Learning Resolutions: Keep Practicing

Editor's Note: Guest post by Melissa Venable 

Making professional resolutions, for me, means answering the question: How can I improve the work I am doing? And it's not about creating a long list, but instead setting my sights on specific ways to develop better habits and get what will be a busy year off to a positive start. With this in mind it's my goal to get more practice in 2013.

Part of my job as an education writer over the past year and a half has been to stay on top of the trends in online learning, so that I can advise others about what's happening. To do this I find I am constantly adding to my reading list and seeking out new conversations. This can get overwhelming quickly as there is so much to keep up with these days from a variety of helpful sources representing different sectors of the online education industry. There are even new ways to meet, new tools for collaboration, and new communities for networking emerging as we speak.

What adds to the value of what I am writing is the ability to combine what I am learning from others with what I know from my own first-hand experience. And it's the same situation in my additional roles as online instructor (teaching a course in instructional design) and freelance instructional designer (creating online courses and professional development materials).

So in the coming year, with a goal of broadening my experience as a learning professional, I'll be involved in the following projects:

·      Incorporating social media (Twitter specifically) with my spring semester students as a way to connect, share resources, and introduce them to some of the leaders in the field, as well as getting their feedback on how it all works.
·      Working with a team to explore, and hopefully develop, a mobile app to pilot at a professional conference scheduled for summer.
·      Taking an online class. I haven't decided what are where (suggestions welcome!) and am thinking a MOOC or MOOC-like offering may be in order. There's nothing like the learner's perspective to reveal concerns and challenges that may have been undetected otherwise, but could have been addressed on the design and development side.

To continue serving students and instructors in all roles, the reading and discussion are musts, and I can't forget the importance of practice to inform the decisions I make and the advice I can give. Making this practice count will also require being open to trying new things, which may not always work as expected, while considering myself a student of the process along the way.

What elements are you adding to your practice in the coming year?

You can find Melissa at Inside Online Learning, on Twitter and Google+.