The intersection between work and learning

April 30, 2009

I enjoyed reading George Siemens “teaching as transparent learning“. I think  it touches on the ‘work at learning, learning at work’ carnival theme Dave Ferguson initially started  and that Dave Wilkins, hosting the carnival this month, expanded on describing it as ‘the intersection between work and learning.

George writes about his experience as a transparent learner – ‘expressing half-formed ideas’ and receiving feedback. He says:

Putting ideas out for discussion contrasts with formal “reach a conclusion and publish” model.

I wish I would’ve read that  before I responded (and apologized) for my prior rant (directed at Saul Carliner) in response to an article he wrote for eLearn Magazine. Shame on me. I hate the regret that follows a rant. (Don’t read it though because it lacks punctuation due to a copy/paste malfunction and reads like one giant incoherent run-on sentence. And that makes me want to climb a mountain and scream because I can’t fix it.) And… just so you know, the reason I copy/paste a long response on that particular magazine is that their comment box is teeny tiny and I can’t see what I’m writing. Lesson learned, I won’t be writing anything long over there which is good news for anyone reading their great articles. End of digression.

Anyway, the crux of my position is that blogging for work and blogging for personal learning do intersect and that means you should expect half-formed ideas. See, the eLearn article Mr. Sarliner wrote took issue with the erroneous, unverified information found on blogs. You will find opinion and unverified information on this blog. And I won’t start all posts with a ‘this is opinion’ or ‘this is fact’ statement. It’s all my opinion. My interpretation. My reflecting. I would expect you to filter and form your own opinions (and hopefully mine) on the information read. If I didn’t let learning and work overlap here, you’d see either marketing copy and quotes from others with no reflection or the equivalent of peer-reviewed journal articles (which have their own place in academic journals).

Back to teaching as transparent learning…George gives an example of how his thinking has evolved by pointing to abandoned views. I think that very idea keeps some people from expressing opinions and ideas. I suspect some lurkers don’t make the jump to commenting or publishing because they don’t want to put ideas or opinions ‘out there’ that may be half-formed. George names some transparent learners – and I’m humbled that he named me – as examples of how watching others learn is an act of learning.

I’ve certainly learn from watching others learn. What I’m actually studying now is something like that…I’ll be studying how people ‘learn to be’ kind of within what John Seely Brown call distributed learning milieus (specifically around microlearning/microcontent). Talk about half- baked. Here’s the quote from Brown that I like:

Learning occurs in part through a form of reflective practicum, but in this case the reflection comes from being embedded in a social milieu supported by both a physical and virtual presence,  and by both the amateur and the professional practitioner.

I’m interested in thinking deeper about what George wrote on the notion of lurking and  communities of practice research specifically as it relates to Lave & Wenger’s theory of legitimate peripheral participation. Thanks for that George. Always great to learn from you : )

I’ll close this out something else George said,

My work on blogs, articles, handbooks, and so on is an invitation to engage in conversation, not a proclamation of what I absolutely know.

I think I’ll borrow that and put it on my about page. It can be my disclaimer.

  • Pingback: Working / Learning April Blog Carnival « Social Enterprise Blog()

  • http://www.thesmartworkcompany.com/ Anne Marie McEwan

    Janet

    “I hate the regret that follows a rant.” Oh, me too. As a flame-haired and sometimes ranting Celt, that hit home with me.

    Funny enough I was recently thinking about half-formed ideas. I was wondering why the blogs I read are so eloquent and thoroughly thought through. Like all of us, I think at speed in conversations and make rapid mental connections. Yet when I think reflectively and try to put my thoughts into writing, well talk about slow and half-baked. And inconsistent.

    Thank you for a reassuring and thought-provoking post.

  • http://www.thesmartworkcompany.com Anne Marie McEwan

    Janet

    “I hate the regret that follows a rant.” Oh, me too. As a flame-haired and sometimes ranting Celt, that hit home with me.

    Funny enough I was recently thinking about half-formed ideas. I was wondering why the blogs I read are so eloquent and thoroughly thought through. Like all of us, I think at speed in conversations and make rapid mental connections. Yet when I think reflectively and try to put my thoughts into writing, well talk about slow and half-baked. And inconsistent.

    Thank you for a reassuring and thought-provoking post.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Thanks Anne Marie. Actually your regret makes my regret feel better : )

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Thanks Anne Marie. Actually your regret makes my regret feel better : )

  • http://socialmediatools.ca/blog Brent MacKinnon

    Ah, thank goodness for these thoughtful insights and observations. My eyes are a bit more open after reading your delightful post Janet. The “gotta be perfect” conditioning I’ve been through had another chink removed. I’m going to take more liberties with my half baked ideas and give them more life!

    Thanks for picking up on this timely (for me) theme.

    Brent MacKinnons last blog post..Fostering A York Region Learning Community

  • http://socialmediatools.ca/blog Brent MacKinnon

    Ah, thank goodness for these thoughtful insights and observations. My eyes are a bit more open after reading your delightful post Janet. The “gotta be perfect” conditioning I’ve been through had another chink removed. I’m going to take more liberties with my half baked ideas and give them more life!

    Thanks for picking up on this timely (for me) theme.

    Brent MacKinnons last blog post..Fostering A York Region Learning Community

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    I will be psyched to read your half-baked ideas : )
    Seriously, so many inventions over time were a result of prior attempts/mistakes/experiments/accidents. That’s one reason for throwing ideas out there. Another, I think, is just talking about your ideas with others. I can’t believe how often I’ve seen…”but what about…”, “I agree and….” and what followed those statements were insights that shaped my ideas.

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    I will be psyched to read your half-baked ideas : )
    Seriously, so many inventions over time were a result of prior attempts/mistakes/experiments/accidents. That’s one reason for throwing ideas out there. Another, I think, is just talking about your ideas with others. I can’t believe how often I’ve seen…”but what about…”, “I agree and….” and what followed those statements were insights that shaped my ideas.

  • http://www.creativityatwork.com/blog Linda Naiman

    Hi Janet,

    Enjoyed this post. I love intersections. So much happens there, and the intersection between work and learning sparked a question… What is the nucleus of learning, and how can it be cultivated?

    I’m currently intersecting work and learning by experimenting with Twitter–posting thought provoking questions — which means I have to come up with them first.

    On another note, thanks for linking my website on your blog.

    Linda Naimans last blog post..I finally caved and joined Twitter

  • http://www.creativityatwork.com/blog Linda Naiman

    Hi Janet,

    Enjoyed this post. I love intersections. So much happens there, and the intersection between work and learning sparked a question… What is the nucleus of learning, and how can it be cultivated?

    I’m currently intersecting work and learning by experimenting with Twitter–posting thought provoking questions — which means I have to come up with them first.

    On another note, thanks for linking my website on your blog.

    Linda Naimans last blog post..I finally caved and joined Twitter

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