Learning in Real Time..?

Believe me, I know, Ouseful.info is generally all over the place, with occasional 2-3 week forays down very narrowly focussed (if you’re outside the area) rabbit holes…

And I know, I know, comments like: “you’re so productive it’s hard to keep up” do reoccur, which make me feel both good and bad.. because just STOP there for a minute…

…if you’re in full time HE studying how many hours a week, you’re expected to absorb how many new concepts and big ideas a week as part of your studies…?

…and I blog maybe 1-2 hours of study-time material a day (how many lecture hours a day does a full time student cope with)?

So where are we at? Folk do a degree to give them lifelong learning skills, and maybe get a grip on some power concepts/models that will help them keep making sense of the world after uni?

And to get the grades, they need to spend 20+ hours a week learning things new them that bore the hell out of their lecturers because it’s f***ing obvious to a PhD in the subject (but the students are A’level educated, not 3 years full time PhDing about arcana in the subject, remember…)

I spend maybe 20 hours a week trying to learn stuff, and maybe 10 hours a week blogging what I’ve learned or observed. The learning generally comes from me asking myself a question about how to do or build something, and then trying to figure out how to do it given: a) what I already know/have blogged about; b) what I think I need to search for given what I know I don’t know how to do.

Two things come to mind here: 1) I refer to my own blog posts a lot because: a) I typically don’t remember how to do something I’ve done before; but b) can generally remember if I’ve figured out how to do something before and blogged it; 2) I enjoy figuring things out for the first time for me…. Then I blog it as an offboard memory device. If I come across a new problem, I try to recall a related problem I’ve blogged a solution to, or I go to Stack Overflow.

So.. am I productive? What does that mean???? I think I’m on a daily learning journey, and I blog the result. Students are too… The only difference is, they’re following a path that is curriculum decided and known in advance to their instructor, and I;m making my journey up on an hourly basis.

Here’s a question I used to ask to wind up folk in my department: what did you learn how to do for the first time today? My day generally doesn’t start until I’ve come up with a problem and figured out how to solve it. Which is maybe why I’m not productive in a corporate/instituional sense at all

Just sayin’…

NOTE: this blog post was written/posted at way past my bed time in my own time…so please bear in mind that maybe it’s the cider talkin’…;-)

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

3 thoughts on “Learning in Real Time..?”

  1. You’re so productive Tony ;)

    Love the idea of learning to o something new everyday, that is an awesome way to start one;s day and it does explain a lot about how awesome you are. It is the everydayness of your creative thinking that makes it so powerful, an for many remarkable. Your quotidian is not quotiian for most :)

    1. Thanks JIm – it also explains (maybe) why I’m so bad at joining in open online courses – I’m too selfish doing my own learning thang;-)

      Re: the productivity, you and Cogdog are both way up there I think – I take the line that I generally don’t need to figure out how to do the image/audio creativity stuff myself because I can just crib what you guys are up to;-)

      I think the approach we all follow is that the teaching is doing through exposing our own learning, and maybe dropping in a few qualified comments about how/why we took a particular approach, as well as documenting the stuff that doesn’t quite work/isn’t necessarily the best way of doing something, but is *a* way we found in absence of knowing any better. And the trick then is to reflect on what we’ve done and spot what it was we were actually trying to do know we know better. (@sabrown and I both doodled ideas for a site once that we termed KWINK (Knowing what I know know) – it was to a be a place to document how you’d done something before you knew any better, and then from hindsight describe a better way…;-0

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