Are you connected to me on LinkedIn? Find your dot!

I recently stumbled upon Socilab, a very neat web service that enables you to visualize your LinkedIn Network. Socilab is open source, and its idea is

to educate people about their social network data and to make analysis more accessible for everday users

It not only provides you with many connected dots, but also with some metrics. What for, you may ask. Well, first it’s just fun to see your connections flying around you as colored dots. Second, visualizations help people to understand complex things and may inspire them. Visualizing your network can lead to the discovery of (unexpected) connections, clusters, and holes. This again may just be a fun insight. Or, more rationally, may make you think about how to enlarge, diversify, and strengthen your network. Because your network is your main source for learning, inspiration, and development.

Following other peoples thoughts, opinions, insights, and developments lets you constantly learn new things, get new perspectives on old things, and grow. In order to let this happen, your network has to be diverse. You don’t learn too much from the fellows you shared your whole professional pathway with. Who inspires you are those people at the edge of your network, those who share some but not all of your interests.

So how to find these people? One way is rational: Analyze your social network, find „loose dots“, expand from there. Actively search for connections in areas you’re not connected with already. Ask people to introduce you to their network.

But then there is also serendipity.

Serendipity has helped me discover a world that I would have never known before. The foreign places-foreign in the sense I have never been there–are where I have the greatest leaps in understanding and grasping of the potential. I cannot imagine not knowing what I have learned in serendipitous encounters.

writes Anne Adrian about her experiences with blogging and online engagement. Serendipity, that’s the fortunate encounter happening by chance. That’s reading an article, following a link in it, following a second link, and suddenly bumping into something new and wonderful. Serendipity just happens, it cannot be planned or aligned with goals. But by being open-minded in a well-connected time, and by allowing time spent with „just browsing around“ or „just talking and connecting to people for no reason“, chances for serendipity to happen rise. Don’t miss this opportunity!

But back to you, my dots. What did I learn from the analysis of my LinkedIn network?

monika_linkedin_network_analyzed

Not very surprisingly, I am well connected to Academia (purple dots) and the health care industry/ the medical sector (yellow dots), and those people are also well connected among each other. Interestingly, some people I do know from those fields stay very low connected on LinkedIn (some of the scattered dots), so the network may strengthen by introducing them to each other. Still, it is not the most diverse knot in my network- many people share education and/or professional milestones with each other. But then those are the peers who know, understand, and support you.

The most colorful spot is at the bottom: people I know from my private life, and people I met during a stay abroad. They do have immense diverse background and therefore are valuable inputs for further learning and development. Keep an eye on them!

But clearly there is one very weak area: The area I am just entering, the field of Knowledge Management. So although I strongly believe in serendipity and its great value, I learned from my analysis that I should start to also rationally connect to people who can help and support me to enter this new field and to connect me to more peers and mentors in KM.

Curios about your network? Check it out at Socilab!

Enabling the human factor in knowledge management: Web 2.0 and Social Media

While for a long time KM was very technology-driven, and while this happened in a period technology just started to evolve and mainly delivered tools like databases or first platforms, KM got to something that resembled more information management and was focused on how to transfer this information from one to the other. This approach neglected the fact that knowledge is human bound. Knowledge is a sum of information, context, human experience, and personal views and is always connected to a person, the expert knowledge worker.

Therefore, KM has to do a shift from the know-what to the know-who-knows. It gets less important to know something than to know who to contact, who to ask, who to connect to. Based on those interactions, one is then enabled to develop one’s own skills, to implement others experiences and knowledge into one’s own setting or context, and thereby to develop new knowledge that can be given to others.

In this approach, people are central. Knowledge is shifting from information to human mind. Management has to change focus from designing environments to enabling human interaction and networks. And the new tools of Web 2.0 and Social Media are very important enablers of this new approach, maybe even the one stimulus it needs for the shift.

Over the last years, people from all ages and with diverse backgrounds started to use social media- Facebook for personal use, a blog they follow, or forums to search for information on very specific topics or problems. They discovered that the world is full of experts, of people sharing their experiences and giving advices. Googling a solution for a problem got more common than asking people around you. Concomitantly, people started to share their own knowledge, to contribute to discussions, to give insights. Communities formed, and social media got an important place in peoples everyday life.

Now this new form of interaction and sharing is coming to business life. Slowly, people start to adapt what they experience in private to their business environment. They connect to each other inside and outside an organization, they seek, they sense, and they share what they know, using the tools or practices they know from private life. This is totally changing the way information was distributed within organizations so far. Now information is beginning to be really shared, and it’s done bottom-up, agile, and participatory.

Still, it is way too early to celebrate a new area of knowledge management. Although a participatory and de-centralized approach is very likely to be way more accepted by users, there are many hurdles to overcome. Even when management supports knowledge sharing within a company, they may be suspicious to implement “leisure tools” into their business environment- maybe their employees are more chatting about sports results than business projects? Employees may be hesitant too. Not everybody is using social media in private life, not everybody likes technology-based tools, not everybody is open to try something new. There may be disagreement about the tools used: Is microblogging or a blog with comment function better for us? The preferences may be very personal. And last but not least: Can we really benefit from social media if in the business settings, contributions are similar than outside: 1% of regular contributors, 10% of from-time-to-time contributors, and the rest is just reading?

So it’s not time to open this bottle of champagne yet. But it’s definitively time to put it into the fridge and get the glasses ready!

Picture from pixabay

Just a scoop: MOOCs and higher education: evolution or revolution? | OUPblog

So today it’s just a scoop. I call it a „scoop“ as I got into curation by using scoop.it, a curation service on the web. When I started using it a few years ago, it was small and cozy. Today it is big, too big, but still a very intuitive service to store and share articles I read on the net and consider interesting. Curation is the most simple way to get into social learning and personal knowledge management. It’s actually seeking interesting sources, making sense of them by adding own insights and sharing it with your network. Some label curation as Knowledge Management 3.0, which I am currently writing about and will post to you soon.

But now for today:

Four years after the MOOCs craze began, where are we today? MOOCs provide a good example of our tendency to overestimate the significance of innovations in the short term whilst underestimating their long-term impact. The early predictions of a revolution in higher education proved false, and the idea that MOOCs could be the answer to the capacity problems of universities in the developing world was especially silly. Nevertheless, MOOCs are a significant phenomenon. Over 4,000 MOOCs are available worldwide and register 35 million learners at any given time. As they have multiplied they have diversified, so that, as this cartoon implies, the meaning of every word in the acronym MOOC is now negotiable.

I am also, however, a good illustration of why MOOCs have not sparked a revolution in higher learning. MOOCs are attractive to older people like me, who already have degrees and do not seek further qualifications, but who remain eager to acquire basic knowledge about an eclectic range of new topics. 

Read the whole article: MOOCs and higher education: evolution or revolution? | OUPblog
Link to Cartoon

Relatris‘ insight:

I couldn’t agree more. What John Daniel describes is exactly my own experience. I know people who did complete a MOOC (- I did several of them -), and they all were „older“, tech-savy and curios people with a degree, eager to learn new stuff but not willing (or able) to do a whole curriculum. There may be a range of reasons for that, but important for me is to keep MOOCs in mind as a tool for continued education of higher educated people with a tight agenda – if it wasn’t so costly and time-consuming to produce them…..