Friday, 6 March 2015

Learning Out Loud

So you've probably picked up on one of the more recent buzz-phrases of 'working out loud' - this is where you start to share more of your work using (for the most part) social media tools such as blogging tools like this one, Twitter and Disqus to interact with others about what you are doing.  It's a very healthy thing and fits nicely with my general 'blurting' theory that we should be sharing more and avoid over-processing and the concentration on making things factually right.  In fact one of the most refreshing things to come out of the working out loud theory is that it's okay to share your failures every bit as much as your successes - ask questions and generally explore this way.

In a #pkmchat this morning I also stated that I learned out loud too.  What does this mean and what's the difference to working out loud?  Mmm... it could be semantics, it could be that they're the same thing to some people and that's fine (learning is pervasive after all).  To me learning out loud is taking the perpetual beta stage that many of us believe we're in and then not being afraid to broadcast that and shape your opinions on the fly and in public.  If we're in the right frame of mind and continually learning then doing this in the 'open' would seem like a healthy way of learning.

How do you learn out loud?  Well, the tools are the same, this blog is an example of learning out loud and I would say this is over and above working out loud.  Reason is that I'm not here blogging the answers and teaching you the facts, I'm adapting my thoughts and sharing them, gaining ideas, developing theories that I never believe will lead to concrete facts.  Those of you who know me on Twitter (@the_nthdegree) will probably have experienced some of this - I often seem to play devil's advocate and challenge people's views.  I don't do this just to provoke a reaction (well... not just...) but because it helps me (and hopefully others) to challenge and shape our thinking - this is essentially the very essence of learning and when we do it with others this is what I think of as learning out loud.

So to work out loud you need to be brave enough to put yourself out there, to learn out loud takes something different - a certain intellectual humility to do this in the public arena and not be afraid of how that makes you look.  If you're worried about your image and the hit to your credibility then this may not be the best approach for you, there again if that's your primary concern then maybe you're not in learning mode at all.  Learning out loud to me is actually developing and evolving out in the open - it's also liberating because you don't have to feel you've got everything right before you broadcast it.  If you're comfortable with a group of friends in a social setting you probably feel fine discussing things that you may not know that much about and that's a great way of learning and sharing in social learning style.  If you can extrapolate that to sharing with people you may not know (yet) or don't know personally you can learn more... and sometimes much much more because you have access to people much wider than your circle of friends.

So what's the difference between learning out loud and social learning?  Could be semantics again, but the difference I see is that learning out loud is part of social learning but not necessarily the other way round.  What I mean is that learning out loud is clearly an example of learning and involving others by socialising your ideas, concepts and learnings, social learning doesn't mean you have to do that - you can participate in social learning and contribute small reserved pieces - learning out loud is social learning without the reservations.

Great to see a piece on this by @kjeannette which she posted after reading my previous post on 'blurting'.  Blurting is what I called 'working out loud' before I heard others talking about it - again shaping my learning as I go and hopefully shaping others.  Here's a link to that piece:  If you want to know more about working out loud, check out this excellent piece by Nick Leffler 

As always, happy for anyone to help shape my thoughts here... please feel free to respond or Disqus below :)