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Blogs as learning tools

Rosetta Thurman at Perspectives From the Pipeline, a blog focused on nonprofit leadership from a young leader’s perspective, has a great essay up on her blog about using blogs as low-cost learning tools. It’s a nice take on the value of blogs, since I think a lot us tend to default to thinking of blogs as communication vehicles even as we use them as learning tools ourselves.

She has a lot to say, but I particularly like her ideas for using blogs as a group professional development tool within a nonprofit organization. She suggests starting by distributing a list of blogs for staff to read, perhaps as a hyperlinked Word document (I would add that giving staff instructions on how to set up a feed reader like Bloglines or Google Reader would also work well). She also suggests scheduling regular half-hour “knowledge jam sessions” for discussion of what staff learned from blogs in the past week.

Michele Martin just happens to be posting on a related topic in her blog: how to help staff at your organization create their own personal learning environments. Michele has a bunch of great ideas on how to nurture a culture of learning and on the many tools staff can use to become self-directed learners.

Lots of good stuff—especially as professional development becomes more and more important to professional staffers.



Great post and great resources. I think we have only seen the really power and efficacy of blogs begin to emerge. Sure there are a number of highly respected individuals like George Siemens and Stephen Downes speak at length of the power of blogs as learning tools and creating PLEs consistent to what Michelle is discussing in her posts, but up until this point it has been largely academic.

I think as people become more comfortable with the medium we are going to see a lot of great ideas and approaches emerge. Great find.

Thanks for highlighting these two resources, Lisa. I was particularly glad to find Rosetta's posting, as I have been looking for thinking along these lines. I recommend this post to anyone who is ready to start thinking beyond "traditional" e-learning approaches.

Dave, thanks for the links to George Siemens and Stephen Downes--they both have a ton of interesting things to say. I'll have to check out their blogs in more detail.

Jeff, I'm glad the link to Rosetta's post was helpful to you! If you end up using some of her ideas, I hope you have a chance to drop a comment back to let us know how it works for you.

Hi Lisa,

Thanks for highlighting my post! It's great to see people in the nonprofit and association world becoming more interested in new methods of learning for staff.

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