Tony Karrer's eLearning Blog on e-Learning Trends eLearning 2.0 Personal Learning Informal Learning eLearning Design Authoring Tools Rapid e-Learning Tools Blended e-Learning e-Learning Tools Learning Management Systems (LMS) e-Learning ROI and Metrics

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Blogging and Collaboration

Great post by Tom Haskins says - among other things:

If a blog post does not feed back into the blogosphere, that's not blogging. That's merely informative -- or it's the formal learning we did before blogging took hold. If the value of your blogging is not endlessly recursive, then you can conceive of your value like before. If a blog post goes nowhere, that's a web log: an online personal diary.

Blogging is the repercussions and the reciprocities from responding to responses. That circularity transforms how you are valuable and how you learn. That's what emerges naturally by blogging among us.
I agree with Tom that the intent of blogging is dialog. If you don't plan to engage with others, then you really aren't having a dialog. On the other hand, you don't necessarily need lots of readers or commentors to get the value. Forcing yourself to formulate thoughts and capture those into written form for public consumption is a great learning vehicle. See some of the dialog in - Top Ten Reasons to Blog and Not to Blog.

Dave Lee expresses some concern that he may not be a blogger because of lack of comments that he receives. But I think you should look at his conclusions, among them:
i've learned more than i'd ever image i could, my writing has improved (it still needs work), and i've connected with some great people i would have never met if it weren't for blogging.

Dave's still not broke down and tried capital letters at the start of his sentences, but, hey, ...


Paul Coyne said...

I still consider myself a blogger newbie.

It's taken around 10 months for me to stop simply copying and pasting interesting posts from my most read blogs/sites and move to using my blog as a medium that allows me to express thoughts and opinions, usually ill-defined, but over time I have developed my thinking along a number of lines. I've recieved the odd comment here and there, and recently started adding my own comments to others.

This is tremendously liberating - and, crucially, it has made me a lot more productive for my employer.

I've now receieved the backing from my own board to deploy this kind of technology throughout the enterprise and encourage spontanous CoPs/Blogs to emerge. And that couldn't have happened without being able to convince them that the personal learning that takes palce when you blog - to yourself or to the wind - had real value.

Collaboration isn't just personally satisfying and entertaining - it also makes sound commercial sense.

I'm hoping our author/editor community will start to feel, even more so, a part of our business after we have platforms for authentic dialogue in place. I know I'm looking forward to the dialogues that will emerge.

I'll keep you posted on our progress.

Wendy said...

Initially, I didn't agree with Tom's definition of blogging. I started my blog to help myself process some of my experiences.

It is to the credit of this corner of the bloggosphere that people comment and link to my posts - forcing a dialog that has been more productive that I could ever imagine.

That, and Tom is slowly guilting me into posting more comments through his writing :' )

Clark Quinn said...

Tony, I think your own comment on Dave's learnings from blogging without comment suggests it's not about dialog. I believe that blogging is about reflection; reprocessing, and for instance a student's blogging might not be of interest to practitioners (and vice-versa).

If it's dialog you want, I'll argue that a discussion board makes more sense. It's hard to comment on a blog (extra overhead) while replying to an email is easy.

Tony Karrer said...

Paul - I hope you'll create a post that says exactly that!

Wendy - really good insight.

Clark - that's an interesting comment. I think that much of my learning comes from reflection, reprocessing, synthesis, and capture. However, what am I reflecting upon. It's normally other blog posts or reading a discussion group. You are right that discussion groups are great for instant dialog and the effect is somewhat similar. My point was that if you had no expectation of interaction, then blogging would not be the same.

Tom Haskins said...

The comments here are wonderful for me to consider. I also got to thinking beyond what I wrote and added another, more inclusive post today. When I think about using blogging for processing, I do lots of processing before I write as well as during the writing. I also ponder what I've read and sometimes come up with a comment like right now. I reflect on other's comments, processing and reflections which takes me further than can happen on my own. So Tony's theme of dialogue, taken as contrast to thinking privately in isolation, seems right to me. Perhaps interactivity or interdependence is a better word.

I could say "you shouldn't feel guilted into adding comments" but that would book another guilt trip about getting guilted ;-)