Monday, 22 February 2016

Video reflection on my #CoP lifelong learning experiences #discuss

Chahira Nouirra, aka CosmoCat, asked me to share some reflections on my own Community of Practitioners (CoP) experiences, specifically in relation to my own lifelong learning, so these ideas could be added to the EU Discuss platform. I took her up on that, as I recently had a new (new to me) insight on this. The video is shared below. Warning, it is a really low-tech video, as I am in a bit of a state (strained my back, which resulted in having to take medication to dim the pain, so my brain is a bit numb, but ... I had to jump to help out my friend Chahira - I hope the video is in some way helpful Chahira).

My ideas on CoP are the following (abbreviating them here for ease of reading):

My experience with CoP:
in my previous job I needed to connect to other eLearning, social media and mobile learning experts around the world, simply because I was the first one with eLearning expertise in the organisation. This meant I needed to connect with more knowledgeable people, and build my own network of experts.
CoP provide new ideas, tools, processes, frameworks, evaluations...and of course meaningful discussions.
Shifts in professional areas, means shifts in CoP.
You keep those with most impact (not necessarily consciously), and most affinity, and add to those the experts with new knowledge.
As my own expertise changes, so does the body of knowledge and expertise that is out there (just look at the boom of mobile apps, where I used to be on top of it somewhat being part of those building the first iphone Moodle app, only 6 years ago). The same with exploring mobile options in MOOCs, while by now all major platforms are mobile oriented.

What do I feel as the most relevant effect a CoP for lifelong learning should offer?

  • Knowledge, just like softwares, should be accepted as being in perpetual beta, it changes all the time, in the opportunities that are created, as well as priorities it shapes. 
  • New, relevant knowledge that I feel I am missing at this point. 
  • Answers to new challenges (e.g. I would have the mobile and eLearning expertise, but looking for new MOOC expertise, by now looking for new tech expertise fitting in with MOOC, social learning, mobile learning knowledge).
  • Dialogues that result in mutual strengthening (inevitably varies based on prior knowledge and new insights).
  • But to me the philosophical stance on openness, sharing, and what education/learning should look like also makes me choose who I connect with most frequently, and how I value the input from those people/experts.
  • Organically reshaping my network is important to keep it fresh and useful. Connecting to people I like, keeps me in touch and willing to return to my CoP. 
  • The old, the new...Sometimes I reach for those who I feel closely related to, sometimes I reconnect to those I lost contact with to get refreshed on their current professional/personal interest, and sometimes I reach out to new people based on their interests or the 'feeling' they send out. 
Some of my lessons learned: always realize that there are new topics and experiences to learn from, and add to my existing expertise/knowledge. I am at best a part of the sum, as such my additions to that body of knowledge should be as authentic as possible, to make my life's experience rich and true. Always connect to people that are authentic, and that I feel I like. I am first and far-most a human being, as such I need to feel a connection with the people I connect to in order to learn.