As any good project manager knows, you need to a plan and you need activity to ensure that you really do achieve your goals. The same applies to personal learning. So no matter whether you are an experienced SAP professional or just starting out on your SAP career, creating a personal learning environment is one of the best ways to ensure that you are up-to-date with the latest information, connected with your community, and working towards achieving your career goals.
There are many Building the Future: Considerations For YOUR Personal Learning Environment when it comes to personal learning, but the best thing to do is to just get started. I have written Building Your Personal Learning Environment Pt 1 that provide tips and Building Your Personal Learning Environment Pt 2 for building your personal learning environment – but you won’t get the benefit of a personal learning environment until you start putting it to work.
So, how do you get the juicy goodness out of personal learning? This is where your daily learning process kicks in!
It is easy to feel overwhelmed with RSS feeds, new SAP courses, upgrades and so on. Leave it a few days and it your unread feed list can go crazy. Take a couple of weeks leave and you may as well delete everything and start over!
By having your information and knowledge feeds aggregated through a feed reading service such as Google Reader, you can save a great deal of time and effort. This is not just a function of simplicity – but also of ease of use. One of the most easy-to-use feed readers I have come across is Feedly. This Firefox extension takes your catalogued feed list from Google Reader and turns it into a daily/weekly digest of categorised information. Let’s just take a quick look at how this might work for you.
All of the feeds that I have created in Google Reader now flow through to the categories shown down the left hand side of my Feedly reader. And for each of the category areas, Feedly automatically checks for the most widely read articles and pushes them into a “Featured” category at the top of the page. This way you can see the information that your peers and colleagues already rate highly. You can also highlight sections of articles and make notes (which are then routed as comments to Google Reader) – you are effectively now engaged in “networked learning”.
The thing to remember about a PLE is that it is not JUST for you. It is also for your mentor (if you have one) and colleagues in your network who are interested in the same professional topics that you are. This two-way dynamic allows you to:
- Share your information, lists, aspirations by publishing them
- Receive feedback, suggestions and recommendations
- Filter information through this feedback mechanism
- Distribute all this across your network via RSS feeds etc
When you start using tools and platforms such as Posterous and Feedly, you are not just creating value for yourself, you are creating value for others – and your personal recommendations (ie voting/sharing etc) automatically begin appearing across the web. So now, as you learn, you are also contributing to your community and slowly, but surely, Personal Brands and Your SAP Career.
As you grow more confident, you can bring other technologies (such as Twitter) into your personal learning environment. Just remember, you need to consider yourself a publisher (even if it is for an audience of one) – and by creating tagging, information and context around your personal learning, you will be able to grow your knowledge and your skills in a way that benefits your own career. And it may just benefit the careers of others too – and that’s not a bad thing!