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?
As I continue through Harold Jarche’s (@hjarche) Personal Knowledge Mastery learning programme, I am being driven to think more about the Seek>Sense>Share model; where I am Seeking and what tools I use for my Sensemaking.
Each year Jane Hart (@C4LPT) compiles a top 200 Tools for Learning and our challenge was to search through for a (free) app/tool we haven’t used before and give it a go. Easy!
Actually, no. As I scrolled down the list and started to hit triple digits I realised that this was going to prove more difficult than I expected. It was a strange feeling to find I had used (or at the very least tested) the majority of the tools.
My initial reaction was “Wow Dave! You’re really on the ball and willing to try out new tech/software.” My reflective thought however, was “Ok Dave! Maybe you need to think more about whether you are just chasing the ‘New Shiny’. And perhaps you would better served by waiting until others have experimented, before considering if the tool will bring anything useful to your repertoire(?)”
This revelation coincided with my tablet issuing the immortal “…I’m too full for anymore updates…”, or something along those lines. And on looking at the screen it was clear that the number of apps was becoming a major problem.
Harold encouraged me to revisit the list, review those I have tried, rate them for usefulness and consider thinning the herd. So here we are.
I don’t have the patience to review every tool and always try to avoid arbitrary numbers, so have decided that because I have a 2 hour gap between meetings tomorrow this is how long I will give myself to work down Jane’s list and review as many as possible. (Yeah, I know that’s still kind of arbitrary, but needs must).
Results: (29 items)
Usefulness Rating */10
I use YouTube every day! Whether that is for general entertainment (We all need kittens) or for learning.
web search engine
If I cannot find a video, I will search on here to find information on what I need to learn.
Hmm, I don’t learn very well from presentations however, because I have to deliver in that medium the act of building them helps to embed my learning around a subject.
As I look through my feed several times a day, this is where I am most likely to come across new learning. Also, I am now just as likely to search on here as Google, to track down information.
Other than to connect and search for jobs, I very rarely use LinkedIn.
Google Docs & Drive
file sharing and collaboration
When not in work I use a Chromebook, so use these a lot; for writing and therefore, embedding new learning.
Most documents are in this format, so yes, by default I learn from Word.
Do not make as much use of this as I should. Tend to only view if Google points me that way and am not adept at filtering information whilst in there.
When I see something highlighted on Twitter or Google, or am pointed via an RSS I will read people’s blogs. But I do not actively search for items on there.
video conferencing platform
Very rarely use Zoom (our organisation uses MSTeams) and have only attended a few Webinars using it (they weren’t great, but that was the fault of the provider not the tool).
team collaboration platform
Use this a lot! For meetings, collaborative working, messaging, delivering/attending webinars and generally for producing/consuming documents/files.
team collaboration platform
Used it twice: a) to take part in a D&D campaign; b) take part in a Working Out Loud circle. Haven’t had much opportunity to use since.
LinkedIn Learning [Lynda]
Other than as a tester when our organisation was exploring whether to buy a license, have not used it. The items I did test, whilst interesting, were not great.
Use for family and friends messaging/video chats, but for very little else.
Have this all set-up with several sources selected for content……have only accessed it on several occasions. However, that is about to change!
As with Word, most data tables are presented in this format so obviously use to create/consume.
file sharing platform
At one time I did use this a lot however, have moved mainly to Google Drive, SharePoint and OneDrive
I am ashamed to say (given the algorithms echo-chamber nature) I do access a lot of news content via FB. It is a vital forum for less tech-savvy members of mine and my partners family/friend groups. The only saving grace may be that I do tend to gather from all areas (e.g. political left and right) and then trace sources/biases.
It has been many months since I last used Skype and even then I only used it for InstantMessenger in work and the very occasional videocall.
course authoring tools
For a long time this was the tool I had to use for building my e-Learning provision. It, along with other authoring tools helped me approach learning differently.
classroom engagement tool
Have only used this from the participant viewpoint when supporting a student programme in the University. Not my favourite audience participation tool, and the sessions I attended didn’t use it to great effect.
Use this regularly for notetaking in work and collaborative content building.
Have used this to build video and audio content and always found it useful. It has helped me recognise my vocal and visual ticks and have a greater appreciation for talking speed and leaving thinking space between sentences.
Never bothered installing the App as I tend to access via YouTube or Google search. Very useful provision for sparking new or challenging long held ideas – however, I do find I spend a lot of time investigating validity due to the ‘car salesperson’ style of message delivery.
At one time I did use this a lot however, I now seem to make better use of Chrome bookmarking, OneNote, Google Keep and Trello
Have used in the past, but never to any great extent as have access to bespoke survey tool and now use MSForms for simple needs.
screen capture tool
Used for a short period to try it out, but have access to several other tools already installed on managed equipment.
project management app
Use Trello a lot for many different purposes: General ToDo lists; Projects; Useful links; and, planning of long holiday (living itinerary for others to see where we are, with contact details, etc)
So that was fun, but what did I discover?
1 – I am quite good (Bad?) about abandoning tools if there is something easier/better out there.
2 – I am the person who highlights to others that a new tool might be useful for their need.
3 – I do try and find ways of using tools for things they were not originally designed for.
4- I need to be clearer with myself about what I learn when using a tool.
5 – I am very bad about deleting apps for tools I no longer use (Within 5 mins of looking at this list I had uninstalled the LinkedIn, Skype, DropBox and Evernote apps from all my devices.)
6 – I am frustrated at having to use less-effective tools at work, because the better ones are not part of our managed applications bundle.
6.1 – I need to be more forgiving of the tools in work and find ways to use them more effectively.
6.2 – I also need to continue pushing for the more-effective tools to be added to our bundle.
7 – I am unlikely to stop chasing the new shiny……and I’m ok with that.
There are many more on Jane’s list that I want to revisit and some new ones I want to explore. Hopefully I will find some more apps in my current list that can be removed. Let the Purge commence.
Do you have tools (Apps) that are now just filling space? Are there tools you can make more useful by thoroughly exploring their functionality? Are there more New Shiny’s I should go and play with?
I recently started on @hjarche‘s Personal Knowledge Mastery learning programme and, as hoped, it has re-energised my desire to share. One of the tasks this week, was to focus on Sensemaking which, although I may do it internally, is something I quite often fail to show when sharing to a wider audience.
As I scroll through my Twitter feed, something that does sometimes annoy me is the repetition of postings; that one thing that everybody has read, found ‘worthy’ and decides to highlight to their followers without explaining why they are sharing it. Yet I am as guilty as everyone else on this. When I find something interesting, important or just a view-point I agree with I hit the retweet button and that’s ‘job done’.
N.B. For those of you in the far-flung future: I am doing this at a time when the world is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic whilst also raising our voices to challenge racism and abuse of power through the #BlackLivesMatter movement, so a large majority of my activity is an attempt to amplify the message.
Retweets linked to Covid-19 (without adding a comment):
@txkate__ – talks about her soon to be ex-husband’s reaction to finding out she had been sexually assaulted @D0NALDGL0VERR – shares pictures of the singer/actor Donald Glover (In each picture of the thread his smile gets gradually gets wider) – just a nice escape from the soul-crushing elements that were appearing in my feed
Retweets (with comment):
1:07 PM · Jun 2, 2020 – @perkin_amalaraj shared a link to a Google Doc giving details on how we can support black lives in the UK My comment: Don’t just watch and feel impotent anger; do something.
11:16 PM · Jun 3, 2020 – video by @DrJessTaylor in which she decries the pretension and elitism of people accusing her of ‘dumbing down’ language for her recent book My comment: If we want people to learn, we must ensure they can ALL understand the message!
6:23 AM · Jun 4, 2020 – video of cat, that starts out cute and moves to very creepy. As I said in the tweet “watch before bed for best results” [insert evil laugh] My comment: Love this. Please watch just before bed for the best results
7:35 AM · Jun 5, 2020 – comment from @jennylandreth about the ridiculous idea that a new royal yacht would boost the country’s morale. My comment: Think would have to……….agree with this!
8:26 AM · Jun 5, 2020 – @neilmosley5 shares an article by Sarah Bergsen, Erik Meester, Paul Kirschner and Anna Bosman challenging the move to a Constructivism approach in education. This article started to raise questions for me about the approach we take in #LearningAndDevelopment when considering #Andragogy and #AdultLearning in general. My comment: Do we in #LnD approach andragogy with this in mind? Do we follow the scaffolding approach? Are we just delegating the learning responsibility to ‘novice’ level individuals by taking a ‘self-directed learning’ approach? Does this even have any baring on adult learning? *Thoughts*
9:01 AM · Jun 6, 2020 – a thread from @TatianaTMac detailing some of the ways white people can “focus on current & systemic change” in the fight against racism My comment: This is not a sprint; it’s a life-long commitment to think against social conditioning.
When I started this exercise I was not expecting the volume of retweets I found, but the more I reflect the more I realise that given my feelings about the #BLM movement it is actually a very small number.
To comment or not to comment, that is a really pertinent question at the moment. I decided early on that any retweets linked to #BLM require no comment from me for 2 reasons:
1 – it is about the message they provide, not my view on them
2 – the message is clear in these tweets and do not require me to clarify anything
Also, anything I add makes the tweet about me, rather than the subject – he says, whilst writing a self-centred blog!
Looking at the tweets where I did add comments, only two of them truly demonstrated I had made a deeper exploration of the content and attempted some Sensemaking before sharing. Also, only one of those included a comment that added something to the conversation rather than just echoing the content.
From a professional standpoint this may not have been the best week to snapshot, given that only one of my retweets was about Learning and Development, but it has made me stop and think about whether I am just adding to the noise, or am I bringing value?
That being said, I still stand by my decision to not comment (unless absolutely necessary for clarification) on #BLM retweets – I see my voice as adding no real value to those, but the messages still need to be shared.
Do you add value with comments on your retweets? Does it really matter? How do you filter through the noise?