Reflections on Learning

Professional Foundations: Collaborating, Researching, and Networking

This week I wrap up the final week of this segment of my Instructional Design Certification. We covered foundational topics, exploring:

  • Learning and Instructional Theories, Instructional Designer Competencies, Current Learning Trends,
  • Developing deeper approached to learning: creative thinking, critical thinking and meta-cognition,
  • Applied Instructional Design Models and Frameworks to developing course content,
  • Explored Communities of Practice (CoP) and Inquiry (CoI), and
  • (as if all that wasn’t enough) we developed a concept map resource to help pool all of this knowledge and practice together into a cohesive and informational graphic

Meanwhile, in the background of the week, I’ve been interviewing, and helping a fellow ID professional design their digital portfolio.

My exploration into COPs yielded a couple useful revelations for me. I took this opportunity to reconnect with two communities that I joined years ago, as well as a few new ones. My experience was mixed and I’m actually glad to be reacquainted with the Camtasia Users Group on LinkedIn. I’m just speculating here, but I believe that  CoPs that work for me have two important elements:

  1. They are targeted and geared to a specific interest that I have (rather than a broad swath of subjects), and
  2. the moderator is engaged and actively sparking conversation/interaction or sharing new tips, tricks, information with the group

Of course, participating in the online certification course with a cohort of ID professionals is another CoP. Through this, we have tackled esoteric and concrete topics in Instructional Design: from perception and goal setting to selecting and evaluating educational tools. I have seen firsthand that they can be excellent resources for faculty as well. In the aftermath of a faculty digital pedagogy workshop that I helped to develop (a few years ago), educators connected online in a blog CoP to discuss their various applications of the available technologies and how they fared in using them. I witnessed a robust conversation for several weeks. But then, as with IDs, the conversation eventually dried up.

CoPs need engaged moderators to give them a poke/prod every now and again.

Communities of Practice in Higher Ed

For Students: An increasing number of professional fields require a portfolio from job-seekers—be they new graduates or seasoned professionals. Starting students on the path to developing a worthwhile, peer-reviewed portfolio is an excellent way to implement a CoP.

At my university our LMS offers an ePortfolio tool that can be assigned to students to complete throughout the course of a semester… peer collaboration and feedback is allowed with this tool, a star-rating system is available in this tool, and it can be embedded in discussions OR it can exist outside of the LMDS—meaning, no need to login to view—this makes it valuable outside of the university walls.

For Educators: These can prove useful for faculty explorers as well. The aim is to find and commune with a CoP that addresses a specific need, and offers a regular—not overwhelming amount of irrelevant information.

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4 thoughts on “Reflections on Learning

  1. As always Simone, I love your blog and the ideas of including information from each of us. Love the idea of adding the concept maps in one place as it helps us see different approaches to the same information.

    CoP within this course has helped me grow, learn, connect and collaborate with amazing people such as you. How do you suggest we stay connected even after this course ends?

    Thanks again. Ralene

    1. Thank you for your response…. we’ll have the opportunity to start participate in a CoP for the ID Cert course during the last month of work. I’m looking forward to stay connected with everyone …and continuing to grow!

      Cheers, S

  2. I really like the look of your blog and the visuals you included! I think your discussion of the importance of a CoP moderator really gets at the heart of why I hesitate to introduce a CoP for the faculty in our center. That facilitator seems to be very necessary, yet, I’m not sure that any of us has enough time to spare to add facilitation duties to our schedules since we have so much to do already. Quick question – did the end of your post get cut off? It seems like some words are missing from the “for educators” section.

    1. That’s a major key, and a major sticking point. In the CoP that grew from a teaching with Tech fellowship I helped to spearhead a few years back, the conversation was robust at first then fizzled. I definitely did not model ideal moderator behavior and my team was also swamped with projects…so, unfortunately the community dissolved

      (similar to how the end of that last sentence dissolved…I meant to say “irrelevant information”)

      I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and a blog platform can offer a great interface to host a CoP…moderators can schedule topic discussions or articles in advance—on a regular basis, to keep content fresh and flowing. Or, post questions/solutions to common issues as they come up. It’s difficult to really automate an appropriate amount of moderator input.

      Thanks for your thoughts.

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