We’re asking people to do things differently in the way they learn. The move away from dozens of courses and a calendar of instructional content is a challenge for some people, as are some of the ways of learning that we’re suggesting to people.
I was in a #chat2lrn conversation the other week about what ispires with a number of learning professionals. At the end of the chat, 2 member of my PLN – Bianca Woods and Fiona Quigley – were discussing blogging with me. I’m keen on reflective practice and see blogging as a core part of this. Fiona wanted some specific tips but there are literally thousands of blogging tips that you can pick up on the internet. What I’ve decided to create is a post which highlights the 3 steps that we take to develop people’s blogging skills.
Help people start
The first stage we find is not, as you’d think, in setting up a blog. We recommend that people start by commenting on other people’s blogs. Simply put, it’s easier to start sharing your voice online by engaging in a conversation whic someone else has started first. In 2009, the New York Times reported that 95% of blogs are derelict. How many people do you know who have a blog they started but never continued? How many blog posts have you meant to write but didn’t get round to? That’s why commenting is easier; it allows your voice to hook onto what someone else has written.
So Andrew, the natural extension of that would then be to then develop your own blog? NO! What we’d recommend is setting up a team or group blog. The key benefit is that no single person is responsible for the content – what it does is encourage informal collaboration and co-operative working that is an intrinsic part of our learning approach.
Help people write
The desire to create overly verbose writing full of technical terminology and characteristic idiom of a special activity, occupational or social groups makes people’s writing impenetrable. Or, to put it another way, people want to demonstrate they know the jargon for their role. We help people to write simply; the nature of most blogs means that they should be written more informally. Too many people think their role as a blog writer is to produce a masterpiece each time. I think it’s more important that the act of refining your ideas, distilling them into language appropriate for a wider audience, helps people reflect on how to apply learning to their circumstances.
Help develop an editorial calendar
We’ve found people don’t think they have a voice. but they do tell you about the work they’re doing and how no-one knows how well they do what they do. What they don’t do is necessarily link their work to the more informal blogging approach. One way to link them is to develop a specific calendar. For example, I’m speaking at Learning Live on 12 September and have a timetable of posts in the 3 weeks preceding the event. I’m speaking at Learning Pool Live events in October – I have a timetable detailing dates to add content before and after each of those sessions. By linking a timetable to what you’re already doing, you know that your content will be timely and relevant. In addition, if you set a timetable you’re making a commitment to your blog.
What would you suggest? What advice do you recommend to a relatively new blogger? Let me know via your comments.