The connections outlined in my mind map help me to learn because they reflect the diverse methods I used to obtain and retain information. I use my personal and professional networks to gain knowledge about my field and to share my knowledge with others. Networking has changed the way that I learn by allowing me access to people from different backgrounds that have had diverse experiences in the field. Some of them have represented mentors to me and have supported me throughout my career. In addition, I have training networks that support me when I need to learn about new practices or to add to my current skills. I use print and digital media to learn about different trades and to add to my content design tools library.
By far the Internet has been a great tool to facilitate my learning. I rely on it to access information in real-time from a plethora of sources. It contains various types of resources such as databases where I can access whitepapers, manuals, and research papers on topics related to my field. In addition, I have access to videos, blogs and other websites that I use as resources to help me stay abreast of new tools and systems that can help me to improve my skills as an Instructional Designer. The Internet is an excellent tool for learning and it empowers me to continuously learn. When I have questions, I reach out to my network and I use the Internet to query different search tools in order to find relevant answers.
I believe that my learning network supports the main principles of connectivism. According to literature on connectivism (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2008), networks helps us to establish “connections…” between ourselves and “people, technology, social structures, systems…” Networks provide us with access to various communities of learning; communities where we can share information which facilitates our learning.
I have just started to explore the use of blogs as instructional design resources. I am not new to writing blogs as I have created instructional blogs for clients.
The instructional design blogs that I have reviewed contained information that I found to be helpful to me as an Instructional Designer. These blogs contained interesting and thought provoking posts that are resourceful to me in the field but are also an added research option where I can find ideas on how to create more engaging learning materials. I can access them to connect with others in my field. This will help me stay in touch with new ideas, methods, and approaches to designing learning.
Creating engaging content is always a challenge. I think that because people learn differently, it is important to stay informed about new approaches to instructional design. Additionally, I am always being challenged by clients to complete instructional design projects in less than the standard time estimated by the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Being able to reach out other professionals and experts to gain further insight into development hours will be extremely helpful.
In my work, I am frequently bidding on instructional design projects. There have been times when I could have used the input of peers on my estimates as there have been times that I found myself without the benefit of concrete information on the projects. The challenge for me has been to be true to myself, not to underbid or make assumptions in order to be awarded the projects. As I have learned in the past, that can be troublesome.
The blogs that I have found to be most relevant to my work are the ones that address instructional design strategies and those that discuss learning management systems (LMS) (implementations and functionalities). I have worked as an Instructional Designer, Training Manager, and LMS Project Manager.
I look forward to sharing my experiences with those communities and learning from everyone!