When I started to think about a career change from engineering to the educational field I did not know where to start or what steps to take. In order to organize my ideas I went online and started researching about the different fields in education and what could be more suitable to me. In this research I found an incredible amount of information and I realized that I could start creating projects and building my own professional experiences with the guidance of all the tools available. I found blogs with valuable information such as practical tips that I could start putting into practice in my current work environment.
But one of the most fantastic tools that I found was the communities in the Learning and Development field, with people sharing their knowledge. Some of the members of these communities have relevant experience in the field and share information through podcasts, videos on Youtube, webinars, blogs, and articles in websites. It is even possible to establish a more direct connection with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
My learning network has changed the way I learn, because traditionally I was enrolling in a face-to-face course and receiving the information passively from the instructor. Now, with the different elements in my learning network I have more time to reflect and post my own comments on a particular topic. I have more flexibility in exploring the content that is relevant to me and I take control of my learning process.
Another advantage I encounter in my learning network is the different methods used to present content, which provides a rich diversity to learn from one topic in different ways. For example, if I want to investigate about adult learning theories, I start consulting the different sources in my learning network and I find videos explaining the principles of adult learning, I find also posts in blogs with comments from the readers, diagrams in websites, and podcasts. After visiting those resources, I start making my own opinion and ideas about the topic, I start commenting in the forums, and I can even reflect on the subject and make my own contribution in my blog.
From all those resources available in my learning network I learn easier with videos and diagrams. I can read extensive texts, but as soon as I see a picture, a diagram, or a video, I immediately get the idea the author is trying to transmit. However, when it comes to writing my own reflection about a topic, I like to consult educational journals to read more studies in the topic that can be based on deeper research and then can support my idea with more evidence.
And those educational journals are my main source of information when I have a question about a subject. I start exploring answers to my questions in the different articles available in the educational journals and databases. However, access to those journals are most of the time subject to subscription, then if it is not possible to have access I consult the blogs, or using Twitter I send my question directly to the groups, or forums.
Finally, I would like to mention that my learning network supports the principles of connectivism due to the diversity of opinions, the process of learning where relevant sources of information are connected and there is a continual learning process through the connections with the resources. Also, the currency of the information and learning activities, and the decision-making process that involves managing information that can be correct right now but it could be modified in the future (Siemens, 2014).
Siemens, G. (2014). Connectivism: a learning theory for the digital age. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm