Peer review of my proposal

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This blog post provides a summary of the peer review activity undertaken throughout the development of my Design-Based Research (DBR) Proposal: Implementing Networked and Global Learning tools and principles to transform organisational learning. The peer review process was intended as a way to improve my practice as a student of the EDU8117 Networked and Global Learning (NGL) course and in my role as a professional educator in an Australian Government organisation. In conducting my process of review, I drew on the design-based research theory proposed by Herrington, McKenney, Reeves and Oliver (2007).

Herrington et al (2007) encourage individuals to seek feedback from peers throughout the development of a research project, as a means to identify and address theoretical problems, guide and test proposals and improve the overall standard of academic work.

The process of generating peer review
My process of generating peer review involved developing a draft proposal, and providing access to this using Google Docs. I provided a link to the document on my blog, which was created as part of the NLG course, and invited peers from the course to edit and add comments to my draft proposal – a feature which is available with Google Docs.

My draft proposal was around 50% complete when shared on my blog and feedback was sought five days before the due date of the final assignment. I sought feedback at this stage deliberately, in order to identify any significant problems or gaps in my writing, as early as possible, so that they could be adequately addressed in the final draft of the document (Herrington et al, 2007).

I also selected my course blog, as the most appropriate medium to gather feedback, as it was easily accessible by other members of the NGL course – all higher education students and education professionals – who could provide informed comment on my work (Herrington et al, 2007).

Response to peer review
The feedback I received from my peers related to both the theoretical and technical aspects of my proposal and can be viewed as comments on my blog post or via Google Docs here. Comments relating to the technical side of my writing included suggestions on how to improve my referencing and sentence and essay structure, in line with the university academic guidelines and the assignment criteria.

Other feedback identified gaps in my thinking and encouraged greater exploration of the tools and principles of networked and global learning in my proposal. Another suggestion was to consider further the context of my organisation and the demographics of the students, in order to better inform an intervention of an appropriate learning activity.

The feedback received was considered at length and appropriate changes were made to my proposal to create a more well-rounded and polished finished product. The completed assignment is now available on my blog.

Future considerations for peer review
My future proposals could benefit from a greater level of peer review, especially at different stages of the proposal development from the initial outline to final draft, to improve the depth of discussion and quality of the work. Feedback or further consultation and collaboration from a broader range of professionals in the field of education, or experts in NGL or organisational learning, could also add further value to any design-based research proposals developed in the future.

References

Herrington, J., McKenney, S., Reeves, T.C., & Oliver, R. (2007). Design-based research and doctoral students: Guidelines for preparing a dissertation proposal. Ed Media. Retrieved November 8, 2014 from http://ro.ecu.edu.au/ecuworks/1612/

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My DBR proposal

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Implementing Networked and Global Learning tools and principles to transform organisational learning

*Note: The education organisation analysed in this essay, is referred to as ‘The Agency’ both throughout the body of the text and in the reference list. The institution name has been changed to align with confidentiality requirements and to protect the reputation of the institution.

Context and Problem

The concept of networked learning and the establishment of global online networks have evolved over the last few years with the rise of digital technologies and more recently, the increased social capacity of Web 2.0 (Goodyear, 2014). This rise of new technologies, offering improved ways of accessing, collecting, storing, communicating and creating knowledge has profoundly affected the tradition of learning and teaching, and has given rise to new possibilities and opportunities to transform the way we learn (Bell, 2010; Goodyear, 2014; Puentedura, 2014). The relevancy of the traditional classroom structure, where the teacher is the expert and where learning is isolated to resources available at hand, has changed (Bell, 2010). As such, educators, in a range of learning environments, have begun to delve into ways to harness the tools and principles of networked and global learning (NGL) to enhance outcomes for their students in a way that was previously not possible (Bell, 2010; Goodyear, 2014; Puentedura, 2014).

This essay will explore the use of NGL in an organisational setting, and how it can be applied by corporate learning managers (the teachers) to transform learning for their staff (the students). The organisation that will be focused on is a Government Agency whose chief aim is to effectively and efficiently deliver services in the best interest of the Australian people (The Agency, 2014a). Like many contemporary organisations and businesses in the current political and challenging fiscal environment,*The Agency, is under continuous pressure to innovate and find efficiencies by ‘doing more with less’ (Atkins & Cole, 2010; Gilchrist, 2014). In response to these pressures, The Agency to be considered in this essay, has turned its attention towards developing new and improved work practices and processes for staff (The Agency, 2014b). The role of the teacher (The Agency learning team) in this instance is to determine the best ways to help the organisation’s staff to learn and implement these improved practices. In doing so, the learning team is also expected to deliver innovative training and utilise new technologies to achieve the organisational learning aims, while also operating within strict online security policies and limited budgets (The Agency, 2014c). These security and financial challenges are combined with an underlying resistance to change among staff (Personal Communication, May 2014).

This essay will focus specifically on the training of a particular Division within The Agency containing 300 staff members that are geographically dispersed – the staff work in six different Australian capital cities. The staff are from a range of age groups and while some staff are comfortable and familiar with interacting online in their personal lives, the majority of staff have limited experience with networked technologies in the workplace (Personal Communication, May 2014). It is expected that any new learning online activities implemented by teachers, will cater to the different ages and levels of experience among the 300 staff in the Division (The Agency, 2014a).

This essay will look specifically at how NGL tools and principles can be applied in this particular agency to support staff to effectively learn and transition to the new practices. The key NGL tool that will be considered for implementation in The Agency is the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system, Microsoft SharePoint, and this essay will also explore the challenges to be addressed, as well as available learning theories, to support successful implementation of this platform.

Literature Review – SharePoint and Networked Learning Theories

SharePoint for Organisational Learning
In recent years, research has emerged about the implementation of networked learning into educational contexts – primarily in higher education learning environments; although there has also been some literature considering NGL tools in corporate organisations and businesses (Downes, 2011; Dyrud, 2012; McConnell; 2005). This research has focused chiefly on the use of online tools and strategies such as Massive, Open, Online Courses (MOOCs), social media platforms and, in particular, the Microsoft SharePoint platform (Bragg, 2014; Downes, 2011; Dyrud, 2012; Ennis & Timms, 2014; Harbridge, 2013). With a lack of research available that looks specifically at networked learning opportunities in Government agencies, this essay will largely draw on the literature around NGL in the corporate environment, and in particular the literature on SharePoint. While there are a number of online tools that could be considered for implementation in The Agency – such as Blogs, MOOCs and social media – SharePoint has been selected as the focus for this essay, due to the financial and security benefits it offers and its capacity to support NGL, as will be discussed further in this essay (Bragg, 2014; Downes, 2011; Dyrud, 2012; Ennis & Timms, 2014; Harbridge, 2013).

The Microsoft SharePoint tool has emerged as one of the most popular enterprise content management (ECM) systems in business and organisations in recent years (Cameron, 2013). The tool consists of a range of different interactive features, designed to support online communication and collaboration among organisational staff, however, it is often not implemented effectively, or used to its full potential, especially in relation to supporting organisational learning (Murphy, 2012; Carr, 2011). A SharePoint, in its basic form, is a webpage portal, hosted on a staff internal internet or network site, which contains links to document libraries, discussion forums, blogs, wikis, resource lists, contact lists and image libraries (Brandel, 2010; Harbridge, 2013). The software is designed so that a teacher or learning manager, can set up their own online community site which they can easily customise to contain features that are needed for the learning activity at hand (Brandel, 2010). The teacher can also decide whether the site will be accessible to the whole organisation, or only a certain group or community within the organisation (Brandel, 2010). The students are able to access, upload and edit documents, work collaboratively and contribute to group discussions through this SharePoint site (Brandel, 2010).

Recent literature also discusses a range of logistical benefits to using SharePoint for organisational learning, including security and cost. The SharePoint software is intended to be hosted on the organisation’s secure internal network connection, where site security and technical issues are managed by the organisation’s existing Security and IT support teams (Brandel, 2010; Diffin, Chirombo, & Nangle, 2010; The Agency, 2014c). This means that the privacy of any information placed on the SharePoint site can be managed by the organisation itself, unlike external collaboration platforms, such as Blogs and online forums, which are owned by external parties (The Agency, 2014c). For this reason, the use of SharePoint is desirable for organisations, such as The Agency, where online security is paramount and where access to other, less secure online learning tools, is limited (The Agency, 2014c).

The Agency can also easily access the SharePoint software as it is included in the basic IT start-up package many organisation’s commonly purchase (Diffin, Chirombo, Nangle & Jong, 2010). This means that there is no additional cost to The Agency to set up multiple SharePoint sites for learning activities as they arise. This aspect of the platform, can help ensure any new networked learning activities at The Agency will be cost effective, to align with The Agency’s strategic business objectives (The Agency, 2014a; Diffin, Chirombo, Nangle & Jong, 2010; Ennis & Tims, 2010).

Other benefits of SharePoint, as discussed in the literature, relate to its capacity to support networked learning (Atkins & Cole, 2010; Diffin, Chirombo, Nangle & Jong, 2010; Moore, 2013). One of these benefits is that SharePoint can enable collaboration (Atkins & Cole, 2010). Some businesses have tended to use SharePoint only for record keeping or information storage, by simply uploading documents to the site so that, if needed, another staff member can access that information (Atkins & Cole, 2010). However the platform offers more than just information sharing. The site has functions which can support online communities to work together to create knowledge, thereby enabling a transformation of learning using NGL (Atkins & Cole, 2010; Goodyear, 2014). For example, the SharePoint Wiki page, which teachers can choose to include on their group’s SharePoint, acts just like Wikipedia by enabling members of the community to share ideas or knowledge, and for peers to provide feedback, alter and add to that knowledge – thereby creating a peer reviewed resource (Atkins & Cole, 2010). The SharePoint software also enables teachers to effectively manage information and versions, through creating a document library, where a member of the community can post a document and other members of the group can then access and edit the same document, without having to create a new version (Aitkins & Cole, 2010).

However, creation of knowledge through collaboration can only succeed if the teachers and students choose and know, how to effectively use the SharePoint features (Aitkins & Cole, 2010). Researchers, Aitkins and Cole (2010), highlight the need for teachers to scaffold and structure learning on SharePoint, by setting up targeted exercises to help the students learn to work together on the site and create knowledge together. They advise that this is especially important for students that are not used to the platform or working online and will help avoid resistance from students, stemming from a lack of self-efficacy (Aitkins and Cole, 2010). Some well-structured and scaffolded learning activities would be particularly beneficial for the staff at The Agency who have demonstrated a resistance to change and limited experience with using online technologies in the workplace as already discussed (Personal Communication, May 2014).

An article reviewing the implementation of SharePoint at the University of Maryland library also explored some of the learning benefits of using this tool – claiming that it can help enhance team efficiency, organisation and cooperation (Diffin, Chirombo, Nangle & Jong, 2010). In addition to using the Wiki and Document Library features to share and build knowledge, the library staff at Maryland University, used the automatic alert functions, to let staff know when new information was posted on the site or when they were required to complete a task (Diffin, Chirombo, Nangle & Jong, 2010). They also combined the SharePoint with remote access technology available at the University, which enabled any staff who were working from different off-site locations, to access and contribute to activities on the group SharePoint (Diffin, Chirombo, Nangle & Jong, 2010). Once again, the authors of the article, like many other researchers exploring the implementation of SharePoint in organisations, also warned about the need for teachers to make sure they have the skills and technical capacity to use the tool effectively so that they can provide ongoing guidance and support to staff to use and interact with the SharePoint (Diffin, Chirombo, Nangle & Jong, 2010; Ennis & Tims, 2010; Moore, 2013). This could include: regularly monitoring and guiding interactions, planning for ongoing engagement, creating user guides so new adopters will feel less overwhelmed with the technology, and also thinking critically about the use of SharePoint and its functions for learning, both before and during implementation to ensure success (Diffin, Chirombo, Nangle & Jong, 2010; Ennis & Tims, 2010).

Networked Learning Theory
Literature around the use online platforms like SharePoint ineducation and learning, has argued that the tool itself, does not automatically equate to improved learning outcomes (Carr, 2011; Diffin, Chirombo, Nangle & Jong, 2010; Goodyear, Carvalho & Dohn, 2014). Rather, ‘how’ the tool is applied and the learning approaches that are adopted to support the use of the tool, is considered pivotal to its success for organisational learning (Carr, 2011; Diffin, Chirombo, Nangle & Jong, 2010; Goodyear, Carvalho & Dohn, 2014).

Outside of suggestions to scaffold and structure learning for students, the literature discussing SharePoint in organisations, does not go into depth about the specific pedagogies that can support learning using this tool (Aitkins and Cole, 2010; Diffin, Chirombo, Nangle & Jong, 2010). As such, it is necessary to draw on other literature around networked leaning pedagogies here.

Over the last few decades, a new learning theory ‘Connectivism’ has evolved to help educators understand and support learners to interact in the online networked space (Kop, 2011). This theory, promulgated by George Siemens (2008) and Stephen Downes (2007), promotes the idea that learning occurs through interactions with networks, and it is the role of the students to form these connections and for teachers to guide and support this process of learning.

This theory offers guidance for the implementation of SharePoint at The Agency, by highlighting the need for teachers to establish learning activities using the tool, which will guide students to form and learn from networks and connections (Downes, 2007; Siemens, 2008). An example of this might involve the teacher setting an activity where students are asked to find and share links on the group SharePoint, relating to policy and legislation connected with the new work procedures that are being implemented at the Agency. The teacher would guide the learning by setting boundaries for the activity and equipping the students with relevant skills and mindset to make appropriate connections and collaborate to support their learning, rather than simply transmitting the knowledge (Siemens, 2008; Downes, 2007).

The theory of Connectivism has come under criticism by other researchers in the field (Bell, 2011). One challenge, posed by Francis Bell (2011) is that on its own, Connectivist theory cannot adequately inform how networked learning occurs. Another learning theory that can support the implementation of the SharePoint tool at The Agency is the theory of situational learning as proposed by Ralph Putnam and Hilda Borko (2000) in their article exploring new views on knowledge in networked learning. Situational learning emphasises the importance of the ‘physical and social contexts in which an activity takes place’ as they are integral to the activity and the process of learning (Putnam & Borko, 2000, p. 4). In relation to the implementation of SharePoint at The Agency, situational learning theory would suggest that any learning activities designed by the teachers to help staff transition to the new work procedures, would need to include real-life examples and scenarios, which link closely to the actual work that staff perform, in order to gain the most from this learning activity (Putnam & Borko, 2000).

The Plan for Intervention – Summary

In summary, it is evident that there are a range of factors that teachers need to take into account when using SharePoint to support learning activities in The Agency. Drawing on the discussion that has occurred so far in this essay, an effective workplace intervention involving SharePoint, needs to involve the following considerations:

      1. Understand the organisation’s strategic environment and ensure the learning intervention aligns with the Agency’s strategic business objectives, in particular, any financial and security considerations, which could jeopardise the success of any new NGL intervention.
    1. Use SharePoint to its full potential by considering ways that it can be used to support collaboration and creation of knowledge among staff, as well as how it can be used alongside other technologies, such as remote access, to enable participation from geographically dispersed staff.

3. Ensure that the teachers or learning managers are able to effectively use the different SharePoint features, so that they can scaffold learning activities to guide others with their learning. This is particularly important for those students with limited experience using NGL tools in the workplace.

4. Draw on range of learning theories, such as Connectivism and situational learning to enhance and ultimately transform students’ learning through the use of this platform, including:

  • equipping the students with the relevant skills to effectively undertake networked learning activities;
  • establish learning activities to guide students to form and learn through online connections.

Conclusion

This essay has only scratched the surface of the possibilities of using networked and global learning tools and principles in organisational education contexts. As the financial situations of organisations change and online security technologies continue to advance, Government Agencies could benefit from continued research into new online tools and learning theories that can push the boundaries and transform the way these organisation’s learn.

References

Bell, F. (2010). Connectivism: Its place in theory-informed research and innovation in technology-enabled learning. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(3), 98-118. Retrieved October 9, 2014, from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/902/1664

Bragg, A. (2014). MOOCs: Where to from here? Training & Development, 41(1), 20-21.

Brandel, M. (2010). Solving SharePoint Sprawl. Computerworld, 44(21), 28-31.

Cameron, R. (2013). SharePoint: ECM for Everyone. KM World, 22(4), 3.

Carr, J. (2011). Case study: Developing a SharePoint 2010 strategy or how setting it up and “getting it out there” is not a strategy. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 37(2), 26-28.

Diffin, J., Chirombo, F., Nangle, D., & Jong, M. (2010). A Point to Share: Streamlining Access Services Workflow through Online Collaboration, Communication, and Storage with Microsoft SharePoint. Journal of Web Librarianship, 4(2-3), 225-237.

Downes, S. (2007). What Connectivism is. Retrieved October 3, 2014 from http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/2007/02/what-connectivism-is.html

Downes, S. (2011). “Connectivism” and Connective Knowledge. Retrieved September 13, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-downes/connectivism-and-connecti_b_804653.html

Dyrud, M. A. (2012). Posting, Tweeting, and Rejuvenating the Classroom. Business Communication Quarterly, 75(1), 61-63. Doi:10.1177/1080569911432738

Gilchrist, D. (2014). Doing more with less – considerations. Institute of Public Administration Today, 39, 19.

Goodyear, P. (2014). Productive Learning Networks: The Evolution of Research and Practice. In L. Carvalho & P. Goodyear (Eds.), The Architecture of Productive Learning Networks (pp. 23–47). London: Routledge.

Goodyear, P., Carvalho, L., & Dohn, N. B. (2014). Design for networked learning: framing relations between participants’ activities and the physical setting. In S. Bayne, M. de Laat, T. Ryberg, & C. Sinclair (Eds.), Ninth International Conference on Networked Learning 2014, 137–144.

Harbridge, R. (2013). SharePoint 2013—a new way to work together. KM World, 22(1), 3-22.

Kop, R. (2011). The Challenges to Connectivist Learning on Open Online Networks: Learning Experiences during a Massive Open Online Course. International review of research in open and distance learning, 12(3). Retrieved November 13, 2014, from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/882/1689

McConnell, D. (2005). Examining the dynamics of networked e-learning groups and communities. Studies in Higher Education, 30(1), 25-42.

Moore, J. (2013). How to Overcome SharePoint Performance Headaches. CIO, 18.

Murphy, S. (2012). Enhancing the Use and Performance of SharePoint. KM World, 3.

Puentedura, R. (2014). SAMR and Curriculum Redesign. Retrieved October 19, 2014 from http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/archives/2014/08/30/SAMRAndCurriculumRedesign.pdf

Putnam, R. & Borko, H. (2000). What Do New Views of Knowledge and Thinking Have to Say about Research on Teacher Learning? Educational Researcher, 29(1), 4-15.

Siemens, G. (2008). New structures and spaces of learning: The systemic impact of connective knowledge, connectivism, and networked learning. Retrieved September 12, 2014 from http://elearnspace.org/Articles/systemic_impact.htm.

*The Agency. (2014a). Towards 2020 Strategic Plan. Retrieved from The Agency’s website.

*The Agency. (2014b). Branch Strategic Plan. Retrieved from The Agency’s website.

*The Agency. (2014c). IT Security Plan and Protocols. Retrieved from The Agency’s website.

My DBR Proposal – for your feedback

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Hi NGL-ers,

If anyone is still left in the course, who wouldn’t mind taking a look at my proposal for Assignment 2, I’d love your comments/feedback.

I have provided the document in the following Google Doc link. This document includes a bit of context for my learning activity and the start of my literature review.

Hope to hear from you 🙂

Regards, Clare

How NGL can inform my role as teacher

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This blog was established as part of the EDU8117 Networked and Global Learning (NLG) course for the University of Queensland Master of Education qualification. The course participants – all teachers or educators – were instructed to establish a blog as a platform to participate in a networked learning community and learn about networked and global learning (Jones, 2014).

Thus far, on my ‘Pushing the Boundaries with Networked Learning’ blog, I have shown that the principles of, and participation in, networked and global learning (NGL) has been beneficial, in a number of ways, to me both as student and also as a learner (O’Keefe, 2014). This blog will explore my role as a teacher and how my participation and learning in NGL as part of this course, has informed this role.

My role as a teacher, as discussed in my blog post ‘Me as a Teacher’ involves facilitating training in an organisation, to help staff (my students) “to learn and implement new and improved work processes” (O’Keefe, 2014). There have been a number of ways that NGL has helped inform this role, the first of these being that it provides an opportunity to connect with and learn from a community of practitioners (Riel & Polin, 2004).

In my post “Professional Learning Networks – an option for introducing NGL in my organisation” I demonstrate how I have started to establish a professional learning network, by connecting with and sharing with my peers, links to a community of online profiles and websites connected with NGL (O’Keefe, 2014). For example, I discuss the website Mashable which provides new technology news, as well as an article on the blog of Miriam Clifford exploring professional learning networks (Clifford, 2013; O’Keefe, 2014). I linked these sites to the course Diigo, so that other students in the course can access these useful resources (O’Keefe, 2014). I then explore how Clifford’s article, which was drawn from a Harvard study revealing the benefits of professional networks, has helped me understand the value of establishing communities and networks in my own organisation to enhance learning outcomes for my students (Clifford, 2013; O’Keefe, 2014).

In another post on the blog ‘NGL and Life Long Learning’ I also demonstrated how I was able to extend my learning of NGL from the community made up of the NGL course participants. I discuss this in my blog posts ‘NGL and Life Long Learning’ where I learn from one my course peers about life long learning and how this is relevant for my role as a teacher (O’Keefe, 2014).

NGL has also helped to inform some options for assisting my students to participate in, and benefit from, learning communities. In my post ‘Task, Practice and Knowledge Based Communities – Online learning’ I consider an article by Riel and Polin (2004) outlining different types of learning communities – task based, practice based, and knowledge based – which , as a teacher, I can draw on to enhance learning in my organisation. In the blog, I go on to explore how each of these components could be incorporated in my workplace to support my staff to learn (O’Keefe, 2014). For example, I discuss establishing an internal collaborative website for staff, which could include areas for staff to ask each other questions to help their learning (task-based learning), establishing a resource library on the site (knowledge-based learning) as well as an area for staff to share new ideas and information to collaboratively improve practice (practice-based learning) (Riel & Polin, 2004; O’Keefe, 2014).

An exploration of networked and global learning principles and tools has also highlighted some of the challenges and issues that need to be considered by teachers when implementing NGL in their learning contexts. For example, in one of my blog posts, I discuss an article by Keith Brennan which explores the idea of cognitive overload – feelings of confusion and frustration that can occur among new participants in Connectivist learning (Brennan, 2013; O’Keefe, 2014). Similarly, in my post “A confused student: understanding through the threshold concept, I consider five potential barriers students can face in networked learning, as outlined by Giedre Kligyte (2009). These relate to the nature of NGL as being discursive, irreversible, integrated and liminal and in my post, I discuss how these concepts can pose a challenge not only to my students but also to me as a teacher, trying to help others to learn using NGL principles and tools (Kligyte, 2009; O’Keefe). In light of these challenges, I then go on to explore some practical strategies to help adult learners develop skills to better navigate and succeed in this learning environment in my blog post 23Things (Adult, Community & Further Education, 2013; O’Keefe, 2014).

Other challenges for students working in an NGL environment, that I explored in my blog, include the issue of how to credit images online and diversity in learning styles. In ‘Learning about online Image Credits’ I discuss my responsibilities as a teacher to ensure my students have the skills to credit work effectively online without breaching copyright (Creative Commons, 2014; O’Keefe. 2014). In another blog post titled “Diversity in Learning” I consider a quote by Profession Chris Dede (2008) about how students learn in a variety of ways (O’Keefe, 2014). I then discuss how I need to be flexible in my own teaching approach and that through applying appropriate pedagogies, such as inquiry-based learning, I can help ensure my application of NGL in my learning context will effectively meet my students’ learning needs (Drexler, 2010; O’Keefe, 2014).

In addition to posing some challenges to students, NGL can also bring some unexpected benefits. I explore one of these in my blog post “How to harness the amazing ideas of others!” where I consider a You Tube video by Derek Sivers (2011) and an article by Steven Downes (2011), which suggests that while we sometimes consider our ideas to be unexceptional, they can be very useful to others and that there are benefits in sharing these ideas with others (O’Keefe, 2014). I then explore how, as a teacher, Connectivism could help to bring my students’ knowledge and great ideas to the surface (O’Keefe, 2014).

In conclusion, this post has explored some of the benefits and challenges of implementing Networked and Global learning, which I intend to draw on to develop an effective strategy to incorporate NGL in my organisation. However, as the ongoing blog posts from participants in the EDU8117 course seem to show, my reflections have only just scratched the surface of the many possibilities of Networked and Global learning for teachers and students.

Reference

Adult, Community & Further Education. (2013). 23Things: an introduction to Web2 for people working in Adult Community Education (ACE). Retrieved September 7, 2014 from http://23things.acfe.vic.edu.au/

Brennan, K. (2013). In Connectivism, No One Can Hear You Scream: a Guide to Understanding the MOOC Novice. Retrieved September 12, 2014, from http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/Journal/in-connectivism-no-one-can-hear-you-scream-a-guide-to-understanding-the-mooc-novice/ .

Clifford, M. (2013). 20 Tips for Creating a Professional Learning Network. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/20-tips-for-creating-a-professional-learning-network/ .

Creative Commons. (2014). About CC. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from http://creativecommons.org/about

Dede, C. (2008). Theoretical perspectives influencing the use of information technology in teaching and learning. In J. Voogt & G. Knezek (Eds.), International Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education (pp. 43–62). New York: Springer.

Downes, S. (2011). “Connectivism” and Connective Knowledge. Retrieved August 05, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-downes/connectivism-and-connecti_b_804653.html

Drexler, W. (2010). The networked student model for construction of personal learning environments: Balancing teacher control and student autonomy. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(3), 369-385. Retrieved from: http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet26/drexler.html

Jones, D. (2014). An experiment in Networked & Global Learning. Retrieved October, 2014 from https://netgl.wordpress.com/

Kligyte, G. (2009). Threshold Concept: A lens for examining networked learning. In Ascilite 2009 Conference. Retrieved October 16, 2014 from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/auckland09/procs/kligyte-poster.pdf .

O’Keefe, C. (2014). Pushing the Boundaries with Networked Learning. Retrieved October, 2014 from https://pushingtheboundarieswithnetworkedlearning.wordpress.com/

Riel, M., & Polin, L. (2004). Online learning communities: Common ground and critical differences in designing technical environments. In S. A. Barab, R. Kling, & J. Gray (Eds.), Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning, 16–50. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sivers, D. (2011). Obvious to you. Amazing to others. Retrieved September 12, 2014 from https://pushingtheboundarieswithnetworkedlearning.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/how-to-harness-the-amazing-ideas-of-others/.

As a learner, participation in NGL was useful for me

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This post follows from my previous work ‘As a student, participation in NGL was useful for me’ (O’Keefe, 2014).

As part of my participation in the University of Southern Queensland EDU8117 Networked and Global Learning (NLG) course, I have been tasked with a challenge to use Networked and Global learning principles and tools to learn something new (Jones, 2014). This is an activity in ‘public click pedagogy’, a theory proposed by Chris Bigum and Leonie Rowan (2013) where individuals are encouraged to share their learning processes. The learning activity I chose was to learn a new Irish Tune on the violin and improve my technique. I documented my learning process on my WordPress blog ‘Pushing the Boundaries with Networked Learning’ (O’Keefe, 2014). Over the past 8 weeks, I was able to successfully transform my learning using Networked and Global learning, and I have explained some of the reasons NGL was so useful for my particular learning activity below.

The primary benefit of participating in NGL is that it enabled me to learn an Irish tune by ear and improve my technique in a way that would not have been possible without the use of networked technologies. I discussed this in my post ‘Me as a Learner’:

While notation is available for Irish tunes online or in books, it is very basic and does not adequately capture the traditional variations, rhythms and lilts required to play the tunes authentically…without being able to fly to Ireland and book in with a certified Irish fiddle teacher, I am keen to look closer at what I can access and harness in the NGL space to learn tunes and how to play them in an authentic style/manner (O’Keefe 2014).

In this way, the NGL has helped me to effectively ‘redefine’ or ‘transform’ my learning, a concept which I discuss further in my blog post ‘Redefining Learning in my Organisation’ (Puentedura, 2014; O’Keefe, 2014).

The Irish Tune that I chose to learn was ‘In the Tap Room’ and by the end of the first 8 weeks of the course, I was able to successfully learn to play the tune by ear and also incorporate some new ‘authentic’ fiddle techniques. My learning process was documented in my blog posts ‘CLEM & Communities for learning Irish Music & my new YouTube Channel’ and ‘Sharing my learning on You Tube’ (O’Keefe, 2014).

One factor that contributed to my success in learning this tune was finding the right tools for my learning task. While there were a number of tools available on the web that I could use, not all of them suited my needs. This idea aligns with the argument made by Goodyear, Carvalho & Dohn (2014) that the success of NGL learning depends on the appropriate tool being used for the particular task:

One cannot assume a direct relationship between (say) a specific digital tool and some desired outcomes. Rather, one needs to understand the kinds of connections that can exist between such tools/devices and participants’ activities.

For example, in response to one of my blog posts discussing possible tools to suit my learning task, the course convenor suggested the use of Sound Cloud (O’Keefe, 2014). This was a tool that he had found useful for trying to learning a musical instrument with a relative. However, after exploring the platform, I realised that the site was not well suited to learning Irish music, as there was limited traditional Irish Music available on the website and I also did not have a peer or relative in mind to share recordings.

This finding led me to explore other possible learning communities that I could connect with to assist me to learn a new Irish tune and improve my technique (Riel & Polin, 2004). One community that I found useful for my learning activity was YouTube and I discussed some of the literature exploring the use of YouTube for learning and its benefits in my post my blog posts ‘CLEM & Communities for learning Irish Music & my new YouTube Channel‘ , ‘CLEM Model Continued – The YouTube Model and an example in the school context’ and ‘CLEM Model – Literature around YouTube in learning’ (O’Keefe, 2014). Some of these benefits of YouTube include that it caters for a range of learning styles, allows for diversity in participating in learning, it allows students and teachers to create and shape knowledge and it enables archiving of learning (Quennerstedt, 2013; Buzzetto-More, 2014).

In another blog post ‘Growing my definition of networked learning’, I also consider the definition of networked learning and how it is about more than just acquiring knowledge (Dron & Anderson, 2012; Dron & Anderson, 2007; Riel & Polin, 2004; O’Keefe, 2014). I discuss how it is also about sharing knowledge with others to help them learn, that is, contributing to learning communities to benefit both current and future learners:

I had initially thought that the process of learning how to play a new tune …could be achieved simply through watching you tube videos and reading articles online. It is now becoming clearer and clearer to me, that I should push myself beyond this, and look at what collaborative opportunities there are available where I can connect with others to learn, and where ….I might be able to share my learnings with others (O’Keefe; 2014).

This idea aligns with the theory of ‘public-click’ pedagogy as already discussed, which suggests that learning outcomes can be improved through individuals making public their learning processes for others (Bigum & Rowan, 2013). In this same blog, I also discussed how the activity of participating in networked learning by creating and sharing information, also enhances learning through achieving the highest levels of cognitive functioning as described in Bloom’s taxonomy (O’Keefe , 2014; Dron & Anderson, 2012).

One way that I participated in a learning community to assist others to learn was through establishing my own YouTube channel which I used to make my process of learning public (O’Keefe, 2014; Bigum & Rowan, 2013). I observed that other members of the course had found this to be helpful for their own learning. An example of this was on a peer’s blog where they commented ‘Clare’s application of CLEM to learning Irish music was really helpful (and enjoyable) and caused me to reflect on my approach to learning…’ (Liriges, 2014).

It is therefore evident that participating in Networked and Global learning was beneficial for me as a learner for a number of reasons – it enabled me to transform my learning, provided access to a range of tools for my learning task and provided an opportunity to share my learning with others to assist them towards their own learning goals.

References

O’Keefe, C. (2014). Pushing the Boundaries with Networked Learning. Retrieved October, 2014 from https://pushingtheboundarieswithnetworkedlearning.wordpress.com/

Jones, D. (2014). An experiment in Networked & Global Learning. Retrieved October, 2014 from https://netgl.wordpress.com/

Bigum, C, & Rowan, L. (2013). Ladders, Learning and Lessons from Charlie: exploring the potential of public click pedagogy (No. 2). EdExEd Working Paper Series. Retrieved 9 October 2014, from http://chrisbigum.com/downloads/LLL-PCP.pdf

Puentedura, R. (2014). SAMR and Curriculum Redesign. Retrieved October 19, 2014 from http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/archives/2014/08/30/SAMRAndCurriculumRedesign.pdf

Goodyear, P., Carvalho, L., & Dohn, N. B. (2014). Design for networked learning: framing relations between participants’ activities and the physical setting. In S. Bayne, M. de Laat, T. Ryberg, & C. Sinclair (Eds.), Ninth International Conference on Networked Learning 2014, 137–144. http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/archives/2014/08/30/SAMRAndCurriculumRedesign.pdf

 Riel, M., & Polin, L. (2004). Online learning communities: Common ground and critical differences in designing technical environments. In S. A. Barab, R. Kling, & J. Gray (Eds.), Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning ,16–50. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Quennerstedt, M. (2013). PE on YouTube – investigating participation in physical education practice. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy, 18(1), 42-59.

Buzzetto-More, N. A. (2014). An Examination of Undergraduate Student’s Perceptions and Predilections of the Use of YouTube in the Teaching and Learning Process. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning & Learning Objects, 1017-32.

Dron, J., & Anderson, T. (2007). Collectives, networks and groups in social software for e-Learning. In World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education (pp. 2460–2467). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved October 14, 2014 from http://www.editlib.org/p/26726.

Dron, J & Anderson, T. (2012). Learning technology through three generations of technology enhanced distance education pedagogy. Retrieved October 13, 2014 from http://www.eurodl.org/?p=archives&year=2012&halfyear=2&article=523

Liriges, D. (2014). Insights: Reflections on learning and clem. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from http://debliriges.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/reflections-on-learning-and-clem/

As a student, participation in NGL was useful for me

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This post is a summary of my learning ‘as a student’ in the University of Southern Queensland EDU8117 Networked and Global Learning (NLG) course. One of the aims of this course, as outlined by the course convenor, David Jones, is for students to consider transforming our practice using Networked and Global Learning Tools and principles, and reflect on the whether this has been useful (Jones, 2014).

Networked and global learning is based around the theory of Connectivism– the idea that “knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks” (Downes, 2007, para 2; Siemens, 2008). As I discussed in one of my blog posts for the course, in this environment, learning is about forming ‘connections’ rather than just acquiring or transmitting knowledge (Downes, 2007; O’Keefe, 2014). As part of the course, we were encouraged by our convenor to use a range of networked and global learning tools such as – WordPress, Diigo and Feedler – to help guide this process of ‘forming connections’ and to transform our learning (Jones, 2014).

Below are my reflections on how these principles and tools of networked and global learning have been useful for me as a student of the NGL course.

One of the first ways participation in NGL was useful for me, was it has helped to improve the quality of my writing. The students in the course were asked to create a WordPress blog to record and share our leanings each week (Jones, 2014). In one of my posts on WordPress I discuss the work of Associate Professor Jill Walker Rettberg (2009) which looks at why blogging is a useful tool for learning and reflection (O’Keefe, 2014). Some of the reasons she discusses, are that blogging encourages us to communicate our thoughts more clearly, present more thoughtful arguments and carefully edited writing because we are writing to an audience (Walker Rettberg, 2009). This certainly proved to be the case for me. I made sure to carefully consider the content of my posts, and took steps to properly reference material (as I discuss in my post here) and proofread my work, knowing that other members of the class and our course convenor would be reading them (Walker Rettberg, 2009; O’Keefe, 2014). At times, I even used the ‘editing’ feature to update or expand upon my previous posts (O’Keefe, 2014).

The article by Walker Rettberg (2009) also discusses how blogging can encourage reflection and enhance learning through peer review. The comments I received on my post from my peers and the course convenor, improved my learning by helping to reinforce the ideas I have presented and identify gaps in my thinking. Examples of this included comments by David Jones (2014) on my post – ‘A Confused Student: Understanding through the Threshold Concept’ and comments from my peers here and here (O’Keefe, 2014). Reviewing the blogs of my peers, also helped me to think critically about my work and make changes to improve, such as my post on Online Image Credits (Walker Rettberg, 2009; O’Keefe, 2014).

Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) is another strategy the class was introduced to in the NGL course, to assist with staying ‘connected in the network era’ (Jarche, 2011; O’Keefe, 2014). This tool helped to guide my participation in the course in relation to seeking and making sense or information and then sharing my learning. In developing this PKM I considered a number of NGL tools and strategies that I could use to make connections with others to enhance my learning. The ‘share’ component of the Personal Knowledge Management plan involved using networking platforms to help others to establish connections with our work. Steven Downes provides a useful explanation of the value of sharing learning, which I discuss on one of my blog posts “what you’re doing when you share is to create material that other people can learn from. Your sharing creates more content ….People appreciate that, you will probably appreciate the content other people …share with you” (Downes, 2011, para 27).

WordPress and Diigo were two tools that I used to review the resources shared by my peers and identity relevant information to inform my work (O’Keefe, 2014). Examples of this include my post ‘How to harness the amazing ideas of others’ and ‘Insightful Post from Global Connection USQ’ (Droney, 2014; O’Keefe, 2014). Mendely, WordPress, Diigo, YouTube, and Twitter were some of the web platforms I used throughout the course to share knowledge and my learning with others to assist them to learn (O’Keefe, 2014). Evidence of this can be seen in the blog posts by Future Learning Musings, Networked, Global and Learning and Insights to improve their own learning (Smythe, 2014; Size, 2014; Liriges, 2014). I discuss my knowledge sharing using Diigo and Mendely in my post ‘Me as a student’ (O’Keefe, 2014).

I also used another online tool Feedly throughout the course to not only keep track of the online activities of other course members, but to operate more effectively in the networked world by enabling filtering of content to manage ‘cognitive overload’ (Brennan, 2013; O’Keefe, 2014). In one of my posts, I refer to an article by Keith Brennan discussing the concept of ‘cognitive overload’ and how this can affect our feelings of self-efficacy, confidence and success with connecting online (Brennan, 2013; O’Keefe, 2014). In another post ‘A confused student: understanding through the threshold concept’ I explore some of the challenges new learners are confronted with when trying to navigate through the networked world, as discussed by Giedre Kligyte (2009), such as the online language and the seemingly messy process of learning and connecting in the networked space (O’Keefe, 2014).

In addition to using Feedly, being able to read how other members of the course have worked through these similar challenges, via their own blogs, also helped to build by confidence and self-efficacy in order to participate effectively in networked and global learning (Brennan, 2013). This is discussed further in this post (O’Keefe, 2014). I was also able to efficiently use NGL to support my learning through actively participating in NGL activities such as creating and using a WordPress Blog, as specified in the course aims and observing the course convenor doing the same (Jones, 2014). Active participation and leading by example, are two effective strategies to support networked learning, which I have discussed in my post ‘Why is Blogging so useful for reflection and learning’ and which is also referred to on the 23 Things website, linked on my blog here (Walker Rettberg, 2009; Adult, Community & Further Education, 2013; O’Keefe, 2014).

From my reflections, it is event that there is value in students participating in Networked and Global Learning activities and that with the right tools and principles, a transformation in learning can be achieved. The next step is to consider how these findings might be useful for teachers intending to transform their student’s learning using NGL principles and tools, and also how individuals could use online social networking tools to enhance their learning. I will attempt to address these matters in my upcoming blog posts.

References
Adult, Community & Further Education. (2013). 23Things: an introduction to Web2 for people working in Adult Community Education (ACE). Retrieved September 7, 2014 from http://23things.acfe.vic.edu.au/

Brennan, K. (2013). In Connectivism, No One Can Hear You Scream: a Guide to Understanding the MOOC Novice. Retrieved September 12, 2014, from http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/Journal/in-connectivism-no-one-can-hear-you-scream-a-guide-to-understanding-the-mooc-novice/ .

Downes, S. (2007). What Connectivism is. Retrieved October 3, 2014 from http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/2007/02/what-connectivism-is.html

Downes, S. (2011). “Connectivism” and Connective Knowledge. Retrieved September 13, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-downes/connectivism-and-connecti_b_804653.html

Droney, A. (2014). Global Connection USQ. Retrieved October 27, 2014 from https://globalconnectionusq.wordpress.com/

Jarche, H. (2011). PKM – Personal Knowledge Mastery. Retrieved August 3, 2014 from http://www.jarche.com/pkm/

Jones, D. (2014). An experiment in Networked & Global Learning. Retrieved October, 2014 from https://netgl.wordpress.com/

Kligyte, G. (2009). Threshold Concept: A lens for examining networked learning. In Ascilite 2009 Conference. Retrieved October 16, 2014 from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/auckland09/procs/kligyte-poster.pdf .

Liriges, D. (2014). Insights. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from http://debliriges.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/reflections-on-learning-and-clem/

O’Keefe, C. (2014). Pushing the Boundaries with Networked Learning. Retrieved October, 2014 from https://pushingtheboundarieswithnetworkedlearning.wordpress.com/

Siemens, G. (2008). New structures and spaces of learning: The systemic impact of connective knowledge, connectivism, and networked learning. Retrieved September 12, 2014 from http://elearnspace.org/Articles/systemic_impact.htm.

Size, P. Networked, Global and Learning. Retrieved October 4, 2014 from http://siblingsofcysticfibrosis.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/clem-and-community/ .

Smythe, E. (2014). Future Learning Musings. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from http://futurelearningmusings.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/connected-learning-and-generative-themes/

Walker Rettberg, J. (2009) Blogging as a Tool for Reflection and Learning. In A. Karin Lars & G. Oline Hole. (Eds.), E-Pedagogy for Teachers in Higher Education. Bergen, Norway: Bergen University College. Retrieved September 12, 2014 from http://www.virclass.net/eped/ep_tmp/files/17842056574abc85cdf304e.pdf