Informal PLENK poll: who works where?

I started wondering earlier today, in one of the PLENK2010 discussions, how many participants come from backgrounds like mine — training and learning in organization and corporate settings — as opposed to school (primary and secondary ed) or academia (“higher education”).

It's just a first draft.Partly I’m hoping to learn ways that people are trying to encourage or support learning in non-educational settings. Not just in the be-a-lifelong-learner or take-charge-of-your-learning frame of mind, but also in terms of focusing that encouragement and support around some organization-specific goal.  Because, you know, if Sgitheanach Financial is merging with Sinon Real Estate, we’re probably going to have new systems, new goals, job changes, and other things that people will need to adapt to.  It won’t all happen via Twitter and Facebook.

In no way am I implying that I don’t value the contributions of people in educational or academic settings.  I’m just using this question to find people whose challenges/problems/opportunities are more clearly like mine.  Or at least like some of mine.

I didn’t see a(n obvious) tool to create a survey within the discussion, so I’m trying one here.  No ulterior motive; I’m just curious about the makeup but not up to reading a thousand here’s-my-intro posts in the course Moodle. Feel free to comment. 

(I suspect this may need revising, which might mean another poll.  I wouldn’t want to mess up the results of this one any more than I need to.)

If you’re an independent practitioner (like me), considering answering based on where the majority of your work (or income) comes from.

[poll id=”5″]

* Just an excuse to repeat the story about a reporter asking Pope John XXIII
how many people worked at the Vatican.  His reply: “About half.”

CC-licensed survey image by psd / Paul Downey.

17 thoughts on “Informal PLENK poll: who works where?

  1. I think I replied to your chat comment in today’s Elluminate session. I have participated in CCK08 and 09 as well as the Critical Thinking course and we are in the minority. Having said that I have always taken what Stephen,George, Dave, et al have said and applied it with modifications to my perspective – life long learning and an appplication to the real world. The connectivism thing is about networked learning amongst peers, subordinates and superiors if you choose to connect but a nice twist to the COP label. The academic and intellectual rigor that Stephen, George and Dave apply to their “course” is well worth the effort for us to extrapolate to our perectives. Thanks frank

  2. Hi Dave,

    Personally, I think it’s a good thing you’ve created the poll outside the walled garden that is Moodle.

    Currently I’m in research mode, and not working. I was working for myself funded by government agencies, but in the future I’m not sure who, if anyone, will pay me for doing what I want to do. So I ticked “You know, none of this works well for me”.

    I’m interested in using open learning, and in particular some of the principles and strategies involved in MOOCs, to raise consciousness and bring about social change, which I think puts me closer to what you are doing to the other educators in the course.

    It’s not just about what I think people need to learn (that’s the raising consciousness bit), but what people want to do. i.e how they can use social media and networks to be more effective in defining and achieving their own goals and their own projects for social change (with support of the community/network).

    You’d probably be interested the “learning as doing” theme that Stephen started in the session last night and is continuing in his newsletter – http://www.downes.ca/post/53794

  3. Frank,

    I’m not concerned about the proportions (of academics, educators, and what I’ll call training/learning folks). I do think most people in the third group are less concerned about the nuances (PLE vs PLN), and I’m really sure they deal less often with works like affordances and epistemology.

    Though that last example is tongue-in-cheek. Sometimes in discussion you have to be serious, and you have to use terminology consistently. I slogged through van Merrienboer & Kirshner’s Ten Steps to Complex Learning, and while frankly I don’t think I’ll ever see anyone in the for-profit sphere trying to make the entire process work, it was a slog worth… slogging, at least for me.

    Your point is really the sort of thing I hoped to uncover: okay, find out what research says about X, or find out what people who are working with X in academic or education are figuring out, and then see what value their might be to the things we do in my organization or for my customers.

  4. Sean: I’m delighted that you checked “other,” and even more so that you took the time to explain why. (I’m not counting on many people choosing the Vatican option, but you never know.)

    The Moodle per se doesn’t bother me; this is my first experience with one, and so I can hardly complain: somebody’s invited me over for lunch, so I won’t grumble about the style of the tableware. More to the point, I’ve seen people with much more programming talent than I have whipping up something and offering it for reuse or comments. That’s all an unexpected benefit of PLENK.

    Me, I had the poll plugin, so it made sense to use it to try and satisfy my own curiosity.

    I’m glad you included the link to Stephen’s “learning as doing.” I’d read a bit of that thread and plan to read more. On a pragmatic level, it doesn’t align badly with Thomas Gilbert’s dictum about (on the job) performance: behavior you take with you, accomplishment you leave behind. Utimately, at work, even in the most supportive and sustaining organizations, you’ve got to produce worthwhile accomplishments, and that’s the overall goal of deliberate efforts to encourage learning in those settings.

  5. I’m another of the “…none of these works well for me.” Having taught in postsecondary and some workplace training, I am not currently employed in these areas. However, I do plan to pursue doctoral studies in e-learning and learning technologies, quite possibly focusing on PLE, relating to workplace learning and professional development. Visiting the Vatican next month, I will keep the story in mind :-)

  6. Tony, I appreciate your taking time to comment. I actually expected at least one click on the Vatican choice, though oddly the one I’ve gotten has an IP address in Dallas. Who’da thunk?

    At this point I’m more surprised to see that of 26 replies, only one person works in a corporate setting. (I hope I didn’t mess things up with the “not my own firm” remark.) Surprised mostly because that one person is… me.

  7. Dave, I’m more of a “practical” sort in looking to bring theory into practice. In reality as a consultant I’m hired to solve problems or get work done not to argue nuances across the three (or more) letter acronyms. My goal here with this “course” is to learn, hopefully confirm some gut feelings and practically apply in organizational settings including professional associations.

  8. That Pope, What a funny fella!!

    I mostly work with HE but my PLN includes a number of groups that are primarily training and development. I wouldn’t mind doing more work in that sector but I haven’t really sought out the opportunities.

    I agree with Sean about the Moodle being a walled garden. No matter how generous the server owners are, at some point the Moodle will be gone or unavailable and if I have done all my PLEing inside, it is gone too. My PLE includes the notion of being able to take my tools and content on to my next learning op or to be able to add dribs and drabs as I go along. Besides Moodle gets impossibly confusing in very short order, a real head spinner for newbies and oldtimers alike. Better to do as you have done, work in your own blog and link in the forums.

  9. Glen, John XXIII also reportedly said that Italians come to ruin in three ways: drink, women, and farming, and that his family chose the slowest.

    I hadn’t thought about the my-stuff-is-stuck-there aspect of the Moodle. This may be why I haven’t seen much in what I take to be the internal blogs: people inclined to blog probably have their own already; people who don’t aren’t sure what to say.

    I’ve never used Moodle and so don’t know what the reasons were for choosing it. Maybe the discussion threads were a big feature? I seem to recall Stephen Downes saying at one point that some of the difficulties come from connecting the Moodle with other stuff.

    Perhaps the concept of first having stuff out there, and then retaining that stuff, is one people need to form for themselves. I learned in corporate training that PC file use and hierarchy (locating a directory, for instance) is pointless until you’ve created something you see as an independent artifact. In other words, you could teach people how to use email without ever mentioning files, because the mail exists inside the application, and because newcomers don’t send attachments (at first).

  10. Well, i’m one of those in the minority category too. I work as Learning Architect in a private professional education company. We do lots of elearning in a range of sectors, generic and bespoke and also do a lot of technological development to boot. I too did the wonderous, for me, CCK08 course with George and Stephen and am hugely interested in this current PLENK10 adventure. I find all of the discussions very useful but there is almost always a diconnect between what seems to be happening in the Higher Education sphere and the general drives/explorations there and what you’re actually going to put together and sell to or use in a private corporation. Tons of reasons why this is so, not least the simple one of change. Having said this, we need to have a finger on the pulse of educational debate and discussion, some of it will make it through.

  11. Michelle, I’m glad you commented. You rightly point out the variability of this stuff. It’s my (mostly uninformed) opinion, for instance, that the Open University approach (whatever that might be) is virtually unknown in the U.S. — heck, A4 paper is virtually unknown unless you read printer options a lot.

    I also look at the value of trying new techniques or strategies out with clients — and at the potential resistance or reluctance. It’s a lot easier to cram stuff onto people if you’re a CEO, I suppose, though that certainly doesn’t mean it’s going to take.

  12. I chose government agency on your poll, because I technically work for the Department of Education, but my main job is working with public libraries and staff across Colorado. I help small rural libraries create and maintain library websites, as well as some technology training.

    Things are changing quickly in libraries, and I am promoting PLE’s as a way that staff can take charge of their own professional development and stay ahead of the curve.

  13. Christine, nice to get yet another viewpoint. I’d have put libraries (local, state, whatever) into the government category, so I hope you’re comfortable there. I follow a few librarians on Twitter and find them far-ranging in their interests.

  14. Another other here. Retired college instructor (among other far less or pre-wired careers) with online and hybrid classroom experience + course development, community, personal and advocacy blogging, online community networking, moderating an online self-paced ESL study group I created. I have a lot of small projects that use the same tools. Some even overlap in unexpected ways. I’m trying to mash all these up into a pln/ple, with multiple tabs and cross linked. Unless my head explodes first.

    I’m blogging this course intermittently but not internally because I already have way too many to keep up with, not counting an internal blog with another (much smaller) open course I’m following.

  15. Dave:

    I escaped from corporate T&D a few years ago, and happily work in the not quite reality of higher ed. That being said, it’s very true there aren’t too many parallels between HE onlne learning and T&D goals. Why did Saba look sexier and more attractive than Bb, D2L, Sakai or Moodle? Why do students hate traditional monolithic LMS’s? Has corporate courseware evolved beyond the point and yawn slideware that I remember?

  16. Vanessa:

    I’ve been intermittent myself. I got kind of bogged down partway into Week 2; I didn’t find the discussion doing much of anything for me.

    In part I can’t yet state a goal for myself beyond a squishy “find out more about” kind. That’ll have to do for now, and because of its squishiness, I’m not worrying much about how doggedly I pursue it.

    Greg:

    *** Sweeping Generalization Alert ***

    I think there’s a kind of institutional drag expressed both in academia and in the corporate world. In academia, you’ve got an artisan class (the faculty) not necessarily given to collaborating with one another, and thus a kind of assembly of individual content workshops. Here and there people smuggle in technical innovation, but the garden walls are made from Do Not Disturb signs.

    In the corporate world you’ve got the opposite phenomenon: a centralization tendency, the need to quantify and report. LMS doesn’t just stand for “learning means sitting” but also “lots more stats.”

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