Mapping My Learning Connections


February 2, 2012 by idinnovation

When I look at my mind map I notice that I am very much connected to my family network and tend to notice the environment in which I live, work and learn.  I am a very introspective observant person and take notice not only of people but also the situations that occur around me.  As I take in the nonverbal communication as well as the verbal communication that is constantly occurring around me I am learning.  This is consistent with Merriam and Fenwick (2008) where they note that “workplace learning is not just human change but interconnections of humans and their actions with rules, tools, and texts, cultural, and material environments.”

I recently had a conversation with a friend about a potential project she wants me to work on for her.  I told her I needed the previously created program file before I would commit to working on it.  It’s not that I do not think I can work on the file although as I mentioned to her there would be a learning curve. She said she does not mind.  We began to talk about why I needed the actual program and not just the program specifications.  She is also a tutor and knows that I am working towards the MS in Instructional Design so the conversation easily shifted to our different learning styles.  She said she assumed the documents would be enough for me since they made sense even when she read them. I laughed a friendly laugh and said but you said you’re not technical.  I guess you are wondering what I am actually talking about.  The project is a website design and marketing project.  What I explained to her is that while I can learn software programs very easily IF I am using them reading about them teaches me only the very basic and is not easy for me to retrieve the information that I have read.  She on the other hand is the exact opposite and can easily read and comprehend information.  She’s not even tempted to try it herself!  But I digress…back to mind mapping.

I use many different tools to enhance my learning.  If things relate to education I usually speak to my family because a lot of them have doctorates in education and provide a wealth of information both about education in general and guidance/feedback about projects and research I am working on.  When completing homework assignments generally I use the course documents and the internet.  Normally I will locate information that is written in laymen terms and I can compare and contrast those materials with my school materials, websites and online journals.   Conlan, Grabowski and Smith (2003) note that classroom instruction is inefficient because half of the people are in the class working on their jobs or other assignments/task and the other half are so happy to be off work that they have turned their minds completely off.  Having been a student in the classroom setting in both undergrad and graduate school I can honestly admit that I was likely in the percentage of students that had turned their minds off.  It’s not for a lack of interest in the topics being discussed but a mixture of mind fatigue and boredom.  Often time’s materials are presented in a way that are uninteresting and it seems that you are being talked at by the professor.  Lack of engaging discussions and group activities cause students with workplace experience to become bored and uninterested in the lecture being discussed.  Conlan, Grabowski and Smith (2003) note that we teachers use “Action Learning” defined as an approach to working and developing people which allows them to work on a real project or problem.  Participants should work in small groups or teams to figure out how to complete the project or solve the problem. With the help of a learning coach they can learn from the experience and learn how they learn as individuals.  The components of Action Learning are as follows:

  1. Creating small action groups of three to four people based on the learning or real world experiences.
  2. Emphasis is places on diversity within the groups so that each group is equipped to contribute to the learning environment.
  3. Learning coaches are assigned to each group and the learning coaches themselves become a group.
  4. As with most groups a group leader is chosen, the project leader and the learning coach act as organizers, facilitators, and motivators for the group.
  5. Action learning involves learning from experience through reflection and action within the group.
  6. The groups must work with each other over a longer time period in order to establish themselves.

Some schools are now experimenting with group learning and rotations.  The rotations keep all the students that start the program together finish together and remain in the same class with each other thereby creating alliances and a community environment.  During high school my school did this same sort of grouping which I did not really like. However, as review and learn more about education and the benefits of group work I am more interested in learning about classroom groupings versus online class groupings.  While some might think less communication occurs in the online environment I believe that more communication occurs within the discussion boards that are utilized in online classrooms.  This is primarily due to the 24 hour nature of the internet and all the networks that it connects.

Conlan, J., Grabowski, S., & Smith, K. (2003). Adult learning. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from

Merriam, S. B. (2008). Adult learning theory for the twenty-first century. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 119, 93–98.

For a PDF of the document please use the following link Sharifa Adisa Mind Map

2 thoughts on “Mapping My Learning Connections

  1. DeAnn says:

    Sharifa – I really like how you mapped out your ideas about Connectivism – very creating and easy to understand!

  2. jobynamcgee says:

    Sharifa: It has been good working with you in our class because you always bring well informed analysis to the table. I hope we will also be in future classes, and I think you have a bright future. J.B.

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