#coachlearninginsport: self-organising networks

Last month, I was invited to join a group of coaches in an online forum.

I was delighted to be asked but I have spent much of the time as a peripheral participant … enjoying the open sharing but not contributing.

I thought listening might be a good way to start in a group of online acquaintances.

Yesterday, I responded to this message from one of the group:

Hi everyone. I’m early in the process of setting up new CPD events. I’ve been slightly dissatisfied with recent experiences and groups like this show the value of sharing and exploring new ideas.

They won’t be linked to NGB/club/County – more of a ‘by coaches, for coaches’ approach focusing on interaction, conceptualisation of ideas and discussion, building a network etc.

From your recent CPD experiences, what have been the best elements? If there was one thing you want, or would want, from a CPD experience then what would it be?

Any ideas and feedback welcome.

It seemed a great opportunity for me to discuss my thoughts about #coachlearninginsport.

It coincided too with my participation in an open online course, Connectivism and Learning. Stephen Downes is the facilitator of this course and he has this to say about connectivism:

At its heart, connectivism is the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks. (My emphasis)

Elsewhere, Stephen (2012) has discussed course design. He notes that in  a connectivist course “the content does not define the course”.

By navigating the content environment, and selecting content that is relevant to your own personal preferences and context, you are creating an individual view or perspective. So you are first creating connections between contents with each other and with your own background and experience. And working with content in a connectivist course does not involve learning or remembering the content. Rather, it is to engage in a process of creation and sharing. Each person in the course, speaking from his or her unique perspective, participates in a conversation that brings these perspectives together. (My emphasis)

I am hopeful that our online group might discuss these issues … if they are of interest.

For the time being, I look forward to engaging in a conversation on the platform that explores whether we might move from CPD to CPL and to celebrate the sense each of us makes of our self-organising networks.

Connected by shared interests.

Photo Credits

At Coogee (Keith Lyons, CC BY 4.0)


In an interview published this week, Stephen Downes discusses connectivism.

He observes:

knowledge is the organization of connections in a network of interconnected entities, where a connection is a link such that a change of state in one entity can result in a change of state in another entity.

Later in the interview, Stephen discusses virtualization:

We’re trying to create different experiences for different people, and from the interaction among those people, each with their own perspective, we get new knowledge as a result.

Stephen’s interview was one of the items that appeared in my inbox today.

I am at the point now where I have been able to manage the volume of sharing I receive each day that gives me the opportunity to extend my personal learning through gleaning.

There is a definition of gleaning as “obtaining information from various sources”. I think sometimes I end up with biblical-type gleaning too (“collecting leftover crops’).

One of my pull resources today came from a coach educator who was using Adobe Spark. His innovation led me to try out Spark too.

This first effort pulls together my gleanings in and around the social learning space.

Photo Credit

Fake Tilt Shift (Martin Alleus, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Connecting with sport at the crossroads of the world

This morning was one of those delightful, connecting mornings.

We have had really good overnight rain in Braidwood. The air is cool … and my ADSL connection is working.

I am usually up at 6am and ready to discover the treasure trove that is my online personal learning network.

Each morning, I find myself at the crossroads of the world on a quiet street in rural New South Wales. The ADSL connection is important as I can access a stable internet connection without any latency. This was not the case when I lived out in the country, too far from a telephone exchange to give a hard wired connection point. Connecting there was an act of hope and of profound patience.

This morning’s treasures included:

  • Messages from coaches in Europe and Australia.
  • An exchange about mixed methods research and the place of qualitative observation.
  • An email from a friend in England about ‘tough love’ in open online course design.
  • News of the start of an open online course on Sports Performance Analysis.
  • News of Stephen Downes’ latest online course Connectivism and Learning.

This blog emerged from the impetus given to me by an open online course in 2008, Connectivism and Connective Knowledge. It started my engagement with Twitter too.

Back then Clyde Street Mongarlowe, was at the crossroads of the world now it is Elrington Street, Braidwood … or wherever I am with my phone.

I am delighted to be following a new connectivist course. I read Stephen’s OLDaily at the start of each day which sets me off on a journey that starts in Casselman, Ontario, via Braidwood, New South Wales and then on to wherever hyperlinks lead.

My ‘tough love’ email included this advice:

Learning on an interactive platform, as you should do in a lecture or tutorial, and certainly when writing an essay or sitting an exam, you ‘lean forward‘ – you engage the brain – the harder you are made to think, the greater the struggle, the more likely you have learned something lasting and of value on which you can build. (My emphasis)

Connectivist approaches to sharing and learning invite me to lean forward. I find it impossible to stop this movement.

So, it was delightful to discover the start of Jocelyn Mara and Leah Holroyd‘s Sport Performance Analysis 101 course this morning.

I am nervous when open online courses use the prefix Massive and transform OOCs into MOOCs. I am comfortable in a connectivist world to accept that small is beautiful.

This morning’s treasures at the crossroads of the world emphasise for me the personal essence of learning through connections. They reinforce that beautiful Joi Ito observation that “learning is what we do to ourselves”.

I trust you are having the same kind of experience at your crossroads.