Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In a World of Rapid Change, Learning Can Never Stop

I've often wondered about people I know that seem interested in social media (learning), but are reluctant to actually try it. I've tried to explain to them that social media is really about connecting, sharing, and learning from others, but that bewildered look I often get tells me that they just don't understand no matter how much I try. I wish they could understand the advantages of learning and sharing in new and, for them, untraditional ways.

I found the following two articles tonight and I hope this will explain my thoughts in a much more lucid manner than I have been able to and that they can begin to understand what social media is all about.

Please take a few minutes to read the two articles:
Joining is Important to Social Learning, Dennis Callahan, Learnstreaming, 17 June 2011

Ever sign up for a gym membership and not really use it that much? I know…I know this probably hasn’t happened to you. But, just pretend for a moment that you did. How did this help your physical condition?

Signing up Isn’t Joining
Having a social media account (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin) doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve joined. It means you’ve signed up. It’s like signing up for the gym. You can say that you belong to the gym but if you don’t get on the equipment and exercise, what benefit is there to your body?

Joining is Becoming More Important to Learning...(read the entire article HERE)

Learning Is the New Work, Jay Cross, Chief Learning Officer Magazine, 13 June 2011
In a world of rapid change, learning can never stop. A worker cannot tackle new challenges, take advantage of new information or make judgment calls on novel situations without learning along the way. More than merely being embedded into work, learning has become integral to work. Social learning at work does not exist outside of that context. Likewise, informal learning can’t be isolated from work itself. Learning is work.

How did we ever think otherwise?...(read the entire article HERE)

Social media is about learning and not occasional learning. Learning must take place on a daily basis...a constant basis. Afterall, isn't learning what life is about?

Please join the social media discussion and help us learn from you by following The CareerTech Testing Center's blog and/or Twitter feed (@CareerTechTest).  Begin your PLN (Personal Learning Network) today!


  1. I enjoyed both articles, linking signing up for a gym membership and social media is an interesting analogy.
    I’ve had a gym membership. I signed up, tried it once, felt inadequate because I couldn’t keep up with the people already on their way to physical perfection, so I never returned. I’ve also signed up for Twitter, Facebook, Skype, IChat, explored Second Life, have a blog, have three email accounts, managed a Wiggio account, and I’m a member of a PLN. Sounds as if I’m using social media.

    Truth is I haven’t blogged for over a year, don’t know how to access the PLN, let alone contribute, no one in the Wiggio group used it, and Twitter is making me nervous. I can’t handle the number of tweets that pop up in a half a second. I can’t read them all, information overload! And who can send a coherent message in 140 characters?

    I want to be on the cutting edge, I’ve tried. I’m one of those old dog-new trick people. I don’t want to be an old dog so I try new tricks. Trouble is, I only know enough to get stuck. I can only ask my tech friends so many questions before they un-friend me. LOL and what’s all that! I’m an ESL teacher and realize that exposure and use of a new language can lead to acquiring it but OMG!

    I see the potential, the promise of greatness, in using social media as a tool to gain knowledge. New generations of teachers will bring these tools with them to their classrooms just in time for something newer still to come along. But these teachers will have the background knowledge to make the transition to the new stuff. My background consists of a typewriter. Most kids have never seen a typewriter, let alone know what magic an electric one possessed.

    You probably think I’m anti-social media. I’m not. I love that you can communicate with people all over the world. Meeting new people, learning new things keep us growing as productive, contributing adults. But am I a true contributing member of these social networking groups? And am I able to use social media tools to help my students learn? Just like the gym, I’m feeling inadequate.

  2. @PatESL: Thank you for the great comments! I have a few thoughts and the first is that you should list people on Twitter that you specifically want to follow and keep up with them. You will never be able to follow every conversation and thought so don't even worry about trying to do so.

    My next thought is really a question for you...What is your purpose for using socila media? If you want people to respond, you must say something that will incite them to do so. If your purpose is to share information, then you are probably already doing that, but don't expect much of a response.

    Another thing would be to begin your PLN with people you know and grow it from there. Just continue to provide meaningful resources and share. People will find you.

    Also, find a niche within ESL and begin from there and don't be shy about asking people to follow you or to comment.

  3. Thank you for the feedback. Setting a purpose for change is the number one way to create change. I guess I haven't clearly defined my reason(s) for changing my way of communicating. Or perhaps, my reasons aren't strong enough to warrant complete change. I guess I'm the only one who can figure that out and if I have any indication from my experiences, it will take time. (Maybe a long, long time, lol.)

  4. Believe in yourself and your message. It may take awhile or years before you have buy in from others. I blog to provide resources for others, but I also blog because it "forces" me learn and I need that!


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