Thursday, 1 April 2010

Please, make eLearning simple! The eLearningQueen does it…in a Survival Book

Sometimes you just want to read a fun book about your profession. Fun, exciting, a good overview is all I need at times. So what a great find I had, because the eLearningQueen (= who is a Dog, who has an human assistant: Susan Smith Nash) manages to do just that! Read this book (this is the link to the free version, which will only be here for a limited amount of time!), it gives a nice, light and fun overview on eLearning.

Even the (sub)title is fun: “Elearner survival guide: Everything you need to succeed in the wild and wooly world of mobile learning and e–learning, and hybrid college, K–12 and career courses.

Susan writes with wit and clarity, her blog is captivating and … I am jealous (in a good way) of her writing and learning skills. So, I will take what she wrote and how she wrote it with me, to contemplate on what I will do in the next couple of months.

What does Susan tackle in the 295 pages of her guide? She tackles all the topics in fluent and short paragraphs, and linking it harmoniously to relevant research.

  • She begins with what eLearning is, and covers some of the known terms (e.g. push<=> pull);
  • There are also hints on what study skills we will all need to succeed in eLearning (self regulation, checklists, practical steps, collage credits, free online software training,…and twelve very useful sanity-saving tips)
  • Chapters 3 and 4 cover writing skills, dividing it into technical writing and research writing tips.
  • Mobile learning and Web2.0 are covered in short, but very understandable paragraphs. In this section Susan also looks at practical adaptation in a k12 (teenage students) setting.
  • Getting personal with looking at profiles of eLearners and careers.
  • Now, and this part I truly LOVED immensely (because it linked me to some persons from my past, which… I did not take into account in the last couple of years). Susan managed to clarify to me that personal hero’s of whatever discipline can be linked to eLearning: picking up examples from the wonderful poet Maya Angelou , and the great political activist and anarchist Emma Goldman – need to read ‘Living my Life’ again, a.o.
  • The last chapter focuses on institutional challenges and eLearning, or what they mean to the eLearner, which is also very relevant if you are linked to an educational institution.

So, I am very grateful to Susan for this unexpected book treat, I will ponder on what she wrote, and how she wrote it for my seclusion week is coming up. This means I go home, buy everything to last me a week (at least), cut off my internet connection, log-off my phone, leave the door bell ringing, push all humans out of the house… and do whatever I want, when I wanted, completely disconnected… for one week. Time to meditate about where I am going, and looking whether my passion is indeed still fulfilled with the work I am doing, at the place I am doing it. I have radically changed my life a couple of times trying to synchronize my professional life with learning passions and up until now it has worked. Professional satisfaction is crucial for me, for it takes up most of my waking hours. But fine-tuning is still needed, so meditating is a good path and eye opener.