E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

The Essence of Connected Learning

Tenerife - Punta TenoOne of my other passions, that, coincidentally, don’t get to talk much about on this blog, but perhaps I should, is that fascinating topic of Learning. And not just learning within the Enterprise, a la learning in context, learning while at work, or embedded learning, in short, where a bunch of really smart, evocative and rather insightful folks have been sharing graciously, over the course of the years, their experiences, know-how, knowledge and expertise, like good friends such as Jay Cross, Jane Hart, Harold Jarche, Charles Jennings, Clark Quinn or other incredibly inspiring folks such as Dan PontefractStephen Downes, George Siemens, Donald Taylor,  Dave Cormier, amongst several others. I am actually talking about Learning in the wider, more general context of education, and where a good number of really inspiring stories continue to emerge to highlight how we may be on the tipping point of re-thinking learning itself and its purpose(s), as we have known it for decades, and, most importantly, how we have been dealing with it at schools, colleges and universities. It’s probably a good time now to, at long last, rethink the Essence of Connected Learning.

While I was in London last week at the Melcrum Digital Summit, to present on IBM’s journey towards becoming a successful social business in the context of talking about BlueIQ and our internal adoption experiences (Check this Slideshare link for the presentation materials that I used), I had the opportunity to engage on a superb range of offline, face to face, conversations on various different topics and one of my favourites was that one with Barnaby Logan where we talked extensively about learning and how it seems to have shifted gears, finally, into becoming much more relevant, networked, interconnected, social, technology enabled and, above all, with a clear purpose: re-engaging both students and teachers alike as part of the same immersive and adaptive learning experience. Very inspiring altogether!

Then as I come back home, after having finished up my last business trip, I get the opportunity to experience serendipity doing its magic, once again, and allowing me to bump into another short video clip, that lasts for a bit over six minutes, which points back to a rather inspirational Web resource: Connected Learning, under the suggestive title “The Essence of Connected Learning“:


The Essence of Connected Learning from DML Research Hub on Vimeo.


In that video we get to see how a few folks get to describe Connected Learning itself as a “model of learning that holds out the possibility of reimagining the experience of education in the information age. It draws on the power of today’s technology to fuse young people’s interests, friendships, and academic achievement through experiences laced with hands-on production, shared purpose, and open networks“, which I am not sure what you would think, but it certainly seems to be the right step in the right direction towards meaningful and purposeful learning activities over the course of time and taking into account the digital world we live in nowadays.

And while drafting together this blog entry and reference both the video clip as well as remembering the great conversations with Barnaby (Thanks much for those, by the way, Barnaby!), I just came to the realisation that from here onwards I am going to make an effort and blog on a more regular basis about this topic of social, adaptive, emergent, interconnected, technology driven learning and the kind of impact that is currently having not only within our societies as a whole, but within the business world, in particular.

When “work is learning and learning is the work“, as my good friend, Harold Jarche, recently blogged in a beautiful article on “When learning is the work …“, I guess we would need to figure out how we are going to continue to learn, unlearn and relearn, even from an early stage, if we would stay relevant in the 21st century, as my fellow colleague and good friend, Anna Dreyzin, recently talked in a short article she put together quoting Alvin Toffler: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”.

And it is now thanks to making all of those connections to these interesting resources, conversations and whatever else that I have, finally, made the connection into “Net Smart“, my good friend, Howard Rheingold‘s, latest masterpiece that I got on my way back on my Kindle App and that I have started reading recently, and where Howard gets to “provide evidence, advice and suggested practices for mastering today’s digital literacies of attention, participation, collaboration, crap-detection and network know-how“.

Ha! Talking about Connected Learning. I guess you will be seeing, from here onwards, plenty more articles on this topic over here in this blog. The spark just got ignited. Let’s see where it would take us. Care to join me / us?

It would be worth it.

Looking forward to learning plenty more on the subject along the way, too. No doubt!

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  1. In my application essay to the online/distance learning program at the University of London, I cited the need to “stay relevant in the 21st century” as one factor for wanting to go back to school. Staying relevant in the information age means that (for a start) I can now begin to hold informed and stimulating conversations with my college-age, liberal-arts educated kids. And this is just at the dinner table.

    Without the new learning options available, and the ability to produce and contribute to the larger conversation, people like me would be excluded, irrelevant, and ultimately, voiceless.

    1. Hi Miranda, and yet look at how powerful you surely can be by engaging in those conversations! That’s what’s so fascinating and empowering about these social technologies in how they help us shape how we do learning in context of what we are doing, when we are doing it. It’s rather interesting how liberating and engaging it feels how we have taken upon us making that learning experience as close to our needs as we possibly without other folks, who wouldn’t want us to do, intervening in the whole process. As far as I know that’s what’s so fascinating about the whole topic behind connected learning, informal learning and social learning, but for the very first time the ones who need to be “in control”, eventually, are 😀

      Welcome to the conversations!

  2. Luis, we (Clark, Harold, Charles, Jane, Paul, and I) definitely want to join you to further the conversation about learning.

    I was going to email you an invitation to mind-meld with the Internet Time Alliance. Then I realized your role as chief cheerleader in the anti-email wars and thought a comment would work better. After all, there’s nothing to hide here.

    Let’s take this up on Skype. We’re noodling away on integrating learning into social business, the shift to pull, personal knowledge management and meta skills, leveraging experience… you know, the whole nine yards of reincarnating learning as a sound business practice. The more we work with one another, the better our odds of moving the mountain.


    1. Hi Jay! Thanks much for dropping by, for the feedback and for noticing! Boy, I am in!! I have been mulling about it for a good few years now and have been exposed to it in multiple corporate environments, both my own company, and those of customers I keep working with and it’s certainly a hot topic enough to generate that new generation of how learning happens at work, while we work. Yes, indeed, the whole nine yards! And funny enough my schedule for next week is rather flexible, for a change, so happy to hook over over Skype and discuss plenty more about it! Let me know with a message on Skype, or over here, when it would be a good date / time and appreciated you respecting my #lawwe mantra.

      Way too cool! 😀

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