Wrapup: How people use blogging to learn

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in blogging, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

I promised to write a summary of the responses I received to this post on blogging as reflective practice, so here it is (better late than never!).

Not only did I write about blogging as a mechanism for learning on this blog, I wrote about it on EMC’s internal social media site (EMC|ONE) as well. Here is a summary of the responses from both places:

  • Blogging is used to interact with communities of special interests if none exist in your current network. Sometimes people were pleasantly surprised that blogging introduced them to peers they didn’t even know about until these people commented on their blog posts.
  • Some people seemed to appreciate the benefits of the reflection they had to do to write a post more than the amount of comments a post received.
  • Blogging helps show how online networks evolve and react to information.
  • Blogging helps open up new ways to think about a topic.
  • Blogging is much more than a “training tool”, it is a “career tool”. I think this is important – I framed the question in a strict instructional technology sense. But I was quickly called on that, and reminded that blogging really is a career tool – it’s probably one of those “knowledge worker skills” that people working with information should really become proficient.
  • Many people (including myself) can’t blog about their day-to-day activities, but blogging has helped them learn more about the industry in which they work.
  • Blogging helps open up new avenues for development. By reflecting and writing on different topics, as well as expanding your professional network, new ways to use your current skills start opening up.
  • A couple of people reminded me of how things used to be done. People used to take the time to write journals, letters, and other written forms of correspondence. Sitting down to physically write these documents required people to slow down and really think about the ideas they were trying to convey in written format. Maybe blogs are a throw-back to those times.

So, I think we can definitely say that blogging can be used to learn. Blogging makes people slow down, think about their topics, and reflect on what they know (or what they think they know). Blogging helps to expand a personal or professional network.

I would think blogging can also be used as an instructional technology for an individual educational event such as a class, or even better a boot camp.

For myself, I’ll continue to blog for all of the reasons listed above. I’m learning so much about our industry, and also learning so much about education. My network has really expanded, I am bummed the economy is tanked because I can’t see me being able to travel to a conference to meet any of them in person. We’ll just have to keep building ties until things look up, or a conference rolls into Boston. 🙂

6 Responses to Wrapup: How people use blogging to learn

  1. Ken Allan says:

    Tēnā koe Gina

    Thank you for this post. I agree with much of what you list here. Blogging is a wondeful tool that can assist learning.

    I’m interested in what you said about, “blogging makes people slow down, think about their topics, and reflect”.

    I agree in part with this, for slowing down, thinking about things – which indeed is what reflecting is all about – can permit learning to happen. Blogging definitely enables all of those things you mention here, and of course, some people are more effective at getting blogging to work for them than others.

    But if a person chooses to write posts on a blog and responds to those who comment on the blog, reads posts on other people’s blogs and comments on these, and truly thinks about all of what they are doing while they are doing all these things, then learning will almost certainly take place.

    What I’m not so sure about is that blogging makes this happen. My strong feeling is that it is the blogger who makes this happen. That brings a different aspect to what blogging is about.

    In much the same as a learner will only learn if there is a learning desire to begin with, I feel that the adage about the horse and the water has a lot of truth in it. It applies as much to blogging as it does to drinking water.

    I like blogging, because it permits me to slow down and think about what I’m doing. The result is that I reflect on things in a way that makes learning effective for me. But I choose to do that.

    Among my colleagues, friends and relations are many who will not blog. And that group is in the vast majority, despite the knowledge they have about blogging being in existence and that it’s free.

    Best wishes in the coming New Year
    from Middle-earth

  2. gminks says:

    Ken, wouldn’t you agree that blogging is mechanism that allows a person actually do the reflecting and therefore the learning?

    It’s almost like having an assignment to reflect and write when you are serious about blogging. You want your blog to remain current, so you have to post regularly. I actually know some people who have a goal of writing a post once a week.

    I know lots of people who don’t blog too, and I think they are really missing out on a great way to expand their own knowledge. Maybe they understand the effort it takes to reflect and write, and they don’t think that payoff for that effort will be worth it.

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  5. mollybob says:

    I was one of the people that responded to your original question, and now find myself in a class where we are blogging for reflection. Your post rings more true than ever – thanks for putting it up.

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