Documenting Learning

First Jump

cc licensed (CC BY 2.0) flickr photo by Expert Infantry

I am “dropping in” once again to the DS106 community and getting settled…in a running-to-catch-up sort of way. I know that within this open, creative community there is no judgment about “being behind” or “needing to catch up” but there is a pace that one doesn’t simply step into but must ramp up to. I’m chugging along, cutting my vegetables as I put them in the stew. There are design assignments to take up, peer blogs to read, community art/making to peruse and cheer on but for now there is me, ramping up and building my confidence, one Daily Create at a time.

Today, the Daily Create assignment (#631) was to list twenty ways I can document my learning and note how many of these methods I’ve done so far this week. Spoiler alert: maybe, I’ve done none of them. But for me this was a really interesting exercise because I immediately applied my old thinking to the question/problem and nearly dismissed the assignment as super-simple (a bore really)…and then I began to reflect a little. And I found that I couldn’t quite get my pointy head around it. I found myself getting stuck as I really attempted to honor the question of how I document the learning…; perhaps, the moment-of-learning-acknowledgment. I jotted some thoughts and notes initially and I really enjoyed having this conundrum to come back to, again and again, throughout the day. The act of posing this questions created a stable space for me — a home base for me to return to — as I moved throughout the day. I believe this was a gift.

While I could delve deeply into this for days or even a week, I see the value in making art and moving on, or thinking my “thinks” and clearing the canvas. My responses, along with the responses of other DS106 chums can be found by going to the assignment (linked above) but I’ve also included my response below. But if pressed for a concise answer, I find myself returning to the remarkable short video of Jim Gee talking about the silliness of giving a test to someone who just made it through a computer video game (e.g., Halo). He gently argues that the act of completion is evidence of learning. It would likewise be silly to ask the parachutist in the image above to document the learning of parachuting. The act of a safe landing is all the documentation we need, no?

Is that documented learning or the sound of one hand clapping?

This exercise seemed easy until I actually began to break it down to the core…and then I was stuck just nibbling around the cookie. I can’t say I actually identified the dynamic of learning; maybe process, maybe product. But the ineffable taste of melted ice settling in a glass or the sound of abrasive moonlight…these are easier to capture than the open moment of learning.

20 Methods for documenting learning

  1. journaling
  2. mind-mapping my way back to the beginning
  3. make it to be given away as a gift
  4. screenshots and other in-the-moment snapshots
  5. creating “recipes” of the learning
  6. saving the bits and the mistakes
  7. repetition
  8. variation on top of the repetition
  9. ask for help
  10. resist the temptation to ask for help
  11. ignore past recipes
  12. re-do something that I was really satisfied with
  13. re-do something intentionally wrong
  14. concluding something when I am satisfied and not necessarily when it is “done”
  15. displaying it on the wall
  16. sharing it with friends and family
  17. abandoning it in public
  18. complicating what I once thought was simple
  19. simplifying what I once approached with unnecessary complexity
  20. taking a moment to acknowledge (and appreciate) when I am becoming associated with my work (i.e., “dad makes the best cheesy eggs”)

About Seth Goodman

Denizen of the southwest, college employee, ASU graduate student, unofficial student of Edu Tech; focused on family...tentatively enthralled by everything else.
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2 Responses to Documenting Learning

  1. Pingback: Documenting Learning, or Learning? « Bill Smith ds106 experimentation

  2. Pingback: Arriving at a Conclusion | netnography and the 'hood

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