In the beginning I was a know it all with a fixed mindset and I didn’t know it. The learning process for me was tough at first because I kept trying to go back to what I already knew. I kept wanting to cruise as opposed to being challenged, but after reading Thomas and Brown’s A New Culture of Learning (2011) I had an epiphany, and it was that I truly desired to be a catalyst for deeper learning if I could be. The book helped me to realize that old ways of doing stuff wasn’t going to cut it and that we have so many means today for reaching each other and information that we need to push this idea of online learning collectives (2011) to the limits. We have access like never before to other’s thoughts, insights, and expertise, and I want my students to embrace that. This book was a game changer for me. Mindset by Carol Dweck (2006) also helped me to address my aversion to challenge.
In the beginning, I didn’t remember how to do research or write a literature review. Before DLL, I would delve into my own research online and immediately end up falling down the rabbit hole because there is so much information competing for my attention. The program helped me to discern, what is real and what is not when it comes to facts and knowledge. I also learned how to form research questions that would keep me focused and on task when gathering information for a literature review.
In the beginning, I didn’t know how to plan nor influence change. Probably most important to note here is that when I started, I had no idea what it would take to lead technology innovation change in a major organization, which is quite interesting because I’ve held change manager roles before. This program helped me to understand that change management requires more than a communication plan, it needs an influencer and implementation plan and an execution strategy as well.
Collaboration is the Magic Word
Success in the DLL relies heavily on group collaboration. I was fortunate enough to start the program with some ladies and gentle men who stuck with me throughout the program. Bridget Gallagher, Denise Dillard and Kylie Modisette were my go to gals for every class. There were a few others that joined in and out, like Justin Clark who I have grown to respect and admire and many others. While the collaboration and comradery of a key group was immensely helpful, I also have to say that some professors were and are at the top of my heap. Dr Dwayne Harapnuik was there for me even when I wasn’t in his classes. Dr. Ybarra was particularly helpful because she works with my target audience and had a wealth of information to share with me regarding resources. Dr. Tilisa Thibodeaux was warm and engaging from the very start of the program and like Dr. H she made herself available for consulting as needed. I feel very fortunate to have been able to embark upon my learning journey with such a awesome crew and support network.
My Best and My worst
At my best I found myself, doing mock-ups of the influencer model a few times a day for different people are working. The lessons I was learning in the DLL were being put into rotation in ways that I had not planned for them to. I love to collaborate and to support others in their journey, and when I had the opportunity to pitch and support other learners in the program it was absolutely my honor. Other people let you know when you’re being helpful and in their own way they will also let you know when you’re not being helpful. Weekly discussions became a place for me to try to be a supported and helpful as possible with the other students, even if it meant just letting them know all that I heard a and then I saw the work they are trying to do and I respect and at work. I personally believe that encouragement goes a long way. At my worst, every Sunday night that a major project was to I would spiral and until 9:30 PM trying to come up with the most innovative way to express myself. In the end however, I would usually choose a straightforward way to express what I’ve learned. One would think that after the first time toiling into the wee hours of the morning over what to create, I would have just gone ahead and chosen the simple path to begin with, but no. Even as I am completing this particular post I am watching as the night becomes a new day. Apparently, this is my process and it’s the worst.