#PLENK2010 Time management

I have been pondering about time management and its impact on our learning, in particular under an online learning environment, a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), and a Personal Learning Environment (PLE).

Why?  The motto of Time is Money still sounds true, whether we are relating to the time spent in our private life, our family,  study, education, learning, work, exercise, play, and entertainment etc. Whether we have been able to spend our time fruitfully, however, is quite a value judgement.

How could I organize my time in life?  No two persons have the same habits of how they organize their time. Everyone spends time based on their needs, and their habits, and as life is complex, we often find it hard to plan and organize time in advance.

However, organizing ourselves seems to be the most important part of our life, and a purpose of life too.  How could we achieve our goals without some forms of organizing in our life?  We likely need to plan, do, check and act in our life as that below, though often doing it subconsciously.

Photo: from wikipedia

I would focus on organizing my time in this reflection.

As told in a story by Covey S. et. al. on organizing: The process of putting first things first: Where there’s no gardener, there’s no garden.

This applies equally well in organizing for learning, especially through PLN, when we often need to balance the time spent in learning, family, work, play and entertainment.

So, time management has been high in the learning agenda amongst most of us. But what about time management training?  This article on time management by T Hoff Macan provides valuable insights into time management and time management behaviors:

Is time management training having any influence on the behaviors of individuals?

Examination of the path coefficients suggested that although time management behaviors were somewhat effective, time management training had little influence on whether respondents engaged in these behaviors.  On the surface, these results seem contrary to previous studies that suggest time management training is an effective technique (Hall & Hursch, 1982; Hanel et al., 1982).

How do people learn the components of time management?

Individuals learn the components of time management in other ways besides a formal time management training program. For example, throughout life, a person may observe others making lists, scheduling, and leaving a clean work space and may choose to adopt these techniques. Future research should explore this possibility.

Time management behaviors—goal setting and prioritizing and having a preference for organization—appear to have beneficial effects if they give persons the perception that they have control over their time. Inconsistent with expectations, however, respondents in the present study who practiced time management behaviors such as making lists and scheduling activities did not necessarily perceive greater control over their time.

When I reflected on my own experience of time management whilst studying and learning with MOOC, I realized that control over time requires a great deal of planning and organizing of my work and private life to achieve the learning and performance goals set.  So, apart from my normal learning plan, I had often come up with a contingency plan, which could cater for any changes in requirements due to personal circumstances or at work.

One particular aspect that I would like to reflect on in time management is related to health problems, which is life-style related.  A wake up call such as an “allergic or virus attack or a caught up with influencer” often caused me to slow down or even stop everything that I am doing.    These calls have been very effective ways of raising my awareness on the importance of health in my life, signalling that I need to review my strategies in the maintenance of health and learning and performance.  I started to re-educate myself in the importance good exercise, nutrition, and a balance in my private and work life.  I could immediately feel the impact of health (physical, spiritual, and mental health) on my life.  So a control over time and thus life is imminent.

So what are some means of exercising greater control over our time?

Here are some tools and gadgets for time management referred by Linn.  These sound helpful in the “instrumental time management”, but how about the effectiveness of time management in employing these tools and gadgets?  Just have to wait and see…

Still thinking.

#PLENK2010 Emotional and Social Intelligence and PLENK

The sociable brain (Daniel Goleman in his book Social Intelligence): Neuroscience has discovered that our brain’s very design makes it sociable, inexorably drawn into an intimate brain-to-brain linkup whenever we engage with another person. That neural bridge lets us affect the brain-and so the body-of everyone we interact with, just as they do us.
Even our most routine encounters act as regulators in the brain, priming our emotions, some desirable, others not.  The more strongly connected we are with someone emotionally, the greater the mutual force.
Does this explain why networkers are having strong or weak ties in social networks, where emotions could play a part in its formation, development and sustainability? What would be your basis of your weak ties/connections?  Ideas or information sharing? Emotional sharing? Socialising?

In search of answers to the above questions, I explored this Bar-on Model of Emotional Social Intelligence .  It provides some important insights into emotional and social intelligence.

emotional-social intelligence is a cross section of interrelated emotional and social competencies, skills and facilitators that determine how effectively we understand and express ourselves, understand others and relate with them, and cope with daily demands.

I would also rate this article as one of the best in emotional and social intelligence that I have read, as the research was extensive, and findings based on strong evidences.

Ref to p7 of 28:

More specifically, the Bar-On model reveals that women are more aware of emotions, demonstrate more empathy, relate better interpersonally and are more socially responsible than men. On the other hand, men appear to have better self-regard, are more self-reliant, cope better with stress, are more flexible, solve problems better, and are more optimistic than women. Similar gender patterns have been observed in almost every other population sample that has been examined with the EQ-i. Men’s deficiencies in interpersonal skills, when compared with women, could explain why psychopathy is diagnosed much more frequently in men than in women; and significantly lower stress tolerance amongst women may explain why women suffer more from anxiety-related disturbances than men (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

The above findings sound well when I reflect on my observations in social networks, though I think more researches need to be done to substantiate the claims, in order to avoid any stereotyping.

Would gender difference affect the way how people use PLENK and connect with others? This could be important to understand, and if the findings of the research are right, then this may imply that more women are able to connect with others than men in social networks due to their superior skills in empathy and emotional awareness, whereas men may be able to cope better with stress, are more flexible, solve problems better, and are more optimistic than women.

This led me to explore further…..

In this Social intelligence, innovation, and enhanced brain size in primates by Simon M. Reader and Kevin N. Laland

Individuals capable of inventing new solutions to ecological challenges, or exploiting the discoveries and inventions of others, may have had a selective advantage over less able conspecifics, which generated selection for those brain regions that facilitate complex technical and social behavior. An alternative account is that primates are making opportunistic use of information processing capabilities afforded by a large executive brain that has evolved for some other reason to cope with challenges in new flexible ways. However, as these two hypotheses are not mutually exclusive (3), our findings support the view that social learning and innovation may have been important processes behind the evolution of large brains in primates.

To the extent that innovation is a measure of asocial learning, the correlation between social learning and innovation frequencies suggests that asocial and social learning have evolved together. This pattern suggests that social and asocial learning may be based on the same processes (50), which conflicts with the widely held view that social learning requires distinct psychological abilities from asocial learning (70). However, we cannot rule out the possibility that social and asocial learning are separate, domain-specific capacities (14, 15) that have undergone correlated evolution.

If the findings of the research are right, then innovation (as a measure of asocial learning) based on the use of PLENK and social learning might have evolved together, confirming that social learning and innovation is part of the evolution in past decade.  Could we separate the social and asocial learning?  That remains a myth.

This emotional and social intelligence is just so interesting for me to explore.

Photo: From Flickr


Postscript: Just read Heli’s Designing for commitment in online communities Great insights from Heli.

Will reflect and respond.

#PLENK2010 Reminder on Research Survey into the Design and Delivery of MOOC PLENK

Thank you to our PLENK2010 participants who have responded to the Research Survey.  If you still haven’t responded yet, please note:


“PLENK2010 participants are invited to fill out a short survey on the Research into the Design and Delivery of MOOC – PLENK2010. This survey is anonymous and voluntary and should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Sui Fai John Mak, a participant of PLENK2010 would like to thank you in advance for your time and contribution to the research. The survey can be accessed here http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/K3JDXD3 for 2 more days and will close on November 26th 2010 at 12:00 AM Pacific Standard Time.”


Postscript: In response to a request, Survey MOOC PLENK http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/K3JDXD3 extended 2 more days & will close on Nov 29th 2010 at 12:00 AM Pacific Standard Time.

#PLENK2010 Mastery Learning and Bloom’s Taxonomy

I read this blog and the videos on Blogging and Blooms with great interests.

Here is my response:

Thanks Angela for this interesting post. I think Bloom’s model could be useful for structured Mastery Learning, based on an identification of cognitive entry behaviour, affective entry characteristics and Quality of Instruction, that are highly relevant in classroom teaching and assessment.  The digital model developed by Andrew Churches sounds well, and have attempted to modify the Taxonomy to cater for the digital literacies.   May I respond with my previous post on mastery-learning-blooms-hypothesis-and-taxonomy-and-connectivism?

I have been thinking if the notion of create is interpreted differently by educators and learners.  At times, create could come first for a learner, especially when creating a blog (and a blog post), or a video on Youtube or vimeo, bliptv, or a piece of creative writing, and if this sounds like the highest “skills set” under the Bloom’s Taxonomy, then Evaluate, Analyse seem to be lower in the Taxonomy as compared to Create.  Would this be rightly interpreted?  Besides, a learner could be learning a task whilst tackling a problem (problem or project based learning) in a digital world, which could include participation in project, communication and collaboration in wiki, interacting with others through blogs and forum postings, and creation of artefacts (blog posts for reflection, collection, videos production, repurposing and remixing of multimedia – for digital story telling etc.), personal thinking and reflection using reflexive techniques.  These require a mix of skills and literacies and so trying to identify them into the strict taxonomy may sometimes lead to constraints on educators in setting the tasks (questions) and the learners in the creation of artefacts.

How would educators overcome these?  I think the structured taxonomy model (revised) one is more suitable for assessment, but needs to be re-conceptualised in the case of learning, especially when we try to identify a digital project in terms of the competencies which are embedded in it.  That’s where a connectivist model could be useful to connect the various skills and competencies, and delineate the relationship so both educators and learners could understand how they could achieve their learning through learning by action, with projects, problems, rather than the mere instruction. What do you think?

Renewed thanks for your stimulating post.


#PLENK2010 On Authority and Power in Networks

Thanks for raising an important question about authority in Ken’s post on Thinking about Freud. Where is authority coming from? Who is looking for authority? As human, were many ambitious people (the great leaders) in history looking for authority, power, wealth, fame?  Or may be not all of them! Where had they all gone?

As a Catholic, I could sense the struggle one might have with all those formal terms – authority, power, accountability, responsibility and above all leadership etc. throughout our life-long learning.  What do they actually mean in our learning in networks and groups?

So, you are not alone in the quest for why – in response to authority in networks, in groups, in formal communities, and why you don’t like it, and that you wish to understand more about it, from a philosophical perspective.

That’s the fundamental question we always like to ask about authority and power as mentioned in my previous post on Discourse Ethics.

I don’t think I could answer your questions, as it seems to be beyond any human to understand the nature of authority, and why human has that innate nature of power seeking, once one becomes the leader.  May be that is part of our genes, or our evolution, for survival, and to collaborate as a group or cooperate as a network, in order to thrive.

This paper on Varieties of Participation in Complex Governance by Archon Fung provides some insights on authority and power.  Rather than focusing on power and authority centered around single authority, should we be moving towards empowerment, participation, shared decision making and democracy, in case of complex governance in the 21 st century?

So, authority and power might appear differently from that of the last century, it may have to be decentralised and shared amongst the networkers, especially if we want to help and support our next generation to thrive in the 21st century. Refer to this article on Shared Leadership for a framework on shared leadership in education.

From my religious point of view as a Catholic, the only absolute authority that’s worthwhile to explore and conform to fully is our Creator – God and Jesus. Human is by nature an authority seeking Homo Sapiens, and so may not deserve our “adoration” after all!

#PLENK2010 PLENK & Network Metaphor

I shared the below post in my blog on CCK09, and may I share the same with PLENK here?

My observation so far is that our “network(s)” do exhibit some of the phenomena of singles and flocks of birds or schools of fish, when it comes to CCK08, CCK09, CritLit2010 and this PLENK course.  Some would prefer to fly individually in the sky, whilst others would fly with flocks of “birds”, flying freeing through the sky, with multi-directions, and multi-”guidance” at times, and then the way they go afterwards…. Others would like to go for a “swim”, like a school of fish, through the ocean, and explore the deep, deep world down the ocean(s), and across the different oceans, where they encounter big and small school of fishes of all kinds.  Are there any borders in these network exploration?  Where are the limits?  The sky?  The ocean? The clouds (cloud computing, artefacts, social media)?

Would the birds and fishes meet?  May be, if they want to. But it’s all up to the desires and needs of the individuals. There are more and more “clouds or tools” forming, sometimes blurring the flights of the birds, but often they would help in guiding the flight paths as “mediators or navigators”.  The traces (artefacts, URL, tools, media and techniques) left behind could often be used as guidance for others. Would that be the emergent learning?

Are the ”birds”, “fishes” self organising?  Will the “clouds” help in the flight journey? Any thoughts?

May be we are all just human behaving similar to the emergence of flocks of birds and school of fish, but we won’t see these ourselves unless we step out of our comfort zone, and look at ourselves swimming in the ocean, or flying ourselves with the planes, and we could see ourselves out from the outer space, realising how small our planet is….

Refer to more sharing from others in the forum in PLENK before and after

Enjoy these

Photos: from Flickr