2020 has been quite a year for everyone. I won’t bore you with my personal story of how 2020 has turned my life upside down, because I am sure you have your own! However I will say that I am writing this blog post from a completely different perspective than I would have expected in January of this year.
One aspect of 2020 that I am happy to say has survived is my association with ONL (Open Networked Learning), an online course that I have been involved in (in one form or another) since 2016. This course is aimed at assisting educators to develop their understanding of open and networked approaches to learning – and to embed online and connected pedagogies into their teaching practice.
During this iteration of the course, I will be presenting a webinar on the concept of learning in online communities and networks – something that I have researched extensively, with a particular focus on PLNs. The theories of networked learning and connectivism resonate strongly with me, and in this blog post I’d like to share my most recent experience of how developing capability in learning through online networks can transcend disciplines and enable us to connect with information and knowledge more effectively.
My newest position involves writing and designing learning for a new, completely online MBA, being developed at the University of Southern Queensland. Those who know me will also know that although my first degree was a Bachelor of Business, my career has been based in the education and library sectors; and so you might wonder how I came to be involved with the Faculty of Business and the development of an MBA.
While I am definitely no subject matter expert in the content of the MBA, I have been able to contribute to the course development due to my highly developed research skills, the capacity to learn through a range of online connections to information sources and an understanding of online pedagogy. In line with connectivist theory, it is not what I know, but my capacity to use network connections to seek up to date and accurate information which is what has helped me with this transition.
My network connections in these early forays into the world of the MBA consist largely of links to information sources – and it may be that they stay very much at this linking level. However, being able to transfer my capacity to learn and create knowledge into a completely different field is underpinned by my understanding of networked and connected learning, and these first few weeks researching an entirely new area have demonstrated to me not only the cross-disciplinary power of these learning theories, but also given me the experience of being back at the beginning; to consider reformulating a completely new branch of my PLN.
For those of you beginning your exploration into the area of learning through online communities and networks, you will find my ONL Webinar presentation below. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I have!