Friday, 10 July 2009

Blogs and learning styles

... well: this is really going to be: MY blog and MY learning style, but: nothing wrong with a bit of generalisation, I suppose.

Jeanette had a useful review of her 1000+ blog entries and her summary of what the blog has enabled her to do made a lot of sense when I was looking back to two years of writing blog posts.

The last June weekend I was again in Bath, at the School of Management of the University of Bath for the third workshop on facilitation - Facilitation in complex adaptive systems was the title of a truly fantastic weekend. While I went through the material from the first course and the second (which I missed) I came across a questionnaire on learning styles - and the role of learning styles for facilitation.

This had come up at many points over the past few months and my various training, tutoring and other workshoppy things I have begun to fill my life with. Generally curious rather than not, I will look favourably at many survey topics and have a go at filling them in.

While preparing this post, I found this website which employs a similar frame of Kolb's and Honey & Mumford's learning cycles and styles to the one we used for the workshop. Have a look at this site and a questionnaire (should you care).

There are two clear preferences for how I like to learn:

1. strongest: by doing,
2. moderately: by reflection

I am pretty indifferent to pragmatism (unsurprising) and to theory (somewhat surprising given my love for anything heavy and conceptual ranging from state theory to poststructuralist feminism*).

My mother tends to designate my (1) preference as: you never listen; my friends tend to say about my (2) preference: you overanalyse.

And you know what?

The blog is perfect for both: it's about writing (reflection) about the stuff I've done - the stuff that worked well, the stuff that worked less well and the stuff that was a plain disaster. And, while we're on the writing: you can write about the writing and the thinking too (ditto). - It's fairly quick, can be haphazard, frequently half-baked, but will leave some sort of record, a place to go back to - which I frequently do and to move on (if not forward) with.

Thus, blogging for me is frequently 'trying out' - how does that look, sound, feel. There is a plan, - as general direction 'towards' or sometimes only 'away from'. But specificities of such direction don't exist, are to be filled in, developed, formulated or abandoned while walking, jumping or backtracking. That doesn't mean that it is spontaneous in content. Frequently stuff I write about has had time to prove in a warm cupboard for a year or so. But posting it, moves it on - it gives it shape, form, a name.

Yesterday's post on fields, commons and enclosures helped with some associations. Once it looked back at me it shouted technology and computer language at me... fields... commons... enclosures - not in the landscape but on the web. Interesting... let's associate more freely for a bit more. - Ha, and that's been one of the insights of doing all these courses on learning styles, project management and team management: to recognise what one can do well, prefers; to find ways of keeping working on such strengths; and to get one or several workarounds for the stuff that's in the blind spot: for me, that's clearly detail and a pragmatic approach.

But maybe the blog can work for those, too?

...oh, and I do like images, too. So, apologies for still being so stingey on images
... somehow the visuals are absent at the moment,
but I hope they'll resume soon...

*well, possibly not: it keeps me intrigued, feeds my imagination and my love for concepts, connections and possibilities - but it's not how I like to learn.

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