This term my course has required me to learn in the open. We were asked to create Twitter and professional Facebook accounts and use them to share resources and ideas. We also set up a blog (this one!) and reflected on our learning. Our final project involved creating a resource that targeted a specific audience related to digital leadership.
The biggest benefit that I see to learning in the open is that the knowledge and skills I have gained are already being integrated into real world applications. As I have been learning, I have been using the skills in a way that I will continue to use after the course is completed.
One example of this has been the addition of Twitter to my personal development. Some of the course assignments required posting to Twitter and one involved participating in a Twitter chat. Because of my participation in that chat, I not only gained valuable information and ideas, but began to build my personal learning network (PLN) with individuals who are like minded and will spur me on to continue to grow and become a better educator. I will carry on using Twitter after this course is completed because I have seen the rewards of investing my time on this platform. I have been made aware of several great books, read dozens of articles that relate to my interests and passions, and have been encouraged on a consistent basis to grow and improve.
The second best piece of learning in the open for me is that the assignments I completed had a purpose and an audience. Instead of just working towards a grade, I have wanted to invest time and energy because I knew that my efforts would make a difference in the lives of others. From a large project that will be a open resource for the public, to my posts on Facebook, I was writing for more than myself. Even if I was just sharing what I learned the past week, I had the potential to encourage other students. If I had just been writing to earn a grade, it would not have been as meaningful.
Learning in the open is so much more meaningful than the traditional classroom methods. I am thankful that instead of producing documents that only the instructor or other students will see, I have been able to have a wider audience and the potential to positively influence others.