This is the end of ONL, but really the beginning of a dawning learning network, with real colleagues from all over the world interested in discussing the field of ICT and online learning. I have high hopes, but also worries about managing to keep the learning network alive. I will try to use some of my newly acquired knowledge in online learning and collaboration to do it.

Starting the ONL course, (if one could call it a course, it is more a learning experience, or journey), I had a «wait and see» attitude to the whole thing. I have been in this «game» for a long time and am familiar with the topics in the course. But I was curious about the collaboration, how much real collaboration there would be, and also how the facilitation would work. The most interesting thing about the group was its diversity. It made it really interesting trying to build a group feeling, where we are more than just individuals. This is what it is all about really. If we manage to build a group where its members feel free, safe and taken care of, we will manage to learn together. Of course, this takes time. 10 weeks are not really a long time when it comes to building confidence, but somehow, we managed to do it, with a lot of help from a facilitator and all the group individuals. I mean, of course it was not perfect. Had we had more time, it would have been better, but we all learned as we went along. We learned to trust the process and not rush to the finished product. We did rush in the beginning, and for quite some time actually. 

For myself I learned to let it take its time and let people use their time and be generous.

What else do I want to take away from this experience? I will put effort into the process of turning my institution towards more openness and sharing (OER). Firs of all making it easier to share, by facilitating a sort of platform for doing so, but also by drawing attention to the cause. 

As for the online learning, and the design of online learning, I think I will focus even more on the need for group socialization and not only tasks. We have learnt that less actually is more. Spend more time on each subject, on each task. Don’t worry too much about not having enough activities for the students to do. It will most likely be the opposite that is the reality, each time! I think this might even be true for the ONL course, but I am not sure. Maybe the current design is the way to ensure that not too many fall off, by keeping the pressure to attend and deliver. It would be really interesting to know how many started, and how many finished in the end. 

I started this post by pointing out that this is the beginning of a real learning network for me and the group I attended. We climbed together on the five stage ladder (ref.Gilly Salmon), and did not lose one single member, something we are all really proud of!  Who knows, maybe we will go to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro together like suggested by our local (to Tanzania) group member.

Topic 5 Lessons learnt – ONL