by alison

I thought I’d revisit this post. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I started blogging since my world has been surrounded lately by such an amazing assortment of worldwide learners, many of whom are taking their initial steps into open, networked/connected learning. I remember thinking after the first orientation session, “I have to blog my THOUGHTS? What do I know with any authority?” To top it off, only a few other classmates were in programs focused on adult learning-most were K-12 focussed. Only one classmate, my friend Kevin, was interested in Human Resource Development/workplace learning topics. I wondered what the application might be to my circumstances. I wondered what my dad and Kevin had gotten me into.

But blog I did. I started by writing about issues I’d been thinking about since my Trends in Human Resources Development (HRD) course from the summer-how knowledge flows in organisations-and how I thought it could relate to my very virtual workplace. Then I thought: Who would read this? I wasn’t sure but decided to worry less about that and try to connect the material we were discussing in class with my own experience and my organisation’s needs. I decided to treat it like a reflective journal I had kept as part of an assignment a year earlier… and I pretended it was just a conversation between me and my prof…

So I hit publish and just went for it. I tweeted out my new post, Alec picked it up and shared it, and the comments went from there. Even if I’d not received responses, the exercises were great for me to synthesise what I was learning. And that was more important than any correction from a critic, typo or other scariness.

I recently published an article in Hybrid Pedagogy. I’d be a liar if I said it was a breeze publishing with ‘authority’ on a subject-it was slightly terrifying. However, like this post, I was pleasantly surprised again.

So, my advice: Blog what you’re thinking. Blog your questions. It brings surprising rewards.


My Twitter Class of ’08 by mallix, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  mallix 

As you may have noticed from my last entry, I am interested in how virtual knowledge sharing networks—virtual communities of practice—can be fostered and maintained through social media and/or other e-strategies. In organisations, it is proposed this continual sharing and learning helps the firm to remain competitive and able to respond to change. Also, there is huge potential for tacit knowledge to be shared, and with  downsizing currently taking place across my organisation, knowledge management has become a critical issue. Particularly of interest to me is the retention of tacit knowledge, since previous cutbacks in my organisation have caused a gap in mid-career employees whose organisational experience could ladder into upper management positions.

It seemed logical to me, then, to start with a fundamental question: What stimulates a virtual community of practice to share knowledge?

According to Daniel, Schwier & McCalla (2003), the development of social capital

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