Blogs as a Learning Tool

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!

4 thoughts on “Blogs as a Learning Tool

  1. I love the idea of a follow-up session like we had yesterday! And writing a 6 word blog helped us re-focus on what we had learned from you in the previous session. I recently had such a follow-up session with some Head Start teachers and I wish I had known about how to effectively use blogging at that time. I WILL use it in the future! Thanks for your inspiration!

    • Yes, that was such a great session yesterday! I’m glad you found it useful… and I’ll be interested to hear how your blog use goes as you map out future sessions!

  2. Blogs are cool and they are the new way of communicating – whether it’s training, an update, or just everyday thoughts.
    I recently has friend submit a blog on a project from school that was so entertaining but informative at the same time. I think they need to be fun, engaging and not too long or people won’t stay engaged to the end.

    • Absolutely! Blogs are an interesting (and potentially entertaining) way of getting people to reflect on concepts and offer their own takes.

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