Yesterday i wrote about popup learning, the way that small communities spring up, founding themselves on whatever technology is available at the time. These communities may be unplanned, spontaneous, focused around a particular subject or need, and may be transient. At the heart of the discussion was the observation that it’s not the infrastructure that drives the emergence of these learning communities, it simply facilitates it. We have to understand that behaviours that drive the engagement if we want to foster the learning culture and support these nascent groups.
Well, in the truest traditions of predictive literature, i spent most of the day engaging in a range of popup communities that launched off the back of this post. It turned out to be a fairly magnetic idea.
In my day to day work, i am often in touch with the same group of people: my static community. These are the people i rely on to do my job. They support me, challenge me and make me able to achieve more than i could do alone. I hope i do the same for them. It’s important to have this continuity, this core, established network. The popup learning communities are different, they are more like conversations, and they feel quite dynamic. It’s always exciting when you get into a new conversation, and the density of them yesterday felt more like the discussion you get in a good seminar session at a conference or the best coffee table debate. So thank you to everyone who made my day so interesting.
The blog, for me, is part of my own narrative learning experience, taking what i learn, taking the conversations i have and narrating them into my own learning story. Certainly the wider debate and sharing of ideas that i had yesterday is an important part of that.
I am lucky in my day to day work to meet and engage with some great people. The fact that social learning technology enables me to expand that group, to ‘meet’ people from around the world and share ideas is truly liberating. Some of those debates kicked off on Yammer, some in LinkedIn, some by email, many through Twitter. A range of technologies facilitating a range of debates. The technology didn’t cause the debate, but it fertilised it, it enabled it to grow and spread.
The world of learning is changing: we are moving away from discrete, somewhat abstract, pure formal experiences (classroom or e-learning) towards a world where the learning is more spread out, more embedded and both facilitated and enhanced by technology. Learning design is more important than ever, as is the ability to be agile, to pick up technologies and methodologies that suit your needs and style but also to flex and abandon them at will.
It’s almost the mindset that counts more than anything: your social capital, your ability to connect and make connections. It’s an exciting time to be part of this community.