So I have been attempting to learn to run and it has been a bit of a rollacoster and in the spirit of learning it has been messy, but yesterday I had a breakthrough! for the first time in over 3 months I managed to run a full 1km without stopping and just to ensure it wasn’t a fluke I did it a second time during my 4km training session. Now to many people 1km is probably not a big deal but to me it was huge, so much so that I rang my coach (who put together the challenge and it’s training program) to tell her mid training session, it was great to be able to share my excitement. After my run I shared my success with my fellow multistage kilometer-athoners. What was really nice is that I got lots of positive comments and that has had an impact on my confidence and commitment to keep going.
This in conjunction with a couple of other things I have heard and read over the last few days has got me thinking about networked learning and the recent comments about connecting with the knowledge and not necessarily people.
While I agree that networked learning is about connecting with the knowledge in some instances when your learning something new, like me with my running, you need that human connection, it adds to the learning and the experience and the impetus to keep going.
In recent days I saw a post on a facebook group that I joined for mum’s who run and this lady had recently completed an event and she felt she had achieved, she shared this achievement and her experience of running in a tutu on her personal facebook page and she recieved negative comments from some of her friends about posting her running achievements on her page. She posted about this experience and how much of a dampener it was on the running mums page and then received lots of support and others also commented about this happening to them where their friends were not supportive.
Another example I heard recently was from a work colleague who has started competing with her partner and daughter in martial arts. Following her first competition she discovered that her coach had posted a video of her competing on the studios facebook page an tagged her. She said that initially she wasn’t to pleased however she then saw the comments rolling in not only from people at the studio but her friends as well. She commented to me about how much of an impact this had on her confidence and her drive to continue competing but what was more is that her daughter (who had been at the competition) saw the video and the comments and decided that she wanted to give it a go. Following her first competition her video was loaded to facebook by her mum and once again the comments came pouring in from people all over the world. Those comments have provided this child with the courage and commitment to try patterns well above her belt level and persevere through the frustration of learning.
So I guess what I am getting at here through these examples is the power that the human interaction can have in a networked environment to provide that support and encouragement that keeps us going along the process of learning even when we want to give up. That’s not to say that connecting with knowledge in a networked way isn’t important, I just don’t think we should discount the personal, human connection and I would hate to see that ability to connect be lost in our networked and global environments.