When My Reality Is THE Reality

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of EuropeWhen I traveled recently in Germany on holiday, it was at the end of the #rhizo15 experience, when we were challenged en masse to reconsider learning objectives and even course (learning) content itself. While the formal period of this is now behind us, I find I need some form of closure (even for a course that does not, really, have an actual end). I have been trying to formulate what I learned in the #rhizo15 “course” for some time, and I realize I just need to write about it and see how it resonates.

Rhizomatic learning in the #rhizo15 experience covered roughly Continue reading “When My Reality Is THE Reality”

Learning Objectives vs. Subjectives: Who Are They Really For?

subjective_objectiveIn the spirit of #rhizo15, if there is such as thing as being “in the spirit” of something that is fully open and to-be-determined-along-the-way, I read Laura  Laura Pasquini’s @laurapasquini‘s thought-provoking post What’s A Learning Subjective? This is “in the spirit of #rhizo15” because I do not read many blog posts (a time issue, really it is!). I have chatted with @laurapasquini on Twitter, though have not really read much of her work beyond the 140.

I have been missing a lot!

In her post, I was struck Continue reading “Learning Objectives vs. Subjectives: Who Are They Really For?”

What is my #rhizo15 Learning Subjective?

Not all those who wander are lostWhile I recently posted about Why I am engaging in #rhizo15 and  Learning Liminality I have still somehow avoided discussing my Learning Subjectives (as learning objectives are not readily possible when we do not know where we are going).

Perhaps this is because I so often avoid personal learning objectives.

I frequently retreat into researcher mode. Specifically as a qualitative researcher, where I always want to ask questions such as, “Why?, “Tell me what you mean by that?,” and “How did you…?” I often avoid making declarative comments, statements, or proclamations as, more often than not, I am wrong in some way. I hate being wrong, and find it easier to commit to the extent I can speak to, while avoiding presenting myself or my ideas narrowly that I somehow exclude other possibilities.

This all begs the question, what are my learning subjectives for #rhizo15?

Wow, I really do not know.

It is easy to say, “To build my network,” but that somehow seems to be a bit selfish, as if Continue reading “What is my #rhizo15 Learning Subjective?”

Goals and Expectations (Finally!) for #change11

OK, so here we are into Week 3 of the of the #Change11 MOOC, and I am finally ready to articulate my own personal goals and expectations for the course. Unlike most courses, there are no stated objectives or expectations for a MOOC. As I quoted from the MOOC Model document in my post Clarification on the question,“What is a MOOC?”, “MOOCs build on the engagement of learners who self-organize their participation according to learning goals,prior knowledge and skills,and common interests.” In other words, I need to set my own objectives and expectations for this year-long course.

While I work professionally as an Instructional Design Project Manager, clarifying learning needs and then building objectives to meet them is something I frequently engage with. However, this is flipped on its head when we establish our own goals for our learning.

Perhaps, however, this is really not that unusual. Consider this–even when we attend traditional courses that have clearly defined learning objectives, we have to remember that those are the goals of the teacher, facilitator, or program–they are not necessarily the goals of the learners themselves. Course goals are not always agreed with or understood in the same way by learners as they are by those facilitating the course. Without dialogue and agreement about this at the very beginning, it is challenging indeed for all participants to move toward the same goals (as nobody has the same goals). Let me state this even more strongly–without discussion and individual agreement–all learners in a course work toward different, and often unstated, goals for the course. 

This is one of the refreshing things that this MOOC has done–it has empowered attendees (learners) to articulate and state their own goals for the course. With this stated, these are my #change11 goals and expectations. By the end of the #change11 MOOC, I will be able to:

  1. Assess the impact and influence of this global, unstructured learning on my PhD Research
  2. Practice an openness to diverse perspectives on learning
  3. Revise my network to be wider and more inclusive

Now that I have stated these three objectives, I feel I am actually starting to expand my learning and practice. What better way to do so than by formulating, and then publicly sharing, these goals for the course?

What I Hope to Improve as a Learning Professional

The Big Question - Instructional DesignI really like the ASTD Learning Circuits  Big Question this month, which is “What would you like to do better as a Learning Professional?”

This hearkens me back to a blog post I wrote yesterday, Whose Objectives Are They, Anyway? I want have better conversations, discussions, buy-in, and agreement of learning objectives between learner and instructional designer / trainer / instructor within higher education. 

The current system of instructional designer designing objectives based on a needs analysis that often does not acknowledge direct input from the learners does not respect the experiences and freedom of an adult population. While I follow the ADDIE process in everything I do, as a higher education instructor I create the objectives based on university expectations and often give them to the students without their input and buy-in. Common for higher education, but unaccaptable for adult education that seeks to acknowledge the active role of the learner in the learning process.

So, what do I hope to improve? Collaborative agreement on learning objectives within higher education.

Whose Objectives Are They, Anyway?

I am an instructional designer. With quite a bit of education in the area of how adults learn, there is one thing that overshadows everything I do that involves education, human resource development, organizational communication, and the consulting work I do–What needs and expectations do learners have that education and communication try to meet? In other words, when I write learning objectives, they are just that–my objectives . . . and not the learner’s. I would set my classes up for failure if I did not acknowledge this very clear, but often overlooked, fact. The learners come with their own expectations and personal objectives, and for me to ignore them and insist on their fulfilling my objectives for them is just silly. Let’s face it, how can I realistically evaluate how well people meet objectives I am forcing them to accept and work toward?

Of course, that is what instructional design is all about–setting objectives to meet organizational needs.

No, we can not and should not get rid of objectives, because without them we lack some direction at all. I am only concerned when the unspoken, namely whose objectives are they, anyway? is ignored.

I have been thinking about this since I attended a session last night in the New Media Consortium’s (NMC) Symposium on Mashups. The presenter of the final session, Brian Lamb (a distant colleague whom I have met briefly twice at Northern Voice and who is a most dynamic presenter), facilitated an experience entitled “Confessions of a Mashup Un-Artist.” It was described as:

The creative side of mashups results in interesting and often popular-to-the-point-of-viral works, but at the same time, it raises questions about the nature of originality, authorship, and context. In this session, a mashup un-artist will discuss the process and products of his work, address some of the questions raised above, and discuss the relationship between remix culture and open education. Is originality overrated? Do we owe it to the intellectual environment to recycle our intellectual work? Is our existing concept of authorship still valid? Come along for the ride and contribute, collaborate, and mash up answers to these mashup questions. I attended this live in Second Life (where I am a newbie named Chartres Loire) and live in Adobe Connect (a great platform, BTW). There were video clips, music clips, avatar dancing, and various sounds. The session met the description, but nevertheless I was confused. Frustrated. Unclear as to the objectives. Grasping to “get it.” Looking for applicability. Struggling for meaning. I was that student who felt (s)he were the only one confused and not “getting it.”

I processed this a lot with some colleagues on Twitter last night, and it still seemed that I was the only one (of those who replied to me) who did not “get it.” Feeling completely isolated after this learning experience, I again started to think about learning objectives. Were Brian’s objectives the same as mine? More likely than not, the answer is no. How could they be–we did not discuss them (which is normal in most learning and presentation settings). I think I did not “get the session” for the simple reason that my objectives were not met. What were they? My objectives for the session were:

  1. understand what a mashup un-artist is
  2. apply this knowledge to my practice

After the session and after the Twitter discussion, I am still unclear as to what Brian was trying to demonstrate and I am still not able to figure out how to apply it. At least many of my colleagues seemed to respond positively and appreciate it.

While writing helps me to process my thinking (the entire purpose for my blog itself), I could only make sense of the experience when I finally realized my objectives were not met. This does not mean that other people had the same or different experiences, but I believe it does demonstrate how acknowledging individual (and thus different) learning objectives is so important in the learning process.

I think I still need to process this a little more, but want to share where I am right now.