Such a dramatic title for my blog post but alas, there’s no storm. Christmas yes, but that’s not a storm…more like a tornado when we realise we haven’t done the Christmas shopping.What Have I Been Working On?
These last few weeks have been quite busy for me. As well as working on the development on an onboarding program which is proving to be a political hot potato, with so many competing interests, players and moving parts, I spent much of my time in the evenings preparing a workshop called Creating a Personal Learning Network Using Social Media for The Ark Group Australia which was personally more enjoyable.
I got a taste of what it was like working for myself without the politicking and power plays and let me say, I liked it.
Also, it was the first time I had run this as a 3 hour workshop as I usually run them as ‘lunch and learns‘ but I used it as an opportunity to road test my materials to a group of eight learning professionals who came from the public sector and who had never used Twitter before.
One of the anxieties I have with my work is that I fear telling people to “suck eggs”. I think to myself that they may already know what I know; they may find it unchallenging or boring. As a result, my workshop plan had enough detail to cover off on all levels of the group I may expect: from newbies to experts. Luckily no one had any experience of Twitter so it meant that we could relax a bit more, we could take our time and really play, explore and learn the tool.
Breakfasts, Breakfasts and More Breakfasts!
I also attended a few breakfast events which were held by vendors. They were:
- Kineo Presentation on the 2013 Learning Insights Report Presentation by @Steve Rayson
- 70-20-10 Presentation and a Demonstration & Presentation by CEO of Fusion International on the Fuse LMS Presentation by Pete Davis
- DDI Frontline Leadership Development Presentation by Michael Rafferty
I don’t mind going to these because it gives me an opportunity to network with others in my field primarily and see what the vendors are selling. To me, they are simply one of many ways of learning what’s ‘out there’. All the vendor presentations this month were particularly good and thought provoking.
But I like to keep an open mind.
I don’t just attend vendor events. I like to mix it up, attend conferences and events outside of my profession or industry so that I can have an appreciation of the wider factors at play as well as get some new, creative and different ideas. For example, I attend higher education and vocational sector conferences but I have also been known to sneak into other conferences occurring next door at the convention centres. After all, that Gamers & War Game Simulations Expo expo or the Annual International Conference on Forensic Science & Criminalistic Research happening in the other plenary rooms could be a tad more exciting than another LMS presentation I’m currently sitting through…
After all, if I didn’t let my curious nature play out, I would never have learned about Personal Learning Networks, Personal Learning Environments or MOOCs if it wasn’t for me being the only corporate person at an academic higher education conference. Two years later, I hear the MOOC finally been mentioned in the corporate environment and I have yet to hear any corporate even mention “PLN” or social learning (and really know what it means) yet.
Another developmental opportunity I was given was that I was invited to write an article for The eLearning Network 24 tips .Despite it being a busy time at work, I agreed simply so that I could learn to overcome these anxious feelings of pressure when being asked for something that hasn’t been my idea originally.
Let me explain.
It is similar to when people ask me to knit them something. I refuse. Even when they say that they will pay for my time and the yarn, I still refuse. Why? Because the moment money is exchanged, it’s a transaction – it’s business. At that same moment, the activity ceases to be enjoyable for me and it becomes a chore.
I have to learn to overcome this feeling.
It’s the same with my writing. The moment someone asks me for an article, I have to really push myself to be spontaneous, creative or provide something different because I feel my writing is contrived.
I’ve been mulling over what I will write about in this article and it was going to be something along the lines of ‘excitement in learning’ – that is, what are some tips that we (ourselves as learning professionals) can get some excitement back into our own professional development. I had been reflecting on the positive and excited feelings of contributing and participating in the Explorer Personal Learning Networks cMOOC recently and how different it was to the feelings I experience whenever training is forced upon us such as mandatory online compliance training.
So what do I go and do?
The complete opposite to bring up all the negative responses of what learning is not.
So I’m using this as a development opportunity to force myself to write something that is not of my own doing – that is upon request. I must learn to overcome this feeling and provide an article which I’m happy with but still has my own unique voice and style to it otherwise it’s going to be quite a lonely (and poor) existence come the day I start to freelance.
Great Work MBA
This month I also completed was the Great Work MBA by Michael Bungay Stanier @boxofcrayons (an exhuberant Aussie who wears loud shirts, uses colour and has a boomerang hanging up on his office wall – winner!).
There was a series of 25 video interviews over a period of 5 days and I was madly watching these at all hours of the night much to my husband’s annoyance. I was so impressed with the content that I bought the entire series. I not only watched the interviews for what these people were saying but I was also picking up cues from Michael on how to conduct lively, engaging interviews with people. I had all sorts of things running through my head:
- Wonder what software he used?
- Did he do practice runs with these people before hand?
- How did he get two pictures into the one frame?
- Did he have his questions pre-prepared?
- Did they know that he was going to ask them?
- Was he running these in real time? Isn’t he getting tired?
- How did he put all this together?
- Did he have to spend a lot of time editing?
- How do I get myself one of those big massive clocks?
- Should I watch the background for the moving flower vase or boomerang?
- His place looks nice.
So not only was I thinking about the content and what great work I could do, I was also looking at his podcasts to see how we could apply the same principles and banish the boring head shots of managers droning on about financial figures and sales targets.
I think the loud shirts, the colour and the banter really helped put a fun element to the whole program…but it also made me think about my life.
I downloaded The Great Work maps from his website and continued to work on them one map every couple of nights – even discussing them with my husband and family. They’ve been a real eye opener for me at a point in my life where I’m considering whether I stay within an organisation or go my own way to freelance fully.
Coupled with reading some great books recently such as Mitch Joel’s “CNTRL ALT DEL Reboot Your Business; Reboot Your Life”, David Price, “Open: How We’ll Live, Work and Learn In the Future” and Lynda Grattan, “The Future of Work is Already Here”, I’m beginning to think that my days within an organisation are numbered as I feel I can influence more being on the outside than in.
Let’s see what pans out.
So after all that, it might just actually end up being a storm.