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.

Can’t spell “persona” without “person”

I had a side conversation just now about some technical glitches related to #PLENK2010 (the online course about personal learning environments).  Well, I think I did — it was via Facebook message, but I don’t see evidence of that in the ad-crammed junk drawer of Facebook’s interface.

No matter.  I found myself thinking of this exchange (and similar ones with other people) in terms of how you connect in general with people you don’t know.

Not everyone can be a resonance manIt might be related in some way to the riddle of online resonance that Jenny Mackness and Matthias Melcher wrote about: in this virtual / at-a-distance context, they’re asking how what can cause the initial resonance that can nudge a potential connection along till it becomes an actual one.

In my own case, what I saw myself doing was delivering potentially frustrating feedback (“your X isn’t working” can often imply “and it ought to, buddy”).  And I felt slightly ill at ease about that.

I’m usually sane enough to believe that people like the PLENK facilitators welcome comments meant to improve or enrich the experience.  At the same time, I hate to seem querulous, let alone the online equivalent of a grammar fascist.  (Trust me, I can be querulous.  I just tend to dress it up with over-the-top humor.)

Which gets to the persona part, the image I’d like people to have of me (probably a lot like the image I’d like to have of me).  In an early post here, I wrote that persona was the mask used by Greek and Roman actors, and that another meaning for “actor” is agent–the person causing something to happen.

So as I start doing things in a new community like PLENK, I’m scattering bits of evidence from which people will form impressions.  I can’t control what those will be, but I can try to influence that a bit.

Early in the game, then, I take out “connection insurance”:

  • I tend to send feedback privately rather than publicly–in part because of my own self-consciousness, and in part because I might be incorrect.
  • I try to include useful, factual detail: the URL I have in mind, an exact title, a copied string of text.
  • I try to signal that I’m in a collaborative, non-confrontational frame of mind.

About confrontation: I know that some people see heated discussion as a sign of interest, and maybe even respect: I wouldn’t be arguing with you if I didn’t think you were worth the argument.

Closer to the main thread here, Mackness & Melcher in their second post talk about this chart by Magdalena Bottger.

Bottner's cues to knowledge

Notice that arrow across the top.  In terms of early connections, I see an analogy, a continuum from”folks you just met” (the right-hand side) through “people you know well and who know you well” (over on the left).

The way you move a from right to left–the way the “connection neurons” get all Hebbsian–is through a series of interactions over time.  You take extra care initially to signal intent.  People on the other side of the relationship will take that in, along with other signals.

In other words, if you’re polite in private messages but seem like a cranky, dismissive, and apostrophe-challenged troll on your blog, that politeness will only carry you so far.

When you have enough public personas, people can form a pattern from them.  Might be the one you’d form, might not.

CC-licensed resonance image by gillicious.