Hello. Welcome to my research hub. I am an eLearning professional with a particular interest in storytelling, education and technology. I find quite a few of my articles through ScoopIt and repost them here, in large part for my own tracking. This year I am working toward developing more original posts stemming from what I am learning in my graduate work, at conferences and in my work. My first series will be a recount of the conferences I have been to in the past year. Thank you for visiting!
I arrived home this evening poised and ready to hammer out the most brilliant blog post on TEDx, leadership in the eyes of a horse and building an online community. Danielle LaPorte here I come! (look her up – she is pretty much nailing it with online leadership.)
Then I thought, ‘wait- you are delirious.’ One thing I have learned about those ‘epiphanies’ and writing, whether it be on a blog, FB, or text, is that there is some direct ratio between how amazing you think your ideas are and how it actually looks in writing that is just not in your favor.
It was 8PM on Saturday night and I had just arrived home from a successful volunteer orientation for our TEDxAmericasFinestCity event. A crush of work, the flu and a bombardment of emails earlier in the week had sent me spinning into a 36 hour period punctuated by an hour of sleep. In that period, after the usual bout of self-flogging, I settled into some true self-assessment around my role as both community member and leader. A few concepts had surface for me with the fury of the ship that was after Moby Dick. And I was exhausted.
So I napped and now I am awake again at 1AM, furiously cleaning the shelf in the bookcase that’s been bugging me and searching for a comprehensible way to encapsulate my thoughts. Here goes with where I landed:
Our meeting today had been a for group of 26 people whom we largely had not met before. I was working alongside a number of committee leads new to the organization. The October 11th event is looming and nerves are high, including my own. However, at around 3AM the night before I concluded that it was essentially the same as walking into an arena of 6 to 12 years olds sitting on horseback. It was not so much of an aha! moment as it was a ‘duh’ moment. I have been studying the concepts, theories and modeling of developing communities of practice, constructivist learning, and developing online discussions (etc & et al), so much lately – that I had completely lost sight of what I already knew.
Walking into any situation where people are unsure, you first must become a steward for practice. If my group of students on horses were prepping for a competition and I walked into the arena with my hair on fire with purpose and direction but ‘forgot’ to check in with them that is not going to end well. I have loads of experience with that. This is no different than Boettcher and Conrad’s recommendation to begin a class with a ‘getting-acquainted-socially’ along with a ‘getting-aquainted-cognitively’ guided discussion. And, cycling back, how is that an different than walking into a group of people and setting the tone with icebreakers of a similar purpose?
It isn’t different, and moreover, it is not just that you do that but it is how. The energy, not in a woo-woo way but in true sense of setting the tone, the leader brings to the situation will largely impact how that community develops. That is the one key that I did not get from all the readings and research. But that I know very very well through experience. My role was to step into that meeting and, despite my nerves or anyone else’s in the room, set the tone for that experience. We know this a teachers but I was forgetting this in my eLearning instructional design. Beyond the concepts and models, an element of design is tone. In an online discussion it may be your writing style as adapted to your audience that ‘invites’ them in. It may be that you are a master at guiding the story of the discussion to weave a type of narrative that engages people. How about using social media? (I think I am actually starting to grasp ‘transmedia storytelling with regards to this) All I can say is that this is what I see at the heart of this whole dilemna we grapple with in translating ‘face-to-face’ to online learning.
I could go on about how this relates to moving from a pedagogy to andragogy in stewarding an online community and how that meets concepts of organizational development in my mind…but it is now 2AM, sleep and pattern on not related, and this got to be one long winded post. Goodnight.
True be known I do not know why I do not write here more often. While I know it is difficult to get me to stop once I get started on a topic (believe me – I have to listen to myself all the time) publicly publishing my thoughts, whether on graduate experiences, EST (education, storytelling & tech) inspired brainstorming or even professional challenges, seems like this daunting, insurmountable and time consuming task. Basically I cannot barely separate it from writing a dissertation. Writing in discussion forums have eased this perception and, luckily, I am now tasked by a professor to write at least 6 posts over the next six weeks. Thus, here I go with part 1 of a six part series about social learning, discussion forums, communities of inquiry or practice and the use of ILT.
The reason I begin here is that it is a topic that is most immediate to my professional and graduate work. Apart from that, alongside this concept of exploring the intersection of education, storytelling and technology exists this interest in collaborative online learning. At least that the was the language that caused me to initiate my graduate work in ILT. Since then I have encountered a battery of terms, theories and models that describe how we do, or may, learn online. As individuals we communicate through discussions, we contribute to our community through blog posts and we comment on others doing the same. As communities we stimulate new ideas, share established ones and create new layers of meaning almost on a daily basis. Looking at the significance of online interaction from a high level societal view is almost overwhelming. Organizations like 350.org are combining education and storytelling in online formats like blogs and global hangouts with an underlying civic engagement tone to coordinate a global ‘climate movement’.
So why can it be so difficult to create engaging stimulating conversations on forums or discussion boards in higher education or professional organizations, or in some cases, successful? I can identify at least three points that I have based on my research and professional experience. First is stewardship, that of both the instructor and/or other leaders that emerge in the community. Second is the motivating factor ‘pulling’ in the participation. Boetcher & Conrad (2010) identify the ‘intrinsic’ and ‘extrinsic’ motivators of the learner. I posit that we should consider what might make a community or discussion more or less compelling to join though who they are rather than what they do. This point is harder for me to describe as I have not read anything written on it. It is simply a subtly I believe may be worth it to unpack. My last and third point is just that the quality of the technology can effect and affect the level of participation. This pops out for me because I have encountered a few instances of either how a platform that I have used have felt lacking or that a client wants more out of one than it is capable of.
Over the next few weeks I will address these subjects as follows (names may change):
– First – Stewardship – moving towards an unmediated discussion forum
– Second – Yank the Chain – how to attract non-graded participation
– Third – Why should I bother? – Balance the features and goals of your forum
– Fourth – What’s the Story? – How do you develop the story of your online community
– Fifth – Reflection – A Community Triad
Let’s face it, most of us are addicted technology futurists. Who doesn’t enjoy speculating about what technology marvels will be commonplace in the coming decades? Will it be 3D printing? Artificial intelligence? “Singularity”? All are buzzwords of the emerging technology future. But what about leadership? If we don’t get leadership right, [...]
A film company, two foundations and a university want to know what motivates people to support an issue on social media after they see issue-oriented movies, TV shows or online video.
Karen Dietz, you should take a look at the marketing anaylysis developed by Emotient using CERT technology. I hear rumour that one of the founders might be talking at an upcoming TEDxAmericasFinestCity evnt
I am a bit obsessed by the phenomena of social learning and the many implications it carries with it. This article provides some valuable insight into how to be reputable digital citizen by being very conscious about the story we tell about ourselves online.
See on www.det.nsw.edu.au
I like to explore how that tell those stories through other learning going on in the company. For example, how could you integrate a piece of the corporate story into an eLearning module meant to teach a particular tool or skill set?
See on www.arc-comms.com
Storyboarding as we know it may have been pioneered by filmmakers and animators, but we can use many of the same concepts in the development of other forms of storytelling including keynote presentations or short-form presentations such as those made…
"A great storyboard artist is a great communicator (not necessarily a great illustrator/animator)."
See on www.presentationzen.com
By putting forth this Manifesto, Michael Allen, Julie Dirksen, Clark Quinn, and Will Thalheimer invite all learning professionals to pledge to do the things that are necessary to create an engaging…
I think it is interesting the way this crew is beating the path to ‘shake things up’ (to quote Bones).
See on elearningmanifesto.org