Continuing on from a previous post regarding the Seek – Sense – Share Framework outlined by Harold Jarche, I am going to describe the methods I use to make sense of all that I collect. I use a number of tools to collect and reflect upon what I find.
Jarche describes this process as sense-making. As Jarche notes, sense-making should be a regular process where one filters new information through a personal experience filter to develop new knowledge or reinforce what is already known. He also adds that sense-making is what we put into practice.
For me, the process of sense-making is necessary before I share information with others. In my various roles as instructional technologist, martial artist, and Civil Air Patrol leader, I believe it is my responsibility to help find and distribute new content in order to help others excel. Sense-making is a key component to this process because I have to first understand it and know how the new knowledge will benefit others before I can share it.
Sense-making may occur while I seeking information, or it may be distinct function as I am getting ready to share what I have learned with others.
Here are the tools I use as part of my sense-making:
My blog is perhaps the centerpiece of my sense-making. It started as an exercise for a class I took with Dr. Michael Day, and has evolved into a place where I reflect and share what I am learning. I do not have a particular audience for this blog. It is a place where I can document my learning journey.
While doing some professional reading, I write my notes into Zotero. I now have countless articles and books listed in Zotero with my notes. I am able to quickly research this resource to craft new understanding on a topic. It was indispensable to my dissertation writing process. I am now leveraging it as a write a book. Throughout my blog, I have written a number of posts about Zotero. Kindle and Zotero make a great note capture combination.
If I am watching a Webinar, attending a presentation, or listening to a podcast, I will usually have Evernote open to capture my notes. If I am taking a note in a notebook, I will later photograph the page and save it to Evernote where I can subsequently search for it. Additionally, I have scanned previous notes captured at events into Evernote so that I can more easily reference them. Evernote is such a versatile tool, I can not imagine working without it.
If I am capturing a Web-based resource, I will typically save it to Diigo. I have approximately 9,700 sites saved to Diigo, and they are tagged for easy retrieval. I am regularly referencing my collection as I write blog posts or put presentations together. If someone asks me for references on a topic, I will generally give them a Diigo tag link related to their topic.
When I create a presentation, it is very much a sense-making process. To build a presentation, I have to organize the material in a way that makes sense to me and others. Often when working through the process of building a presentation, I will develop some new insight into the problem I am addressing. I share my presentations to Slideshare for the benefit of others.
Vodcasting is my newest endeavor. I am using vodcasting as a tool to share my learning adventures. Each week, I learn new things As I listen to podcasts or read, and I develop a short video to share what I have come to understand.
Finally, I am in the process of writing a book on informal learning. The entire process has been a learning experience, and caused me to explore my understanding of informal learning in much more depth. It has very much been a sense-making process. As I get ready for a vacation, I will be focusing a significant amount of time to writing and researching.
Well, that is how I go about making sense of this rapidly changing world. What do you do to make sense of your part of the world?