Tuesday, 28 August 2007

The First 90 Days - Reflection on the learning value of a blog

It is now about 90 days since my first blog posting - also immediately after a 2 week vacation.

Given earlier comments on the power of reflection [reflection is to learning what editing is to professional writing] I feel it is time to record a few thoughts on the learning value of a blog.

Firstly, I'd suggest that there are at least three types of blog:

  • The subject matter driven discussion - helping build professional knowledge through (i) reflection and (ii) dialogue between peers.
  • The personal journey driven discussion - a diary of thoughts and feelings, helping (i) consolidate experiences (workplace learnings and beyond) and (ii) provide a form of coaching through the reactions of those who give feedback/reactions.
  • The leadership communication channel - helping engaging colleagues by (i) communicating directly to staff and (ii) being accessible to hear feedback/reactions

As with any classification - I'd suspect there can (i) be significant overlap between the categories and (ii) no doubt there is at least a 4th type that can be proposed !

I'd suggest that the potential value of a classification, is to think about the outcome being sought from the act of blogging. So for me - it is becoming increasingly clear that this blog is primarily helping me consolidate my knowledge of the topic of 'Learning & Development'.

If the blogging tools had existed ca. 7 years ago, when I was starting to transition between a scientific & HR career, then a blog tracking the journey (especially if I could attract a cadre of 'coaches' to post comments) may have helped accelerate the change.


The second main feature I've found from blogging is that it encourages 'regular posting', and thus encourages taking a 'bite-size' approach to learning & reflection. It is very apparent if there are large gaps between posts (as there is this month in this blog :) )


... so at this stage, my impression is that there can be significant value in promoting blogs as part of the portfolio of approaches to learner-centred workplace learning & professional development.

Clearly there will be a range of 'barriers' to blogging - especially for those who are not early adopters. Hence a challenge of the Learning professional will be to understand the resistance and help minimise the concerns of colleagues.