This month, we’re back to the personal learning environment (PLE), this time looking at the Processing phase. The Processing phase is the last phase before you actually start working on the project. In this phase, you take all of the materials you started organizing in the Recording phase and narrow down your focus. By the time you are finished with this phase, you know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish and have a plan for how you’re going to tackle the project, regardless of whether you’re creating or learning.
In the Recording phase, we started finding, creating, and organizing ideas related to our project. In the Processing phase, we’re taking those ideas from the Recording phase and organizing them into useful clusters of information. We’re also looking for a more focused direction to take our project, understanding that materials that don’t make it into this project can serve as the inspiration for a related project. So in the Processing phase, strong information management and organization skills are key.
There are two questions crucial to this phase, and you really need to pursue them ruthlessly:
- Does this really fit with the direction my project is moving?
- Where and how does it fit in?
If you find material that’s still really cool but can’t fold into your project, then you get to bust out your curation skills. The Processing phase is the first time during the project that provides an opportunity to share material related to your project, because that cool find really should go somewhere. So, give it some context, and share it.
The Processing phase offers one other key benefit. If your project has a major problem brewing, the Processing phase is the first time it’s really likely to become evident. If you’re struggling to narrow down your project to a single project, you may need to back up a phase and review your notes.
All right, so that’s it for the overview. During the month, we’ll be looking at how this phase works in different situations, and I’ll even share some of my own methods for getting through this phase.