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!


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.