconnected world, wilfing has the potential to be highly productive given that the discovery of knowledge is often little more than a few clicks away.

I suppose I’ve learnt that play is an important habit of lifelong learning, and that it has a number of forms; each to their own, just so long as you acquire the habit 🙂

#ocTEL ends with a leisurely dip.

Before #ocTEL rolls out of town, I spent a couple of pleasant hours today looking over some of the course materials and posts from the last couple of weeks. Although I’ve been deleting the daily newsletter for the last couple of weeks because I wasn’t able to engage sufficiently with the course material, or do justice to the discussions, today I did have some time so I took a peak at what’s been going on.

The first item that caught my eye was James Little’s blog post evaluating his participation. The opening line certainly struck a chord, “I’m finally joining in at the end”. Ditto. Importantly though, his post articulated the reality of balancing, or juggling, the requirements of MOOC participation while daily life goes on unabashed. Here, he rightly called attention the philosophy of the course designers, who from the outset gave advice on “how to keep calm in the face of abundance”, advocating selectivity and that participants pace themselves and indeed, take time out. All the same, I have to say that I’ve been a bit bothered by how my own engagement in this course has panned out, and I can’t honestly put my finger on (i) why I’m bothered and (ii) why it was so patchy. I suppose I just have to acknowledge that maintaining engagement and holding a steady course isn’t always possible, or indeed expected and that dipping in and out will do just fine, if that’s how the cookie crumbles.

Taking a dip
Taking a dip

Any way, after that I then tracked back to last week’s “if you only do one thing” activity which offered a paper by Tim Cochrane as an examination of why TEL, or more accurately mLearning, projects fail and what might be learnt when they do. I enjoyed reading this paper and was especially interested to learn of the researcher’s affinity with the PAH Continuum, pedagogy-andragogy-heutagogy (Blaschke  2012;  Luckin  et al. 2010), which he uses as a critical framework to measure how much pedagogical change a project achieves; that is, a change in pedagogy from teacher-directed pedagogy to student-centred andragogy and ultimately to student-directed or negotiated heutagogy. Equally, I was interested to learn of the researcher’s advocacy for establishing, prior to the deployment of a project, supporting Communities of Practice [COPs] that include all of key tutors, or lecturers. Useful article.

I wasn’t able to complete the task set with the reading; it asked that I think of a project I’ve been involved with or have experience of and write down a list of points relating to the “key successes” and “key failures”. However, I did take a look in the discussion forum where I enjoyed reading and learning of the experiences of others, especially the fact that they were all able to powerfully learn from experiences that might not strictly be deemed as having been successful.

Moving on to read the final week’s activities, I was able to look back over the course and reflect further on my participation. Actually, I was quite surprised how much I did in fact cover, but what really stood out for me the most was the hour or so that I spent in week 5 watching the webinar in which Martin Hawksey gave a run-through of the #ocTEL platform and the technology needed to host a course along the lines of a connectivist style MOOC. Awesome stuff, and strangely I’d quite like to understand this technology some more. Viewing this webinar gave me a real insight into the power of technology, but at the same time it left me with the sense that I was somehow powerless and that without a better understanding or level of skill in terms of “writing the web” then, for better or worse, I’m at the mercy of others. Intriguingly the course ends with the question “Finished ocTEL? What’s next?”. Indeed, what next?

Actually, there’s mention of #ocTEL 2.0, which is something I’ll definitely look out for as I’d like to do this again. There’s much to learn.

Finally, a big thanks to the #ocTEL team. The opportunity to “take a dip” is appreciated.

Image source: http://foxseye.deviantart.com/art/Nia-taking-a-Dip-161621297

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