Mapping Your Learning Connections

Much of what we know about education and learning has evolved immensely over the past 20 years.  Not only has the field changed, but the focus of how educators relate and teach learners has also transformed.  The 21st Century learner demands to be challenged creatively and intellectually, and therefore will not settle for an hour long course delivered primarily through lecture.  Students need to be involved; they must connect.

 Connectivism theory recognizes that learning extends beyond the four walls of a classroom or training facility by incorporating technology, social networks, and information.  This theory allows the learner to use various technological resources to grow their knowledge base and also become a conduit for others.

When I begin to think about creating a mind map that would reflect my network connections, I had to decide on the categories I wanted to explore.  I finally narrowed the categories to the following:  Education, work, technology, social network, secondary educators, and spiritual.  As I begin to place my connections in this format, I quickly begin to see how strong my educational network is – which is not a surprise.  I love learning and my thirst for knowledge has provoked me to seek those sources that would satisfy my need to know.

My networks have molded the way that I receive, process, and retain new information.  When I was in high school, my 11th grade teacher told me how good my writing was and that I should pursue a career in writing.  Those words led me to pursue an undergraduate degree in English and later publish my first book.  When I have questions, I reach out to one of my contacts in my network and sometimes I will be referred to another contact within my network, or possibly a new contact.  I also use the Internet to view innovations in the field and to gain tips on how I can use them in training.  One of these advancements is incorporating digital resources in learning.

The training and development industry is focused on providing effective training at the lowest cost.  Digital resources are an important part of this objective.  This becomes critically important when there are multiple locations.  Currently, we use GoTo Meeting, Webex, and Citrix to communicate with other locations.

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