What started out as a fragmented idea, fueled by curiosity and encouraged by a certain lecturer, has now evolved into a research project and paper, the presentation to be made at the New Librarians’ Symposium, held in Perth next weekend.
Here, with this post, I’m reflecting on the inception of this project, trying to articulate my thoughts and clarify the purpose of my presentation. So don’t mind me. 🙂
When the call for papers for NLS5 was announced last year, as quickly as ideas emerged, I had initially dismissed the opportunity. I didn’t think my ideas would be good enough for a serious discussion with somebody, let alone presenting them.
This little research project inspired the start of ‘Flight Path’, and the beginning of an increased presence in the online LIS community. My research looked at the adoption and development of a new information professional’s, my own, personal learning network. I have attempted to capture what it’s like to establish connections and build relationships with others in the community by sharing my thoughts and experiences here, conversing in the Twitter-sphere, and measuring elements of PLN participation and building with quantitative data. The focus was not so much on the tools I used, but how I used them – the strategies and lessons – demonstrating the immersion into the online community “in action”. It’s all very well to set up tools – Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, a blog, etc – but to support PLN growth and the approach to continual professional development, the way the tools are used ultimately determines PLN effectiveness.
Outcomes of my research is by no means complete, nor was it a perfect methodology. What I believe I’ve achieved (and wish to contribute and share) is the establishment of a benchmark for measuring effective and engaging personal learning networks, identification of strategies for PLN adoption and possibly an enhanced understanding of the concept by learning about and applying network theory and connectivism.
The purpose of my presentation is to reflect and share my experiences of PLN development. The aim is to inspire, guide and encourage other new information professionals who may be uncertain about starting out in the online LIS community. I admitted long ago that the mere thought of using technologies and tools was very daunting and difficult to comprehend. There is no doubt in my mind others feel the same way. What I’ll be trying to achieve with my presentation is to put these thoughts at ease, assure there’s plenty of people to assist (and are very happy to!), and show that successful immersion into the online LIS community and the establishment of a personal learning network can happen with small steps.
So the end is near, a chapter comes to a close for this piece of research. Following NLS5, I think I’ll sit down to consider what the next steps will be. What aspect of the PLN concept can I clarify or expand on next?
If interested in some background reading, here’s some key posts I’ve written on PLNs.