Sooo Lazy! – Mastering my Personal Knowledge 3

As I continue to progress through Harold Jarche’s (@hjarche) Personal Knowledge Mastery learning programme I am having to admit to myself that I have a major failing when it comes to the Sense part of the Seek>Sense>Share framework. I am sooo lazy!

Dave: “I need some information on this topic.”

Search engine: “Here’s the headline from a bias publication written in 1976”

Dave: “Answer found!”

This may be an exaggeration but unless I am truly invested in the subject my levels of research carried out to confirm validity and reliability are woefully inadequate. Couple this with ingrained trust for the initial source and the danger of my Share activity spreading unsupported opinions is increased.

As we continue to move from the centralised broadcast method of learning and development my (and the rest of the workforce’s) ability to curate effectively requires a greater commitment to deep diving on the knowledge that comes through our filter.

Harold’s programme (via Maria Popova at BrainPickings.org) re-introduced me to James T. Mangan and his 1936 book: You can do anything! As Maria points out, Mangan is not what most would consider a reliable source but his 14 Ways to Acquire Knowledge do provide some good pointers on how to approach and make the most of new knowledge. But where to start?

Of the 14, numbers 5 and 6 seemed most relevant:

5 – Walk Around It – the need to look wider around, and deeper into, the knowledge you are presented with.

6 – Experiment – the willingness to take the knowledge, apply it and explore the outcomes.

These are simple ideas; so simple that I find myself frustrated at how infrequently they get applied to all new knowledge.

I recognise that one of the factors contributing to this failure to apply, is my natural tendency to approach more than one subject at a time thus creating a sense of urgency that drives me to only take a shallow dive and potentially take an item at face value.

The bonus of using this blog to explore my understanding of the learning programme is the opportunity it affords me to focus on one thing and take the time to explore it. Putting my thoughts onto the screen and committing to release them into the world is making me check the knowledge at a much deeper level than I may have done.

Hopefully this ‘one thing at a time’ approach is enabling me to experiment more and get a better grasp of the subject, which should improve the reliability of my Share.

Do you focus on one subject at a time, or try to explore everything all at once? How much time do you dedicate to checking your understanding of new knowledge? Any advice for this explorer?

Image – shanghaistoneman (pixabay.com)

Creative Commons License

Sooo lazy! – Mastering my Personal Knowledge 3 by David Wallace was written in London, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Shhh, don’t tell everyone but I’m #WOL

As part of my new found commitment to engaging more on-line, I thought a good choice for development would be my blogging. Looking at my WordPress account you will see a sparodical mess of content with no consistency of topic, length or validity and if I were share access to my drafts you would find nearly 20 false starts spanning a few years. If I’m going to be serious about my reinvigoration a good way for me is to use this place is for summing-up and reflecting on my week.

In essence I’m going to be Working Out Loud, and am hoping to not only improve my blogging (and drawing) skills but also provide some focus for my reflection.

One of the biggest hurdles though, is my need to present a perfect blog (hence the numerous false starts). Reading an article from PsychologyToday this morning reminded me of how much editing I indulge in; consranrly checking and re-checking spelling, structure, grammar, punctuation and how I need to let that go and just post (See, I resisted the urge to correct consranrly to constantly…..damn it!)

So, here’s hoping that not only can I let go and produce, but at least one person finds this an interesting journey and deicdes to contribute to my thought processes.

Wish me luck!

Reinvigoration

Last week saw me publish the first blog I’ve written in nearly three years and I thought I would continue with the momentum and get another out asap. So, what to write about? The obvious choice seemed to be looking at what caused me to stop in the first place and what was the catalyst for my return.

First a bit of scene setting. I set this page up several years ago, when I had this wonderful idea about being able to post up my meandering thoughts on learning and development at least once per month. All the cool kids were doing it, and being a bit of a sheep at the time I decided it was my turn to have a go. In total, I ended up publishing three (less than impressive) blogs with little in the way of a coherent pattern and a penchant for contrived comical asides (some things don’t change).

2011 was a cornerstone year for me; many changes took place and as a result blogging fell to the very bottom of my priority list. The disruption in my personal life continued until very recently, resulting in my disappearance from Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and several other social media tools/discussion forums that I had been regularly contributing to[1]. There was an attempt to return to blogging when I published a short piece about my tweet break, but basically I retreated from my wider social presence.

Throughout the last three years I started new blogs, but they never made it past the draft stage (several being deleted entirely – wish I could remember what they were about). Therefore, as at today I have four published blogs and several in draft format (started at different points over the three years). Not an impressive back catalogue, by anyone’s measure.

However, here I am at 7.55am on a Wednesday morning and already I’ve thought of another two subjects to write about whilst making changes to this post and have tweeted and re-tweeted several times. But why now? What drove this sudden desire to share? Why do little things I see and hear now trigger blog titles to form?

There are numerous differences between my life in 2011 and now: new partner, new employer, new location, new friend group, new smartphone and new personal/professional priorities. And I’m sure that these have all played their small part in reinvigorating my passion for learning and development, and desire to share that with others. But, the majority of these have been in place for at least twelve months, so why has my muse only just decided to return?

I believe that whilst the above changes set the ground work for my new output, it was something else that acted as the catalyst.

My new employer not only talks about development, they put their money where their mouth is and actively encourage employees to seek out learning and development opportunities, providing time/financial support if they feel it is going to be of benefit to them (now or in the future). As a result of this attitude to development I was able to attend the 2015 #CIPDLDShow at the Olympia in London.

My first new blog spoke a little about some of my experience at the show, and I intend writing another couple soon, but the thing that really drove me to return to posting my thoughts on social media was being re-enveloped in a community of supportive professionals. I talked with old contacts and made new ones; held interesting conversations and played silly games; shared information and saw mine shared. The majority of these interactions took place via the twitterverse, which reminded me that one of the reasons I used to tweet so much in the past, was as much for the community as for the learning.

Whilst taking part in a twitter exchange with several people, something I posted garnered a lot of responses, retweets, favouriting and questioning. Despite my best efforts there was no way I could respond to all the questions in the short amount of time I had available and realised that if I just collated all my thoughts in a blog, people could see everything I had to say in one go and post questions/comments that I could respond to at my leisure. This realisation, along with kind words from someone whose opinion I respect (themselves, a prolific blogger and tweeter) seemed to set a fire, and here we are.

So there you have it. Not exactly an earth shattering insight. But what I think it may show, is that engagement can be fleeting and we have to be quick to seize it, both from our personal perspective and as professionals trying to bring learners along with us. Also, we have to remember that sometimes a supportive community of learning can encourage (and hopefully maintain) that engagement.

This is me making the most of my returning interest in all things social. I feel engaged and reinvigorated. What engages you?

[1] It is worth noting that I continued to use Facebook during this period however, that had more to do with maintaining family/friend contacts as I dealt with change and relocation.