Networked Learning

The concept of ‘learning’ is talked about extremely often in the college environment, but Dr. Wesch stated well in his Ted Talk in how we have looked at learning as just dumping information into peoples’ heads. He continues to talk about students sneaking right passed the education just trying to get through the class with the needed grade to move on to the next one. At times during both my undergraduate/graduate experiences, I have felt like that student just trying to go through the motions to get the grade and move on to the next class as quickly as possible. However, my experiences outside of the classroom was ultimately where I found the ‘real learning’ he discussed. I wrestled with the questions of ‘who am I, what am I going to do, am I going to make it’ and didn’t really ever talk with someone about those until the start of my senior year, almost too late to adjust anything about my experience. I had to make the decision to stop being ‘comfortable’ in the position I was in, and take a chance on a new/different career and type of work. In undergraduate I was definitely with lots of other students focusing “more on careers and ‘competencies’ and less about inquiry, meaning-making, and broadly humane view of human capacity” (Networked Learning as Experimental Learning). That quote from Campbell outlines the change of focus I had to make entering graduate school or else I was not going to be able to get anything out of the program.

The idea of ‘networked learning’ I first think about social media and how the world is utilizing that to network with each other, but the learning part is usually not there. Godin talks about the humility needed for blogging and how you are having to explain yourself with the post. Humility is something usually lost in most posts in social media, and blogging has the edge when it comes to most of the posts being impactful on others based on someone opening up and sharing their organized (or sometimes not) thoughts. Social media is a beast and I could rant about its negative impact on college students in relation to ‘networked learning,’ but I will focus on how as college administrators, we are responsible for helping in students finding that transformation needed to learn from their experiences. As Dr. Wesch talked about all of the stories, all it took was reaching out to the student and finding what they needed to succeed or at least listen to their unique story. Some students need a lot of help and support, while others just need someone to listen to kick start their learning. We need to work to (or continue to) focus on helping students learn how to build a life worth living, and not just how to make a living.

4 Replies to “Networked Learning”

  1. Mic drop BTW “helping students learn how to build a life worth living, and not just how to make a living”!

    Like you point out in your post, there are pros and cons to everything. In relation to your statement I quoted above though, the balance of what, how, and how much is shaped and guided for students – undergrads, grads, docs, post-docs – shaped by people that we work with and who we are around. As educators a big responsibility is to do exactly that – shape a life and not just a living. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Matt I also really appreciated that last line of helping students to learn how to build a life worth living. I think students as well as professionals get too caught up in the money and job aspect of life and sometimes don’t focus on what makes them happy and can still make money and a fruitful career. Being in the higher ed program I think we have learned ways to challenge and support our students so they start thinking a little more about this concept and not solely on how they can make a living.

  3. This was a great read! I absolutely agree with your last sentence also, and I really like how you tied this with networked learning. I think you bring up good points about social media being a “beast” but I also think that using in within networked learning would potentially have more benefits.

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