As one of my professional development goals for this summer, I decided to participate in the first annual CASTLE Summer book club. The book we are reading for this summer is Influencer: The Power to Change Anything by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. The authors suggest that you apply what you learn as you go along and Scott McLeod, the organizer of the book club challenged us to take the authors’ suggestion.
Since I’m hoping to learn from the book and the book club, I’m going to take the challenge. To do so, I need to to the following:
- Identify a change – personal, professional, or organizational – that you’d like to see and/or make happen.
I would like my students to become lifelong learners. More specifically, I would like to see my students set goals and build personal learning networks to support their progress towards their individual goals. I want them to continue to use their networks to pursue these goals after they have finished taking my course. These are the outcomes that I’d like to see, but Influencer teaches that prospective change agents need to think in terms of behaviors rather than outcomes.
- Identify some vital behaviors that would lead to that change.
Based on last semester’s course, I now believe that writing a learning contract is a vital behavior that helps students set their own learning goals. I suspect that creating a personal homepage, organizing resources using social bookmarking tools, and scanning RSS feeds are at least some of the vital behaviors that students need to create personal learning networks, but I’m not certain and I could really use some help in this area. If you are reading this and have any thoughts about what are the vital behaviors for managing a personal learning network, please speak up!
- Identify some recovery behaviors for your change initiative.
Recovery behaviors are what you do to pick up the pieces after you’ve gone off-track and stopped performing the vital behaviors. With a personal learning network, I think recovery behaviors are what you do to manage information overload. One of the two of the important recovery behaviors are the “mark all as read” and “delete” options. I think people need to remember that they are in control of their own information flow. If it becomes too much for them, then they have the power to reduce it. They can always “catch up” at the click of a button.
- Identify a setting in which you can test your results.
I can test my results with my students, but I would also like to figure out a way to test my ideas on what constitutes “vital behaviors” for personal learning networks with people who have well-established networks. Who do you think I should I talk to? Are you interested in donating a few minutes of your time to talk about vital behaviors for PLN?