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Blogs as a Learning Tool

Blogs can be a very effective reflection and follow-up tool for learning programs. And they can be written in as few as 6 words!

A few weeks ago I released a podcast about using podcasts in learning programs. To keep with such a “meta” theme, today’s blog post focuses on using blogs as part of a learning program.

While I’ve come to love (and sometimes hate) that writing a post every week forces me to stay on top of new developments in learning and development just so that I have something to write about, blogs can be used for more than a platform for individuals to write articles.

This thought first dawned on me after I attended DevLearn in 2014. I spent some time reflecting on my conference experience and take-aways, and then I responded to the conference organizers’ invitation for attendees to write a guest post on their blog. (Here is the post if you’re curious.)

Encourage Reflection

If you’re looking for a way to encourage your learners to reflect on their takeaways and ah-ha moments, you may want to consider challenging them to write about these key learnings and publishing their thoughts in a blog post – whether they use their own blog, you have a blog, or you simply set up a blog for this purpose.

It doesn’t have to be a heavy lift. Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to facilitate a conference session with Arkansas State Childhood Services. As part of the virtual session, I asked participants to write a “microblog”-style reflection on an earlier conference session I led. I asked them to summarize their key learnings or ah-ha moments using exactly six words, and I told them I’d publish these thoughts on my blog. Here are some of the reflections:

  • Gamification is a cool new word.
  • Icebreakers can be a radioactive element.
  • There are funs ways to connect.
  • Mad Libs are fun and helpful.
  • I can increase interest in training.
  • The objective has to come first.
  • Adult learners need connection and follow-up.
  • Verbs guide experiences that shape outcomes.
  • Gamification gets participants involved in training.
  • Objectives = building blocks for learning.
  • Be intentional with your learning objectives.
  • Blend elements carefully; create powerful compounds.
  • Objectives are just Mad Libs fun!
  • “C” quadrant is the place to be.
  • Active engagement promotes active thinking.
  • Appropriate training objectives make a difference.
  • Effective training has the right elements.
  • Verbs used in objectives are important.
  • Many different elements can encourage learning.
  • Activities must match the objectives.

Whether you challenge your learners to reflect and generate a long-form, essay-like blog post or a “microblog” post, incorporating a blog assignment into your learning program can encourage deeper reflection, which hopefully can lead to retention and higher probability for on-the-job application!

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