Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Work Literacy Experience

Michele Martin wonders on her blog and on the course's Ning site whether the Work Literacy course has been successful and what defines the success of such online courses. I think the activities and discussions on the site are evidence enough to judge the ‘successfulness’ of a course like this. But, I shouldn't speak for others, so I’ll just talk about what my experience has been till now.

I joined the Work Literacy online course only out of curiosity. I was familiar with the tools but was not sure where and how they fit into my learning and in the learning I create for others. I had initially planned to be just a spectator – just observing what people do with all these tools, etc. But, the discussions pulled me in the very first week.

The learning community here made me realize that I need to get out of my zone and get involved in the discussions. I felt I had some experiences that I could share. For example, some of the tools featured or popular in the group were different from the ones I’d tried. So, I tried the featured/popular tools and blogged about the experience. I really enjoyed doing that apart from learning about more tools. Now, I know the differences between the various tools a little better. No one tool is absolutely the best. Each has its own pros and cons. So, when I need to use one of them to create some training, I think I’ll know which one will work best for that situation.

The other good thing that came out of this for me is I came across several ideas and actual implementations of the Web 2.0 tools in learning. In fact, one of the best things about this course was that it was conducted through Ning. And seeing it being implemented in real time for a real online course made its usefulness so much more evident.

The site served as a single central resource for all information and activities. This, I feel, was much better than having resources on multiple networks and multiple media. Though, there was some branching out to other sites, you could basically access whatever you need through the Ning site. So, I didn’t have to keep track of too many resources and networks.

The fact that we could choose our level of learning/interaction helped immensely. I didn’t feel pressured to complete everything. I lurked around, popped in on discussions, fiddled with the tools, and wrote about my experiences, depending on my level of familiarity with the tools and the amount of time I had. It was true self-paced learning.

To summarize:
I learned to use new Web 2.0 tools
I picked up new skills with tools I was already using.
I picked up ideas for using Web 2.0 for professional development (creating an online portfolio through delicious, LinkedIn, etc.)
I learned about how others implement Web 2.0 tools inBulleted List their course designs
I now use Web 2.0 more regularly for my personal learning.
I can now think of ways to use Web 2.0 in my organization and in the courses I design.

Basically, I am more confident about my Web 2.0 skills and I know what I can do with them. So, I guess I can say that the course was pretty successful for me. :)