How Twitter Chats Help Me Learn

lrnchatozlearnIn late March 2014 I joined my first Twitter chat.  Three months later I’ve participated in a  five Twitter chats with either #lrnchat or #ozlearn.  Today I reviewed the published chat archives to reflect on how participating in Twitter chats help me to learn.

What is a Twitter Chat?

A Twitter chat is a live, real-time moderated discussion on a specific topic that takes place via Twitter messages with the use of a specific hashtag.  Anyone who is interested in the topic can join.

The following articles explain how Twitter chats work and provide tips on how to participate:

Twitter Chat’s I’ve Joined

  • #Lrnchat March 27 – Working Smarter*
  • #OzLearn April 8 – Alignment Requires Clarity
  • #Ozlearn May 13 – Consistency in Learning & Development
  • #Lrnchat June 6 – On The Job Learning*
  • #OzLearn Chat July 8 – Benchmarking in L&D

* OzLearn Chat archives are published at

My Chat Experiences

In all of these chats the moderator has asked a series of questions on the topic to which participants respond.  I’ve found the questions thoughtfully constructed and logically sequenced.

Twitter Chat 2During my first chat I answered questions and retweeted some responses of others.  Mostly I watched, read, and got used to the format. It was a busy forum and I had to concentrate.  I recognised some participants as conference speakers and authors, but was unfamiliar with most.  Five chats and ten weeks later I participate actively and fluidly.   I ask questions about others comments and experience, engage in side-discussions, and share resources.

I am now comfortable using Twitter and my online Personal Learning Network (PLN) has grown, so I ‘know’ more participants.  My PLN growth is in part due to chats – I always leave a chat with more people on my following and followed lists.

Twitterchat 1


Familiarity with other participants makes me comfortable to have a more robust discussion.


 My Most Valuable Twitter Chat

I found the OzLearn chat on Benchmarking in L&D particularly valuable as:

  • the topic was relevant to my needs
  • a subject matter expert attended
  • pre-reading was provided
  • useful resources were shared during the chat
  • there was a lot of healthy exploration of comments
  • I was motivated to act at the end of the chat
  • the chat was well curated on Storify, with commentary and presentation of discussion threads gathered together rather than a stream of chronologically ordered tweets (thanks @tanyalau for your curation)

Twitter Chat 3

Twitter Chat 4




Chat Archives

While I favourite tweets to follow up after a chat, I also find chat archives useful and have started bookmarking those that I may want to refer to at a later date using Diigo.  The other way in which archives are useful is where I am unable to attend a chat on a topic I am interested in.  This is particularly challenging for those of us in Asia-Pacific region where chats are being hosted at times convenient to either U.S or European participants, but in the middle of the night for us.  I regularly review the #ESNChat archives.

How Twitter Chats Help Me to Learn

Steven Anderson has presented the case on this very well in Why Twitter Chats Matter. Twitter chats help me to learn by allowing me to:

  • Meet new people
  • Hear new ideas
  • Explore opposing view points
  • Find new resources
  • Create action
  1. #1 by tanyalau on August 14, 2014 - 12:45 pm

    Great points – def agree that 1st few twitter chats are a bit like “what just happened there?!!” – and really just as you’ve said, mostly observing and participating where you can. I remember first hearing about lrnchat years ago and having absolutely NO idea what was going on when I attempted to check it out. It kind of scared me off twitter – and I didn’t ‘get’ twitter or tweet chats really, until I participated in a few as part of a Mooc.

    I think your point about participation as a means to connecting with others is an important one – I only started to ‘get’ twitter and see the benefit of it once I started to actively participate in things and interact with people – via chats, tweeting links to blogs, moocs, etc – and I think the thing about twitter in particular that makes it a little different from other platforms is that it’s kind of casual, fun & easy – it’s a great conduit to spark connections which can lead to more substantial interactions or collaborations. There aren’t many mediums other than twitter where you’d be able to actually interact with people in your industry, authors, practitioners etc whose work you admire – if it’s gonna happen anywhere, it’s probably gonna happen on twitter!

  2. #2 by tanyalau on August 14, 2014 - 12:48 pm

    Oh – also I meant to say thanks for the comment about the storify of that OzLearn chat. Storifying is quite a fascinating process – tweet chats are such manic things – it’s not a linear experience but narratives are – so in order to form a narrative of a tweet chat that makes sense, it helps to align the threads (sometimes it’s not always easy to find the threads!). But glad you found it helpful!

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