Archive for April, 2014
This week I’ve reviewed my Personal Learning Network (PLN) and created a quarterly action plan to continue PLN development. My PLN is simply the group of people that I am connected to for the purpose of learning.
PLN Composition Review
I commenced this process by plotting my “professional” network using an activity from the Social Learning Practitioner Program, and answering the seven great questions in Mark McNeilly’s article Ask These Questions About Your Professional Network Before It’s Too Late.
My key insight from this activity is that my PLN different to my ‘professional’ network – while there is overlap, there are people who belong to only one of these groups. I interact with the people in my PLN with the specific goal of learning through sharing resources and having discussions.
With this realisation, I asked the seven questions posed by McNeilly again, this time just in the context of my PLN. I concluded that while my PLN has been growing recently as I have become active on Twitter (see the graph below showing follower growth), it could be larger and more diverse.
My active PLN consists largely of Learning and Development (L&D) professionals across a small number of industries. On LinkedIn I am connected to almost 500 people, many former colleagues with a broader range of professional backgrounds and industry experience. There are a lot of people with Supply Chain experience, which is relevant to my current role as a capability manager in a Supply Chain business unit. However, I have not actively used LinkedIn to learn with, from and through this group of people (or any other group for that matter!). On the plus side, my PLN includes a number of global thought leaders in my field, giving me visibility of important trends and developments.
I used Twitter Analytics for the first time to review what is currently the most active part of my PLN – my Twitter network. The image below is an extract of some data about my 89 followers as at 11 April. There is some diversity in location and gender. The interests statistics confirm a bias towards L&D professionals, many of whom are in the financial services sector
I could not find similar analytics tools for an individual LinkedIn page, but a quick perusal of my connections list confirms the greater diversity in professional background and industry in this group.
Of course, there is also that part of my PLN that I am connected to in the ‘real’ world rather than the online world. In the process of working with colleagues in my organisation there is opportunity for continuous learning. Those that I most often interact with for the specific purpose of learning are in similar job roles to myself. The people outside of my organisation that I make the effort to connect with in person are, again, predominantly in the L&D community.
PLN Activity Review
The things I have most commonly been doing in my PLN this year are represented in the image below.
Undertaking the Social Learning Practitioner Program (SLPP) has been a big driver of my recent PLN activity. The SLPP tasks (5 completed, 6 underway, 14 to start) have gotten me ‘kick started’ to develop, contribute and utilise my PLN actively and purposefully.
I monitor my social media feeds daily using Hootsuite, comment on posts and resources I find interesting, and occasionally have a short discussion with someone in my network. This and participating in live tweet chats (#lrnchat, #ozlearn) has generated new connections and started building relationships. Depending on the topic, I have found these chats promote reflection and different perspectives on my professional activities and interests. I have found them worthwhile.
I started this blog on March 8, and have posted around once per week. I share each post on Twitter and, sometimes, on LinkedIn. Outside of tweet chats, the activity which has generated the most engagement in my Twitter network is my post on design of a social media lesson. I’m not sure whether this was due interest in the topic, the fact that an influencer with a large network retweeted it, or that I had shared an original resource that others may find useful – or some other reason.
This week I’ve struck a challenge on a work project, and I need to find some information to help me address it. I’ve been able to turn to my PLN on Twitter and quickly source information and arrange discussions with people who can help me to solve this problem.
In the ‘real world’ I have attended two events this year – the Learning Cafe Unconference and a breakfast seminar on workplace learning with Charles Jennings from the 702010 Forum. Discussions at the Unconference prompted me (finally) to get serious about developing my PLN. By the time I attended the 702010 Forum event I was participating in the backchannel on Twitter during the event (sounds sophisticated! It feels like getting away with ‘talking in class’). The online discussion continued after both of these events, and enabled further sharing of resources from the events and discussion of ideas and issues raised at the events.
The following digram shows how I am currently using online tools in my PLN.
PLN Action Plan
Having reviewed by PLN composition and activities I then prepared a quarterly action plan. In addition to my review I considered the following factors when preparing my plan:
My goals for this quarter are to:
- Complete Social Learning Practitioner Program
- Deepen relationships in existing PLN
- Start sharing and learning through LinkedIn rather than just connecting
- Expand network though live Twitter chats and AITD Conference
- Utilise my PLN and PKM to support community building in my organisation
Key actions are shown in the table below, with the highest priority items in red (because I always put too many things into my plans…….). Wish me luck! 🙂
As an activity for the Social Media for Active Learning MOOC (SMOOC – Twitter @SMOOC2014) I have designed a lesson incorporating the use of social media tools to support active learning. I’m sharing this to encourage others to consider the use of social media in their lessons.
The context for this lesson is to encourage use of social learning using my company’s Enterprise Social Network (ESN), Sharepoint 2013 by getting people to narrate their work. As such the choice of Sharepoint as the tool for this course was clearcut. While initially daunted at the prospect of designing a lesson using social media, as I read participant posts on the SMOOC discussion boards I realised that my existing instructional design skills are entirely relevant to this task. The new bit is knowledge and skill with available social media tools to decide when and how to use them. This made my specific task more approachable as I am already using Sharepoint2010.
While our upcoming Enterprise Social Network upgrade to Sharepoint2013 (with enhanced social functionality) means I need to update my skills, I felt adequately confident in my existing knowledge to do a high level lesson design. Our upgrade is in May, so I aim to run the pilot in July and rollout in August. Shall do an update post on the final product and outcomes after this time.
Here is the lesson design:
Very appreciative of feedback on this design – what improvements do you suggest?
In this post I reflect on the social learning skills of the team in which I work. This is the second part of the social learning skills review I completed as part of the Social Learning Practitioner Program.
I lead a small core team of capability consultants and instructional designers who create and support implementation of learning programs and resources across our Business Unit. We work closely with Capability Managers in a range of geographical areas who represent the managers and learners who are our internal customers. They also drive local use of programs, and are key change agents. We refer to this extended team as our ‘Capability Community’.
We use Sharepoint 2010 as our Enterprise Social Network (ESN). We have a public community site which is used primarily to publish learning materials and reference documents for meetings or joint projects. These documents are rarely developed collaboratively. Our community meets fortnightly via teleconference, supported by online document/screen sharing using Microsoft Lync. Outside of this meeting we use email to communicate as a group rather than Sharepoint. Community members support each other to solve performance problems and share resources when asked; however this is done primarily in response to a specific request from an individual rather than sharing resources and experience as an ongoing part of how we work.
I have attempted to introduce some use of Sharepoint’s collaboration and social features, with limited take up. Working together socially supported by our ESN is different to how our community members currently work together or with other teams that they participate in, and I have not been explicit with the group about the change in behaviour that I am trying to encourage and why. Also, use of external online and social media tools to support personal learning by individual team members is limited, hence community members do not have this experience to adapt or model.
Our interaction in our fortnightly one hour catchups has matured from status reporting and project decisions two years ago to now starting each meeting with verbal updates of what each person has been working on and engage in more discussion of our experiences on common activities. This has helped the team to identify more opportunity to share resources and draw out/upon each others experience. I think the group is well positioned to take the next step and try narrating our work online.
Our ESN will be upgraded to Sharepoint 2013 next month, along with relocation of our department files from a series of folders in Windows Explorer segregated by geography to Sharepoint team sites set up by function . The new team site structure creates significant opportunity for people doing similar work across the organisation to better connect and share, and we can set up our online space in a way that better supports collaboration and social learning.
Our community met face to face last week for two days to refresh our capability development strategy – our first face to face session in well over a year. We committed to improve our knowledge sharing practices and trial use of Sharepoint to support continuous learning in our Community, providing a role model for other groups and building experience that will help us to support development of other communities in our business unit.
Please leave your observations on this ‘case study’ or tips on how this team could become more ‘social’ in how we work in Comments below. I’ll do an update post later in the year to create a case study.
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