InformL Review

June 29, 2006

The unworkshop is – unfortunately – almost over, tonight is our last session and Monday we will have our “graduation ceremony”. Time for a Review about my experiences, good and bad things and what I learned.

My experiences!? Well when I first entered into the Skype Conference Call I was a little overstrained – I was hearing the voices of at least 8-10 different people that I wasn’t able to allocate names although I saw their names in the chat…. Very confusing but in a certain way very interesting and funny experience. During time I got to know some voices so that I’m not as confused as before. I think this is also because of Harold’s great performance in managing the whole vocal part. Thanks for that!

What was difficult for me was to get in touch with my “classmates” via Skype. This is first of all because I’m not very flexible in online hours and second, and probably more important, because it was difficult for me to just call people without having a reason. I think it would have been much easier if the Assignments would have been more like the first one: We were assigned to a group of 3 people (very good number, easy to manage) and asked to elaborate a certain question during a skype call. I think it would have been easier if for the first 3 or 4 times, it would have been the same just allocating people to oter groups. So after 3 assignments I would have been talking to at least 6 other people. This would have strengthened the community a lot and people, like me, that doesn’t walk through these things easily would have had an aid to get into touch with others…..

My Blog – another interesting experience. I realized that writing on my Blog helped me rethinking and reviewing things that I have learned as I needed to bring them “to paper”. This often gave me a deeper understanding of what we did in the unworkshop. Even if sometimes it is difficult to find time to write it was a really good experience and I think I will go on Blogging!

What did I learn? A lot I have to admid! I thought I knew already quite a lot of things about wikis and blogs but actually it was just the basic knowledge. I realized how much possibilities for learning and (personal) knowledge management they imlply. But actually I have to admit that I prefer the blog – I’m kind of missing the structured communication, development in Wikies. It is much easier to stay up to date with a blog than with a Wiki. A Blog always shows you the newest things on top, on a Wiki they can be hidden somewhere within. I also prefer editing my own page rather than writing something on a public place.

RSS and Aggregators: I really use them now! I think they are very useful to remain updated. But I realised that it is helpful to have different aggregators for different areas of interest. If not it just becomes another page full of unstructured information.

Del.icio.us – delicious! Really one of the most useful things I learned in the unworkshop. Being able to organise pages of interest under different tags, not just one single bookmark, helps to find exactly the information required in a certain moment. And being able to use my bookmarks from every computer with a internet connection is even better! Also a tool that I started to use regularly!

Conclusion: I learned a lot about personal knowledge management, how to organise my computer, “my internet” to go on learning. I was missing some examples of implication of all these tools within corporate learning.

But maybe that’s not the point – it’s informal learning, it’s personal. People have to do it on their own without being formally introduced on what to do….. With offering certain methods that we learned to our employees and maybe offering a corporate Wiki or Blog people would be able to organize themselves – informally… Mabe that’s the point!? And maybe there’s the implication!?

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Thesis Management

June 22, 2006

Sorry for being so quiet in the last tine – had my first diploma thesis presentation today in Munich at university and was quite busy preparing it!

Will be active again next week!


Tags

June 16, 2006

Last night I had a very interesting unworkshop session, where I really learned a lot! During the day I was trying to figure out what tags are and I was totally lost. But then in the evening I had this wonderful session and thanks to Jay, Harold and my “classmates” I now understand it quite well. I will try to explain it in my words:

Tags are something like favourites in the Windows Toolbar, just that they are not listed within the IE’s Favourites window but on a webpage. So in general this webpage collects all my links that are interesting for me and subdivides them into categories that I can chose. Have a look at my tags at del.icio.us/carosonne to see how it looks like.

Here a screenshot to make you understand easier:

 

This is the main page where it shows all my favourites
This is the main page where it shows all my favourites listed on the left hand side.On the right hand side you can see my tags, i.e. my categories under which my favourites are saved. As you can see I have 7 tags there. It also shows me how many pages/links can be found under which tag.

If I chose a certain tag, like “unworkshop” it shows me just the links that have been categorized under it:

Here it shows me all links that are related to this special topic. Furthermore it shows me related tags. Sometimes a link is not just saved under one tag. For example our Unworkshop aggregator page is also saved under the tag “aggregators”. Delicious shows me these related tags as well. And of course all my tags to quickly change between them.

I think tags are a very useful tool to manage and store knowledge. It’s not like the favourites where you might lose the overview when you have too many links. Furthermore it gives the opportunity to save your links under different tags so you can just use the appropriate tag and do not have to search in other categories/folders to find it. In fact you can just have one bookmark and from there find all others that you need!


Learning and Knowledge Sharing with Blogs and Aggregators

June 15, 2006

I have thought during the past days on how to use Blogs and Aggregators for Learning and Knowledge sharing. Here are some of my findings:

Well, one thing is quite obvious: Blogs can be used as a platform where one person, normally the "lecturer" posts information that others then can read and therefore learn. The same holds in case of Project Management or corporate knowledge sharing. But this is just one side of the medal. The blog offers not only the possibility to read what is written, like all other web pages do, it offers also the possibility to comment posts, to start a discussion, to be active in learning. Together with using an aggregator this results in a fast and convenient knowledge exchange as people do just enter their comment and each interested party, like the classmates or project team members receive information about changes or comments made.

To be a little more precise here some examples:

A blog could be used as platform for case studies and discussions for example: the "lecturer" may set the case on a blog with elaboration or solution etc.  and all participants may go to the blog, read the case and give their comments, critics or recommendations. This enhances the quality very much because different opinions can be read and everybody can take out his/her personal conclusion. If interested people can also set an aggregator on the blog to receive further comments and proposals immediately for example per email. This further enhances velocity of discussion and makes it even more interesting for participants.

Blogs can also be used as an online library, where information is stored. The advantage of using blogs here is, that they qre quite easy to use and no training has to be done to enable lecturers to load up information on their own. The structure of blogs further enhances the library's quality as external links may lead to further readings and information.

Finally let's have a look on the other side: the learners, the students: Why not let them set up a own blog where they write down what they learned, how they feel about the course, what they further expect etc? The first advantage of this way of instruction is that participants have to think about topics and write them down. This enhances learning a lot, it's no more just listening but becomes thinking, reviewing what has been heard. As the post is "published" participant may really think about what they write down as it may be embarassing if other's read stupid things. The second advantage is that other students can also benefit from their class mates blogs: they go on learning by reading one another's posts and set comments.


Aggregators and RSS

June 13, 2006

I have to admit that during the course when Jay told us first about aggregators and RSS I was really confused and didn't really get the whole sense out of it. But thanks to Angelika I got to this wonderful page and I was able to go through it. Now I'm little into it and think I will be able to explain what aggregateors are and how they can be used.

An aggregator is like an invisible helper that keeps you updated about what's happening on selected webpages. Due to the number of pages that may be of interest people do not have the time to go through all pages everyday to see if there is something new on them. the aggregator can! It collects all the new information on predefined sites and instead of having to look at a houndred pages you just have to look at one to see what has happened in your online world. The technology that makes this things possible is called RSS – Really Simple Syndication. It enables the aggregator to realize when the page has been renewed. Obviously not all pages provide these RSS feeds but the number is growing rapidly.

Aggreagators exist in 2 different designs: the e-mail design where the information is sent via email to the receipient (like google alerts) and the webbased design (like myYahoo! ) that enables the user to watch it's aggregator wherever he/she has access to the internet.

Have a look at our course aggregator to see how it works!


Weblogs or Blogs

June 12, 2006

In the following post I will talk about what I learned about weblogs or blogs through self studies and an online conference with my course mates Angelika and Ulrike. Another "Thank you" to those two and my fellow student Maurizio for all the input!

Definition

A weblog, which is usually shortened to blog, is a web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal. It is comprised of links and postings in reverse chronological order, meaning the most recent posting appears at the top of the page. It may consist of the recorded ideas of an individual (a sort of diary) or be a complex collaboration open to anyone. Most of the latter are moderated discussions.
Blogs normally combine text, images, links to other blogs or web pages, and other media related to its topic. Though most of them are primarily textual many show also on photographs, videos or audio.
Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called blogging. Individual articles on a blog are called blog posts, posts or entries. A person who posts these entries is called a blogger. Blogs are typically updated daily using software that allows people with little or no technical background to update and maintain the blog Read the rest of this entry »


Introduction Unworkshop 2 – Learning with Blogs, Wikis and Web 2.0 Tools

June 12, 2006

So, here it is: My personal Blog about my experiences in the Unworkshop "Learning with Blogs, Wikis and Web 2.0 Tools".

The Unworkshop is an online course about the possibilities in informal learning with the help of the above mentioned methods. I took it during the month of June 2006 as a part of the research for my thesis "E-Learning as a method of internal and external knowledge management" and my work at Orthofix Srl. in Verona, Italy.

The course is devided into a real learning eco system (all words written in bold will be explained in the coming posts):

The information is centered within the Unworkshop Wiki, where readings, assignment and other information like schedule and meetings are posted.
Furthermore there are the sessions in breezecentral and/or vyew book twice a week where a group of E-Learning/Informal Learning specialists introduces us into the different web tools that can be used for informal E-Learning. This part includes also chat and talk with the experts and other course participants through Skype.
In addition for each session an assignment has to be elaborated in small groups with other participants. In general it prepares for the coming session and leads people to collect their own information and share it with others. The results from all assignments have to be posted on each participant's private Blog, where he/she can publish the lessons learned.
By an e-mail community done on googlegroups, these blogs and of course all other information/questions/news are distributed among the participants.
I hope with these blog I will be able to give all interested parties a good overview about possibilities and chances for corporate learning resulting from Blogs, Wikis and Web 2.0 tools. Let's see if we can reach the rainbows end!