You cannot do everything by yourself. No matter how hard you try and how much you know, there are always going to be times when you are going to need help, or someone is going to know something that you do not. It is undeniable. There is too much information and too much knowledge out there. One cannot learn from all four stages of learning (Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom) alone. It is an innate quality in humans to ask for help, as babies often cry to get whatever they need, be it food or cleaning, but it is also a quality that we sometimes tend to lose along the way. Luckily, many people realize this at a young age, and when trouble arises, they ask for help. Not only does that simple raise of the hand aid in solving the problem that is presented at the time, but it also may lead to solutions of future problems in the form of a larger Personal Learning Network.
A Personal Learning Network is the connections a person has that he or she can gain knowledge from. A person’s network starts from infancy, where he can learn what to do and what not to do from his parents and his family. As he grows up, his network extends to his teachers, his classmates, and his friends. For as long as one can keep in touch with these connections, they are included in his personal learning network. However, that is never an easy thing to do. Luckily, the internet has made keeping touch a much easier task.
Things like Facebook and Twitter and MSN gives everyone an equal opportunity to continue to keep in touch with their network, while learning about others and growing their network in the process. In addition, people are now able to even have their network extend to people they do not even know personally, as the information that is passed through these internet networks at any given moment far outweighs the information that one can possible learn in a lifetime. One can now find any information through these networks on the internet. Of course, one is also expected to contribute to the networks that he belongs to.
There are so many networks out there that I am not taking advantage of. My network is still mainly the people I have met from school and from work. I would like to expand my network by using these tools that are available to me. There are many types that I plan to use:
Blogs – focused discussion and related links.
Wiki – websites with personalized notes.
Information Gathering Tools:
RSS – live feed information
Social Networking Tools:
LinkedIn – a network similar to Facebook, which I already use.
Flickr – share images and videos and receive feedback.
Google Docs – set of sharable documents for group projects.
FreeMind – mind mapping tool for information organizing and processing.
Many people, when faced with a task, simply still just ask around or try to Google for the answer, without realizing that there is a whole world out there filled with people who are seemingly waiting to answer your questions. I will take advantage of this as a way to expand my horizons and to meet others who share my interests, as well as a way to find help in my career path.