It’s the end of the month, so it’s now time to wrap up our look at the Discovery Phase of developing a personal learning environment. Depending on how clear your vision is when you start working on your project, you may not need more than an afternoon to work through this phase. If it takes you more than a few days, you might not be ready to tackle the project. Just set it aside (a tickler file system is great for managing projects you’ve set aside.), and move on to the next project.
(If you start feeling silly for having a few projects stuck in some phase, think about this. When I started looking for a new long-term project in December, I had a pile of just over half a dozen projects I was rotating through, hoping something would catch. On the up side, I do now have more of an idea of where most of those projects could be headed when their turn finally comes up. Don’t sweat it. You should always have projects you can flip between when you lose your way on one.)
As you’re sizing up a potential project, remember what we’ve covered. The Discovery Phase is where you establish the problem, question, or topic you’ll be focusing on as you work on your project. You may find that you’ll need or want to answer smaller questions in pursuit of the larger question, and that’s fine. That’s what gives your work depth and puts your own voice on it.
You’ll also want to identify potentially useful resources: books; journals; websites; blogs; subject matter and industry experts; and fellow learners. And then you’ll need to create a method for keeping all of this information flowing to you. If you already have an information stream, then you’ll just add this into what you already have to strengthen and potentially diversify your stream. We’ll look at keeping your stream under control when we discuss the Recording Phase in March.
Next month, we’ll be focusing on another popular (and poorly addressed) topic: peer teaching.