Monday, 4 July 2011

The meaning of "I"

When I spoke recently at the E-Learning Network Conference in Bristol (#elnil) about Enhancing Informal Learning through Communities of Practice, I began with a teaser about "the Meaning of I".

I stands for
  • Inspiration - that comes from exploring through communities
  • Information - that we absorb, interpret and apply
  • Inductive - as we learn by doing not by being told
  • Involvement - with others in learning that is of mutual interest - engaging with them on a common journey
  • Infection - that enthusiasm which maintains our presence in communities - because we see benefit from them - and which draws others in
  • Intensity - which motivates and energises
  • Instilling - the will to improve performance as we see and share others successes
All of those meanings come from within oursleves.  They are about our willingness to find and join communities where we feel at home and comfortable, where there is value, and where there is a welcome and a mutual desire to achieve.

Do we need to be constantly involved? No, but we do need to keep in touch!  A Community depends on its members each doing their bit to ensure its health and prosperity.  In our learning world that means people asking questions to stimulate others thoughts and to draw out experience.  It means sharing with others what we know and what we have experienced.  And it means indicating by our presence and our activity that the community is a live and valuable place to be - the encouragement, the word of thanks for an idea or a piece of help, the critique, the question, the sharing of an insight.  All of these things help a community to grow, develop and become self-sustaining.

We are not all able to be energetically active in our communities all the time - but we do need to do more than just be members.  All of us have something to give and a mutual responsibility to do so.  That collective is fundamental to the meaning of community

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