I think I found my new cMOOC hit.
After Educational Technology MOOC #etmooc, I searched high and low for a connectivist MOOC that could give me the same ‘highs’ as I had experienced with this one. I was looking for a MOOC where I could apply what I learned to my work immediately, but also one where I looked forward to checking in the Google + community to see what everyone else is talking about and doing – and make a new friend or three.
The MOOC is called Exploring Personal Learning Networks and it was created by the team @JeffMerrell and @KGS_Scott Kimberly Scott who are also part of Masters Program Learning & Organisational Change at North Western University.
When I first saw the cMOOC advertised in Jeff’s tweet, I immediately registered in the Google+ Community as this was a topic of great interest for me in particularly, how organisations could encourage their staff to broaden their own enterprise learning networks or external learning networks for their own professional and personal development.
I saw an opportunity for me to bring the concept to life within our own organisation using the social networking tools we have available. I saw it part of our future strategy for Learning and Development professionals to have their own networks and then to promote, encourage and support others within the organisation to find their own in their line of work.
I don’t have the answer for how I can do this practically, but my instincts tell me that if I’ve had such a wonderful experience connecting, networking and learning from my own global network through social media – and with some of them, actually collaborating on projects – then Personal and Enterprise Learning Networks have merit and worthy to explore further.
Maybe it’s an untapped area of opportunity for organisations?
I just need to be able to define the benefit and value in hard tangible financial terms to my senior managers who may see this as just an excuse to socialise online. But lucky for me, one of the tasks we have to do is to come up with a pitch to sell the concept of PLNs to our organisation.
In the first week, we were encouraged to do two things:
- Set goals that we wanted to achieve with our PLN
- Try something new
What are my goals?
A survey was uploaded onto the Google community and we were encouraged to submit our goals into this survey which collated the data. The results are quite interesting – and you can see it here.
What really piqued my curiosity is that in the question “Which competencies are you focussed on developing” many of the responses were on confronting direct reports and conflict management. My instant reaction was huh?
Lucky this result was balanced out by personal learning and innovation management as I was beginning to think that everyone was going to have the same issue I was having – namely, how do we explain and demonstrate the value of PLNs to our managers and stakeholders without being ready for some robust debate, discussion and maybe an argument?
My goals were mainly related to the following:
- Continue to broaden and increase my personal learning network
- Develop professionally and personally
- Establish a freelance consulting business in the long term
A short term goal that had been brewing in my mind recently and which I wrote a recent blog post titled, Third Place in Company and Conversation: A Place Where My PLN Gathers was to establish a Meet Up group of Melbourne based Learning and Development professionals in all industries who are on Twitter or social media. I established Third Place and we will have our first after-work social introductory drinks next Thursday night at the Royal Melbourne Hotel (if anyone is interested in coming along – see the website to join and and get details!)
I’m excited with Third Place because not only will I meet my extended Melbourne based PLN in person, but I will also create ‘assets’ or responses to weekly activities for the Exploring Personal Learning Networks MOOC using these people too (if they want to get involved).
Although it’s still an idea mulling around in my head, I’m thinking about creating a video montage of real people talking about how a PLN helped them in their role to state the case for PLN and advocate their role in an organisation.
Real people, real stories…that’s the pitch.
Try Something New
@AlisonSeaman tweeted a question asking if anyone had used the application Shadow Puppet.
Naturally, as a sucker for a new app, I downloaded it and played with it and immediately saw that I could have so many uses for it. It’s a simple app that you record your voice to your photos and create an instant slideshow that you can share across Facebook, Twitter or email.
I loved it so much that I decided that I created an introduction for the PLN and here it is…
The feedback for this was quite positive and I think it inspired others to download the app and try it out for themselves.
(Just between you and me, I have used this app to create a slideshow for an internal job I’m applying for. I’ll have more details in this blog soon but I put the finishing touches to it this morning).
Finally, I knew that this MOOC was the right one for me with regards to the buzz and excitement around a group of people who were meeting again in other parts of the internet in other chats….
Looking forward to Week 2!