There are many social media tools available today that can have powerful results in your professional endeavors. This presentation is about working in the open. I want you to know how to build your personal learning network and effectively use that network to reduce your workload, create better programs and become recognized as an expert in your field. From this presentation you will learn the best practices for getting started in working out loud as well as how to select the tools you need to be effective and productive.
If I do my job right, these are the 3 takeaway messages you will receive:
Improved communications is essential to eliminate duplicate work and collaborating. Collaborating is essential to creating excellent programs. “Working out loud” is an effective way to improve communications and share what you are doing and learn what others are doing.
If you start each project from ground zero, you will never build an awesome program. But, if you can build on what others have done, then the same time investment can take you much farther. The only way you can build on what others have done is to know what they are doing.
Build your Personal Learning Network (PLN) and connect with the experts in your field. Chances are they are not the people in your normal ‘chain of command’. You will probably find them across the country or world or it may be a coworker a few counties away.
Why not set the example and start sharing what you are working on and what you are learning? Become the mentor to your colleagues that are just starting. Become famous for what you know - at least within your circles.
Shadows and Light via Seth Godin
There are two ways to get ahead: the race to the bottom and the race to the top.
You can get as close to the danger zone as you dare. Spam people. Seek deniability. Hide in the shadows. Push to close every sale. Network up, aggressively. Always leave yourself an out.
Or, you can do your work out loud, in public, and for others. Be relentlessly generous, without focusing on when it will come back to you.
In each case, the race to the bottom or the race to the top, you might win. Up to you.
Working Out Loud via Stan Skrabut
Learning doesn't have to take a lot of time.
We should be regularly sharing what are we are learning and why we are learning it. A post does not have to be long.
We need to capture information of people before they leave the organization.
What you do is not the same as how you get it done. We can document the process but people often don't document relationships. Knowledge is connected across time, locations, and people.
We should be sharing why we do something specific. Talking about learning helps you learn it better. Sharing lessons helps everyone learn.
Is there a reason why it needed to be private? Not all things must be private.
Most employees believe they should share what they do. We need to make what we do transparent. We need to regularly contribute to larger body of knowledge.
To develop your personal learning network, you need to participate.
Opportunities for Working Out Loud
There has been an increased emphasis on working out loud as well as curating and sharing resources.
Our Extension educators should be curating resources, combining them in useful ways, adding value through their expertise, and sharing them with the public or internally so that others can benefit.
A curator can provide expertise and passion that a normal search does not provide. This is the value that Extension can provide.
There are many different tools that can be used to curate, add value, and share with others. Some tools include Pinterest, blogging, wikis, etc.
The key is the adding of value, otherwise it is simply a collection.
We need educators to actively make connections with resources and people.
Formal courses or workshops are a curation of content. We now need to look at other ways to share curated content.
There needs to be strategic plan to curate. Need to get the right people at the table. Need direction from the top. Needs to be easy to pull information together. Make process known.
How to Work Out Loud via Stan Skrabut
Journaling - Document your work publicly. For example, through a blog.
Explaining what you are learning and why - Just taking time to explain what you are learning and why will not only reinforce it for you but also allow others to benefit from your journey. Blog or social media posts do not have to be long to be useful.
Sharing how to do something - YouTube and Slideshare as examples of where people share details of how to do something. People want to share what they are doing. We need to be willing to share. There are countless ways that Extension educators can show how to do something that will not only benefit their local community but also the rest of the world. An example would be to creating short videos. Check out “Brief is Beautiful: Bite-size Content and the New E-learning“. This is something that educators can easily leverage to support learning.
Capturing knowledge before people leave - What happens when people leave? Their knowledge leaves too. In Extension, we are watching a number of people leave the organization and taking massive amounts of organizational knowledge with them. We need to be capturing information before people leave. Simply asking people to write down what they do before they depart is not enough, what you do is not the same as how you get it done. We often document the process but we don’t document relationships. Knowledge is connected across time locations and people. By showing your work, there is more of an opportunity to include those who help you meet your goals.
This is why I did something - Understanding why a high performer does something specific can be a huge learning moment. Additionally, talking about learning helps you learn it better.
Narrate as you go - We really do not have to train. We need to simply show our work. People will learn as we talk and show.
Guidance for showing your work - Showing your work makes what you do transparent. It also allows you to contribute to larger body of knowledge.
Most people believe they should share. We have to help them do it by keeping the process simple. We also need to help them choose the right medium.
Showing your work can also contribute to your personal learning. In order to develop your personal learning network, you need to participate. Showing your work is a powerful way to participate. Some ways for showing your work:
Metcalfe's law states that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users.
Encourage others to share.
Stepper, J. (2014, January 4). The 5 elements of Working Out Loud. Available at: johnstepper.com/2014/01/04/the-5-elements-of-working-out-loud
Holzband, J.B. (2015, April 1). Working Out Loud: What it is, How to Start. Available at: bloomfire.com/blog/working-out-loud-what-it-is-how-to-start
Paul Hill, Ph.D.
I design, plan, and evaluate economic development programs for Utah State University.
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