Monday, February 26, 2018

The Smartphone as Swiss Army Knife

Rachel Burnham writes: I found myself looking at my Smartphone last Thursday afternoon and thinking about all the different ways I use it to support my own learning.  As I tend to, I picked up a pen and started to sketch a few of these out – then thought how interesting it would be to hear from other people in my network about how they use their smartphones. 

This is the tweet I shared:

Thank you to all who responded and contributed over the next few days.  I received lots of great suggestions – some I had thought of and lots of additional ones too, plus different perspectives, which is just what I had hoped for.

Many people shared with me the different ways that they used their phone to enable learning – some mentioned listening to podcasts, or using Audible to listen to audio books.  Others mentioned reading articles and blogs and also saving these articles or other resources and making use of tools such as Evernote or Pocket, so that you can return to them.   Many people mentioned watching short videos and some mentioned using screen capture and annotation or specialist apps such as that provided by @Coach’sEye.

For a couple of people a key factor was being able to ‘learn on the go’ and that their smartphone enabled this.  For example, @LindaRuthMcGee shared that she had completed several MOOCs using her smartphone and that its convenience had been crucial to this. 

A couple of people mentioned the importance of access to a search engine, Google, as a vital resource for them via their smartphone.   This led to some discussion about whether the information gathered in this way was learning, or just data.  We had different views on this. Richard Martin @indalogensis homed in on the fact that I had asked about Smartphone use to enable learning and reminded me that our phone is just a tool.  I think the learning comes with how we respond to the stimulus from our phones, whether a tweet, a podcast or a search that we do – does it lead to reflection, insight, action?  So how we use our phones may lead to learning or not. 

You can link this to Harold Jarche’s ‘Seek, Sense, Share’ model of Personal Knowledge Mastery.  Lots of us immediately focused on the ‘Seek’ part of this model in reporting on how we use our phones. 
But people also mentioned using their phones to capture notes, ideas and plan actions eg through use of Trello. The sense-making aspect of Jarche’s model. And some also mentioned sharing, particularly through their networks.

And of course, asking this question on Twitter meant that lots of people mentioned using their phone for conversations with their network – ‘to expand my network’, ‘to learn via my Twitter feed’ and twitter chats.  People also mentioned other networks and groups such as ‘WhatsApp groups’. I particularly liked the breadth of Helen Blunden’s response:

One additional element, that is important for me is that my smartphone helps me to easily collaborate with others and this has been a significant source of learning for me in recent years – one example being my collaboration with @niallgavinuk to explore the use of VR and AR in learning – here is a link to our most recentcuration of resources. 

Taruna Goel @write2tg summed it up for me ‘A smart phone helps me to stay connected and engage in continuous, self-directed learning.’

We know that it is really important for us in L&D to be continuously developing our skills and insights, so one step in this direction would be to make sure we are making full use of our smartphone in doing this.   I know that this exercise, has given me a couple of ideas for how I can make even better use of my phone.  

It could be a useful exercise for an L&D team meeting to review and share ideas about how you and your colleagues are using your phone to enable learning.

And this could also be the basis for a useful short session or online conversation with employees – encouraging them to share tips and ideas for using their own phones to support their learning. 

And here is what you have been waiting for, my sketchnote:

Rachel Burnham


Burnham L & D Consultancy helps L&D professionals update and refresh their skills.  I do this through: writing & design commissions; facilitating learning to update knowhow, 1:1 and bespoke ‘train the trainer’ programmes; and the use of Sketchnoting to facilitate learning.

No comments:

Post a Comment