Take charge of your learning (a talk by Stephen Downes)
Stephen Downes is full of good ideas. i’ve followed his thoughts for many years now.
A Canadian education researcher, Stephen is an incredibly articulate and rigorous thinker who is definitely worth listening to, and i believe he listens to others really well too. In his first Huffington Post article, he gives an overview of the PLENK massive online course, and his perspective on connected and networked learning. (PLENK = Personal Learning Environments, Networks and Knowledge.)
“That is not to advocate throwing learners off the bus to fend for themselves. It is hard to be self-reliant, to take charge of one’s own learning, and people shouldn’t have to do it alone.”
Through the article, i found the video below in which Stephen emphasizes the importance of sharing and interaction. Our connected world is about contributing as well as listening. To join your Personal Learning Network (PLN), you need to put your opinions out there, in your genuine voice. It is a challenge. (How often do i blog? Not very often. Stephen puts out 5-7 small posts every day in his OLDaily.)
This talk focuses on 3 principles:
- Interaction: it’s important to connect with other people, and move away from the “broadcast model”. Play a part in the network. Blogging is all about the connections between people, the discussion of ideas.
- Usability is about consistency and simplicity: “summarise everything you come across”. This is really good advice – it was only when i discovered the art of summarising articles that i became capable of literature research. He recommends guerilla tactics in the face of an institutional content management system (CMS), and offers some good suggestions.
- Relevance: “filter ruthlessly” – students should have access to the relevant information. You can pick and choose “your own information priorities”. Choose your own times to connect, exercise your freedom to turn the internet on or off as you need. This also requires guerilla tactics such as RSS feeds or backchannels that might not be a part of the official channel.
This talk goes back to 2007, but it’s a really good one. Stephen sums up with this message:
- Put yourself at the centre of your Personal Learning Network (PLN). Make connections with people in your field.
- This is about self-directed learning – take charge.
- If you’re teaching, think about how to enable your learners to develop their own learning networks.
- Sue Waters has some good resources around the notion of developing a Personal Learning Network (PLN).
- Stephen Downes home base
- A local version of the 23 Things approach to web2 technologies.