In this topic, we learned more about learning in communities, networking and collaboration. Alec Couros shared different ideas and examples how collaborative learning took place in his course and provided tips on building personal network learning. This topic caught my attention because the ideas shared were relevant, practical and straight to the point. It made me reflect on my own experience as a participant/learner in ONL171 course.
Personal Learning Network (PLN) is described as one aspect of PLE where the individual has a group of people within his or her virtual professional network, and the relationship with each is based upon a common interest, collaborative project or research. Communication and connections are made via social media platforms such as Google + Community, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and blogs, etc. to help us form connections, grow our knowledge base and develop ourselves professionally through continual learning. It is based on the theory of connectivism, a learning theory conceptualized by George Siemens and Stephen Downes. The idea of connectivism is that the learner connects with nodes within a network, and subsequently develops knowledge and experience through this series of connections. (Siemens, G. & Downes, S., 2005)
Just like here in ONL171 course, a Google + Community has been set-up to gather all the participants together. This is a place where we all connect. We meet new people, check relevant information about the course, attending webinars, access resources and share our new ideas to the entire community. Within this community, we formed subgroups which we refer as PBL groups, consisting of 6-8 members where we discuss about specific scenarios for each topic in the course, guided by our facilitators. Each member take turns to lead a topic and the tasks are shared and distributed among the team. The PBL group meet twice a week on average to discuss how to go about solving the case scenario following the FISh model (Nerantzi and Uhlin, 2012). We also maintain a personal blog to reflect about our own learning. All these information are being shared in the Google + Community to gather feedback and learn from one another.
Developing a PLN requires a huge commitment of time and energy, but I would say that the rewards are abundant. I learned a lot from each topic with the help of my team members and the support from our facilitators. While it is true that another person maybe more knowledgeable and may come with more experience than us. One should not feel intimidated. Instead, we need keep an open mind and accept that we have more to learn. I still believe that there are many people out there who are willing to share their expertise or at least connect us to the right channels, so take the opportunity to meet new people, make new connections, learn new courses and take new challenges.
The following links below suggest some ideas on how to start building your PLN:
Siemens, George (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. http://er.dut.ac.za/bitstream/handle/123456789/69/Siemens_2005_Connectivism_A_learning_theory_for_the_digital_age.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Downes, S. (2007). Learning Networks in Practice. http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/30807230/8913424.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1492577163&Signature=bU14XBLZU8P3L6CfeKu%2BPLp8nn0%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DLearning_networks_in_practice.pdf