After reviewing the learning circle’s first drafts, I am struck to see so many common conclusions emerge from very disparate research angles. Learning challenges seem to benefit from interpersonal interaction. I saw this play out a week ago as the Instructional Design community within my organization held its annual conference and divided the participants into four groups tasked to devise solutions for various types of learning problems. Without exception, each of the four groups included provisions for more interpersonal, community-based approaches.
I appreciate the opportunity to contribute in a learning circle community. I find ways to enhance my own lit review by reflecting on the work others have come across or completed themselves. The environment and culture in the learning circle are inclined towards openness, feedback, mutual support and encouragement. I’m certain my experience and contributions would not be as much as they are without the learning circle cadre-mates and culture!
I notice, after examining Dan Wood’s project, that I tend to think big. The size and scope of his very similar project is much more focused. My thoughts gravitate towards the more universal applications and impact I can potentially make. I am less confident that this approach and perspective are well suited for the action research tasks at hand.
Also, my exploration of other projects has led me to consider the more social aspects of change management that appear to me to be lacking. My thoughts turn to how I might encourage a practice of sharing among those who are hesitant or uncertain about the benefits of the practice.
The thought that each person in my circle may act as a learning consultant framed my experience well last night. As I shared the challenges I was facing in cultivating the internal SmartBuilder community online, experiences and sincere questions emerged for me to consider from my four cadre mates.
Learning for me has almost always come after I have put myself out there, extending hooks for others to connect to. This is no different in the learning circle. Without volunteering pain points and fairly personal information the response I get is less than ideal. The more focused and specific I can be the better prepared and enabled I make my learning consultants.
Reflecting on the thoughts generated from our short time together, my “online” problem reverted back to solutions around face-to-face time spent together with the community. Will more frequent face-to-face interaction stimulate online activity?
I also see the learning circle as a time to truly concern yourself with the genuine problems and challenges of others. We lift burdens and overcome obstacles together. This morning I am pondering how my experience with religious endeavors online might benefit Sister Maria in her efforts to ensure that the communication and experience is spiritual.
I was also pleasantly surprised to hear that we, even this early on in the program, understood well the guiding principles of action research.
Learning via iterative and rigorous action research is transformative in nature. With the Pepperdine cadre we commit to community and to contributing collective intelligence towards the value-aligned decisions we make. Informed decisions become actions within each individual’s organization. The outcomes are analyzed and evaluated. Reflection provides greater light and knowledge about the decisions we make which feed back in to the next iteration of plan, act, evaluate, and reflect. The individual and the sphere he or she occupies are both more fully illuminated through the process. We are better able to navigate and act because we see more, more of ourselves, our identity and the relationships that govern our interactions.
Manifestations of my journey through this transformation will make occasional appearances here. Join me and enjoy the ride.
A phrase that stood out to me last night in our sync session was building collective knowledge among the cohort. I’m not sure our cadre fully grasps this concept and objective as one of the key outcomes of the program. It seems that each of us is stuck in doing all the work ourselves in isolation. Yet, we are hoping to pick up a few ideas in this program of how we might facilitate collective and collaborative knowledge sharing and building within our organizations. Seems to me like we would want to practice what we preach. A shared calendar would be helpful, for example. I am pleased to see that others jumped in to the google doc and capture thoughts and nuances from our conversation. I still feel that the cadre doesn’t have a mechanism by which we keep everyone up to date with our activity in the program nor a central space to call our community. Context is hard to keep without these pieces in place.
Informing our decisions through the review of research and other types of literature was also enlightening. To have greater understanding and knowledge of the particular actions we propose to take is worth the time and effort. To take a “good idea” and transform it into a more fully vetted and informed action ensures that our endeavors are not merely trial and error.
I may be alone on this but my desire is to have more context coming in to these sync sessions. Providing a few basic talking points would help place me in context and more able to contribution to the conversation. I am open to hear how others have found ways in which they effectively prepare for our time together.
A phrase that stood out to me last night in our sync session was building collective knowledge among the cohort. I’m not sure our cadre fully grasps this concept and objective as one of the key outcomes of the program. It seems that each of us is stuck in doing all the work ourselves in isolation. Yet, we are hoping to pick up a few ideas in this program of how we might facilitate collective and collaborative knowledge sharing and building within our organizations. Seems to me like we would want to practice what we preach. Informing our decisions through the review of research and other types of literature was also enlightening. To have greater understanding and knowledge of the particular actions we propose to take is worth the time and effort. To take a “good idea” and vet it so we avoid “trial and error” seems logical to me.