As a teacher, NGL principles can inform my role by allowing me to create an environment where learning networks can be established. At present, NGL is not utilised in my organisation, analysing the courses currently taught I believe NGL principles would best fit in courses that teach incident management and operational principles. The students of these courses are familiar with using technology in their operational roles and as such, I believe they would be receptive to using technology and NGL principles if they can see a rationale.
Traditionally within the organisation many courses that teach practical skill acquisition use a didactic method. However, the didactic method does not translate well in a course intended to teach operation roles; teaching skills that involve high-level logistics planning, intelligence application, and large incident command. These roles require clear communication, critical thinking, and teamwork. Students of these courses need to seek out information from multiple sources and synthesise it for application in an operation setting. Typically, these courses are much more constructivist based; making sense of theory with ‘war stories’, however, students undertaking these courses are currently classroom bound after which they return to their geographically disperse locations. As such their discussions and meaning-making end when the class does.
By creating an online environment where students can discuss and apply the course material, my hope is that overtime a learning network will evolve. By creating an ‘operational online gateway’, for which membership is granted once a student has enrolled in the course and creating group-directed learning network around operational roles, policy, past operations the gateway may create a social-learning environment. The advantage of having a learning community develop in this way is that it becomes an organisational resource (Jarche, 2011).
Applying the SAMR model to this operational gateway idea I believe NGL principles could be introduced effectively with judicious use of technology.
S – Currently after-action reviews are conducted for the members involved in the operation to review and reflect, a product of these meetings is a ‘lesson learnt’ document is distributed. Substituting the meeting with an online environment, means greater flexibility in discussions; synchronous and asynchronous.
A – Augmenting this online environment, adding a repository of knowledge makes the environment a useful source of information for students.
M – Modifying the repository of information to a shared knowledge document like a wiki will help students generate knowledge. This would also allow capturing of tacit knowledge.
R – Redefining this membership and making the gateway open to the organisation, or perhaps the entire internet, could allow for incidental learning opportunities for visitors indirectly involved in operations; on the ground firefighters or the community.
As a teacher I can promote the idea of the PKM routine and make suggestions of technology that may work for students. Perhaps by placing a video on the LMS explaining how students can reflect on their PKM routine and by providing examples of technology that could be used in each step. I found understanding my PKM routine to a be a useful in planning my learning, the routine highlighted to me the tools and methods that I prefer, something that was previously a sub-conscious process. I think this framework can be applied more widely through courses in the organisation, however, it would be of specific value to courses where operations roles are required to search, sense and share knowledge (Jarche, 2014). However, there is a temptation is to transplant the tools and methods of my PKM routine and set it as a template for students. Socol’s toolbelt theory (Socol, 2008) re-iterates that the tools that worked for me in my context may not work for other students.
The two main limitations that will affect these two transformations; creating the operations gateway and promoting that individuals’ reflect on their PKM routine, I believe to be digital literacy and resistance to change.
I believe White and Le Cornu’s assertion that students’ participation in technology can be viewed through a lens of motivation, digital visitors and digital residents (White, D., & Le Cornu, A., 2011), is useful in understanding these limitations. I believe that digital literacy can be viewed as a motivation issue, if the student has an interest in utilising the technology then resources and facilitation will assist overcoming the barrier to entry. However, if the student doesn’t have an interest in utilising the technology, providing there are clear benefits, they may be resistant to change; this is to be expected at some point in the “dance of change” (Siemens, 2008). In my context, students learning about incident management are comfortable with parsing information from multiple technological information sources, the motivation to use this technology is to control the incident; to perform their role.
Considering this, as a teacher I believe that NGL principles can inform the creation of a gateway for students, I believe it will be perceived as a benefit in that it will assist students perform their role more effectively; acting as a repository of information, allowing access to practitioners and assist in reflective practice. Similarly, promoting the PKM routine to these same students may be beneficial in formalising in their mind their knowledge-seeking, sense-making, and sharing practices.
Jarche, H. (2014). What is your PKM routine? Retrieved 2 September, 2017, from http://jarche.com/2014/03/what-is-your-pkm-routine/
Jarche, H. (2011). Social Learning, Complexity and the Enterprise. Retrieved 8 September, 2017, from http://jarche.com/2011/04/social-learning-complexity-and-the-enterprise/
Siemens, G. (2008). New structures and spaces of learning: The systemic impact of connective knowledge, connectivism, and networked learning. Retrieved 9 September 2017, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/systemic_impact.htm
White, D., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v16i9.3171