- How has your network changed the way you learn?
- Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?
- How do you gain new knowledge when you have questions?
- In what ways does your personal learning network support or refute the central tenets of connectivism?
I am a firm believer that we never stop learning! My network has enhanced my understanding of the world! As I became older and more opinionated I found that my views mimicked that of someone who thinks outside of the box, meets a challenge head on and surrounds herself with people of similar interests.
My network has been made up of several individuals along the way; I have met some wonderful education professionals that have taught me the foundation for successfully being a Social Worker a Medical Administrator, Human Resource Professional and now an Instructional Designer. This network is ever growing and ever changing.
My initial network was my family and once I was introduced to school and activities that network quickly expanded into my friends or social networks; as I became older and more involved that network became those that I volunteered with my clients, my professional networks, my work colleagues, Military professionals, contractors, social networks, trainers and professionals, students, school administrators etc. My network unenviably changed and became larger; the more involved I became within the work force and my professional world the larger the network.
My network has broadened my views and allowed me to look at various points of view, although I may not always agree with my ever expanding network, I am always willing to listen and see another point of view perhaps a view that I never even thought of.
In this age of digital tools and learning I have been introduced to some pretty impressive tools and programs. Some of the best tools I have found are plenty and listed in no particular order. I have been introduced to LinkedIn a wonderful networking tool that has allowed me the opportunity to speak directly with some very impressive Trainers and Developers (Zappos, Franklin Covey)
I have had opportunity to speak with individuals responsible for the development and implementation of some of the most successful training programs out there; I have spoken to these individual “greats” both online and offline, I even invited them to come speak to our professional development organization; something that I firmly believe would never have happened without this network. Go to meeting is also a digital learning tool that I have been introduced to and love, Skype, Webinars of any kind, Blackboard and most recently in the area of design tools again in no particular order: Webspiration which allowed me to create my mind map posted here, blogging software (WordPress) which has allowed me to publish this blog along with future blog posts. Some of my favorite design programs have been Power Point, Captivate, Brainshark to name a few; in fact I am so impressed by these programs that I have taken the liberty of trying to teach myself prior to be introduced to the programs in educational forum/ instruction.
When seeking new knowledge I believe that the good old fashion hands on approach is important, I also surround myself around people more knowledgeable than myself in design programs, training and development, another way that my social networks have proven to be beneficial. I have no problem asking questions of those much more skilled than myself and I have no problem asking for assistance when needed. I am “hungry” for knowledge and always very open to the idea of learning and continuing to learn. I feel that every opportunity we have is just one more opportunity to learn!
Interestingly enough the more knowledge that I tend to gain from my professional networks, educational networks and even my technological networks; the more distant and withdrawn I become from my initial networks (family) this is not something that has happened intentionally but more by accident. When I speak about a particular program or I design something, my family looks at me as if I am speaking a foreign language and have three heads.
The more disconnect I feel with my family the more connected I become with my professional networks, social networks, educational networks, and surround myself with networks that are more familiar with the technology and learning models. Although some of these technologies and models maybe foreign to my family members and even some of my social networks, the connectivim is still very much there, as I learn and continue to learn from those networks less familiar with technology something I feel that every instructional designer should be aware of as they build their training programs; this awareness will prove to be very beneficial as we can work to build and tailor these programs for those that maybe less familiar by technology or are uncomfortable with technology.