Tuesday, October 12, 2010

If You're Learning by Blogging You Must be BLEARNING!

This week is about blogging.  Why? I just think its time to take a look at blogging again since I, and others from what I hear, seem to be neglecting blogs, feed readers, etc, in favor of microblogging.  I'm actually writing this blog post from Amplify.com which is an interesting hybrid tool.  As @simbeckhampson puts it, "it sits nicely in the middle of all the other social media tools".

I'm hoping to crank out at least 2 or 3 blog posts before Friday because I'll be headed to the Blogworld & New Media Expo in Vegas.  And yes, it does feel a bit insane to be doing a road trip so close to DevLearn in San Francisco the first week of November, but I feel the need to check it out.

Let's start with the basics:  What is blogging?

Definition from wikipedia - "A blog (a blend of the term web log)[1] is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog."

eLearnDevCast from 2007 - This podcast episode that I did is one of the first times I mentioned blearning.

Why do learning professionals care?

I can say from personal experience, since 2005 and the start of this blog, I've learned more than in all of my formalized education.  I know many people think blogging is just a one-way street, and a pulpit from which to preach and pontificate about whatever topic one might be interested in.  But the truth is, if you're doing it right, you're reading MORE than you are writing.  Consuming content is the biggest part of blogging.  Surely one could use a blogging tool to simply push out content and many do.  But that's not blogging.  That's a very narrow view of a rather simple web technology.  After all, blogging as I see it, is more about a process than it is about any tool or technology.

The process of self-motivated learning is what blogging is all about.  Its the magic of personal publishing that powers my blearning.  I consume the content of others and then act upon that content.  It's my acting upon the content I consume that is so powerful.  I can simply post a short comment and be a peripheral part of their conversation, or I can use their post as the inspiration for my own.  In either case, we've made a connection with each other.  And that connection in and of itself is even more powerful and longer lasting than the content of a simple blog post that brought us together. Blearning is about self-motivated learners connecting and collaborating with others around a shared topic or theme.  The technology simply facilitates the actions required.

So, do I really need to go on about how powerful this is for learning?  I hope not, but I'm happy too if necessary.

Should Blearning be part of your Corporate eLearning Strategy?

I think the easiest response to that question is YES!  But not in the way that you might think.  Do NOT make it mandatory.  Do NOT tie any artificial prizes or rewards to it.  The key is in setting up the system and encouraging employees to experiment.  Find your organizations early adopters and highlight their work.  Give them the opportunity to mentor/train others.  There certainly is a lot to consider, but by all means you should consider it.

Coming up...

I love talking about RSS.  I do think RSS is the most undervalued, underappreciated technology of the last decade.  But I'll save that for my next post.

If you are headed to Blogworld this weekend let me know.  And if you are headed to DevLearn in November let me know that too.
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