The end of a year is always a time for reflection, but not necessarily solitary reflection. Instead, i put the question out on the learning forum, ‘How do you reflect on your learning?’ I’m interested in the use of narratives in learning, the ways in which we draw meaning out of our experience and the ways that we share that narrative. For me, the blog is a reflective space: a place to introduce new ideas and, in a reflective context, to make judgements as to which ones are any good! I do this both by seeing how much those ideas are ‘picked up’ by the community and by simply seeing how many hits any particular subject gets.
I’m lucky in that i have no agenda to achieve huge traffic: whilst i know that articles mentioning mobile learning, gamification or social learning will generate higher hits, i’m still happy to write about tone of voice, maps in learning or coffee in Amsterdam, because it reflects my broad interests. I am happy if people engage with it, but it’s also largely a self development activity, so i’m happy if sometimes they don’t.
Don’t get me wrong of course, it’s great fun when, sometimes, people pick up on ideas and you end up in a lively debate and discussion. It feels like you’ve got something ‘right’.
So for me, the blog is my primary space for reflection, but i’m in a minority. Whilst one other person agreed with me, that a blog or diary is a great space, three others felt that personal reflection was their preferred method for reflection. I guess that this is the more traditional approach and certainly something i can relate to, just that for me this tends to be crystallised in my writing.
Interestingly, i use different social spaces for different types of reflection: i actually use a ‘real’ paper book to record my ‘gig memories’, notes and thoughts about the live music i see (it’s a big part of my life). I don’t tend to share this, it’s a personal space. Then i use different online spaces for other types of reflection: a work Yammer Community, the LinkedIn research forum (as well as a couple of other LinkedIn forums around different subjects) and, of course, this blog space.
One person in the Forum does their reflection by giving themselves challenges: i can see how this would work, to keep reaching forward, to keep striving. I guess we all adopt all of these approaches to a certain extent, but it’s interesting to ask what we feel our primary reflective approach is.
But what is the point of reflection, what’s the point of creating a narrative?
Well, for me, it’s because it’s an iterative process: at the end of the year i like to see what i’ve achieved, to plan what i want to achieve next year, but largely to celebrate the community. I love the collaboration and co-operation that exists in social learning spaces. The sense that everyone brings a different angle, everyone contributes to the narrative. Together, we learn better.
Next year will be exciting. January brings the 500th post on the Learning Blog and, with it, the LEARNING:500 event in London to bring parts of the virtual community together. I hope to develop this into a full community learning conference in 2014. Whilst reflecting on what i’ve achieved this year, both through the blog, articles and the books, i’m planning which subjects are on the calendar for next: gamification is a clear contender, as well as the publication of ‘music in learning’, which i should finish writing over Christmas.
What have you learnt this year? What will you strive to do next year?
Thanks for being part of this community and Happy Christmas!