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How do we get people to share designs, share learning ideas? Is social media the answer?

Design Bash 8th July 09

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Gráinne Conole
8 July 2009

What can we get people to share designs, share learning ideas? Is social media the answer to getting people to share learning? How can we encourage no-web 2.0 folk into the space and for them to see the value?

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Gráinne Conole
10:31am 8 July 2009

Tweet anwser: jont@gconole remove HE's obession with RAE points and being the first to publish something. that would help things along :-)

Gráinne Conole
10:37am 8 July 2009

I think social media may well be the answer but as yet there aren't enough of the general learning and teaching population in there.... so somehow we need to encourage them in. We may need to run some real and virtual events targetted at the general learning and teaching community, using the social media as a background, kind of drip feed them the benefits, and hopefully in time they will perhaps be more likely to more over naturally into the space on their own.

Gráinne Conole
10:42am 8 July 2009

from @actualal @gconole: Added pennies worth to discussion on the problem of sharing designs

Matt Lingard
10:49am 8 July 2009

Totally agree with Gráinne that getting more staff digitally literate and using social media is a hurdle.  But also think that actually convincing people to share is another biggie... how do we convince, motivate people to share... does much sharing take place offline already?

Liam Green-Hughes
11:55am 8 July 2009

Perhaps sharing by be encouraged by a sense of pride in creating things. Many people don't get the satisfaction of having something they can point to and say "I created that" - a sense of pride that means people will want to share their creations - perhaps in return for other creations. This might be a factor in open source for example, where a real sense of pride can come from seeing people use your work.

Rebecca Galley
11:57am 8 July 2009

My experience is that where teachers share it tends to be informal and in response to a problem or question - so why shouldn't social media mimic this?? However, I have met a lot of teachers though that won't even put their resources and session plans on a departmental shared drive, let alone sharing with the wider T&L community. They talk about 'why should I when no one else does' but I sense that the issue is more one of confidence or shyness...or possibly a fear of judgement...pride before a fall etc. it is also hard to get teachers to do peer observations - I wonder whether the issues are the same??

Giota Alevizou
12:49pm 8 July 2009 (Edited 7:43am 17 September 2009)

@Gráinne's first comment. Added to RAE obsession's are I think the several issues about privacy, data protection act and other instituionalised bits and pieces. I have similar exprerience to what rebecca says 'teachers though that won't even put their resources and session plans on a departmental shared drive, let alone sharing with the wider T&L community.', And yes, certainly VLEs foster publication and a sense of accountablity and quality assurance, but there are also power relations around competition and co-ersive participation that need to be accounted for. Shyness is also important too. One collegue mentioned in the past??? how many social media can I have at the end?  

Giota Alevizou
1:01pm 8 July 2009

On discussing physically and virtually with Rebecca...we consented that there's a need to address both opportunities and challenges...And so, re: shyness, there's an interesting project: "Supporting Shy Users in Pervasive Computing", run by Dr Susie Scott @ U of Sussex Sociology Dept together with colleagues from Informatics Dept. They are examining the impact of ubiquitous technologies (mobile devices or those built into the environment) upon self-defined 'shy' people in three different social contexts: classrooms, informal networking sites, and art galleries.  Project details:"

4:11pm 8 July 2009

I  don't see how Social Networks can NOT be the answer. But by SN I don't mean just Facebook and Twitter OOTB. Design tools (CAD) should by default lead to the sharing of designs. I don't know if Cloudworks can be part of this process as I've only just registered, but I'd be surprised if it's not.


Gráinne Conole
4:21pm 8 July 2009

I agree @Bob Social Networks has to be a key ingredient - i think part of the trick will be finding the right mix for different people. and the right balance of real and social. Cloudworks is our attempt to try and offer part of the solution - we hope! ;-)

9:40pm 8 July 2009

Liam, I agree with the 'sense of pride of creating something' concept. I also agree with Grainee and Bob that we should be looking at finding the right real-social mix for different nets of people, which is going to be challenging but very interesting...but maybe i am biased ;-). 

When people go social online they generally do so because there is a specific object - topic - cause etc that is meaningful to them and enables them to connect / share with others around their object of interest, thus enriching their experience of having a social relationship. 

Rebecca Galley
1:27pm 9 July 2009

Thanks @Giota for the link to shyness project. I'll have a look next week. I wonder if social network 'shyness' is transient or persistent in individuals...?

12:41pm 7 September 2009

Don't don't if social media is the answer, I'd like to throw 'ownership' of information/data, 'cultural practices' into the pot of discussion - oh yes and 'meaningful context' - which can affect the quality/quantity of sharing

Gráinne Conole
12:45pm 7 September 2009 (Edited 12:46pm 7 September 2009)

Hmm good points @Sukhtinder - we are still in the early stages of understanding these different types of communication and media and what is appropriate where and when. Whilst I thing social networking is very valuable it is NOT the answer to everything. As always there are a number of dimensions which need to be considered, which will be different in different circumstance. For example

  • Individually owned - freely avaialble
  • Private conversation - open conversation
  • Locally contextualised - generic
  • Specfic use - generic use/transferable

1:06pm 7 September 2009

@Gra'inne. One things for sure SN can give users more control on the circumstances that you have just described, thus making it suitable for different contexts. Obviously there will always be other means to achieving sharing. SN allows and gives you the comfort to contribute in real time and in debates after reflection - thereby allowing one to digest ideas/theories before them. Convincing others - well - the arena of education has changed -the web has done that its no longer local,  national but international - the web has brought people and therfore communication closer than we ever imagined- this is reflected in wider society and 'up and coming 'young learners  - yes there may be some divides in terms of accessibilty but in higher education it is now without a doubt a necessity to use technology in some form or another to inform and educate.

Gráinne Conole
1:08pm 7 September 2009

Yep absolutely! And this debate is a great example of it! For me the power is in both the real time connection and then the ability to aggregate those discusions etc to refer to later. With cloudworks our central concept is the idea of a "cloud" which can be anything to do with learning and teaching. These clouds can be socail - ie discussed and can below to more than one context/community - "cloudscape"

Nathan Lomax
4:23pm 16 September 2009 (Edited 4:43pm 16 September 2009)

Cloudworks is the answer! But I had to persevere before I could see the potential benefits. I am trying to get other teachers I work with to join but I think their 'affective filter' may prevent them from accepting yet another invitation to join a social networking site.

Gráinne Conole
7:43am 17 September 2009

Great Nathan! You wont be surprised to hear that we agree with you!!! that's exactly our central motivation with developing the site. But I agree we need more guidance to show the benefits - we plan to draw out some of the practices we are beginning to see here and put those up as examples/walk throughs of how to use the site and beneifits/uses.

Alex Rowe
3:08pm 3 October 2010 (Edited 11:28pm 3 October 2010)

Interesting points re. shyness and fear of judgement by rebecca and giota (thanks for the link too). In my experience of this (and not just with teachers) these mild forms of social fear disorder are very context dependent. People who are fine with face to face communication can become shy when using media to communicate, without knowing exactly who will be receiving the communication. 

Conversely, people who are very shy within face to face and group presentation often loose all that shyness online. Hence the popularity of second-life type websites.

Rebecca Galley
10:49am 4 October 2010

It is really interesting to revisit this discussion - thx Alex for relighting it! I never did look at that piece of research that Giota linked to!

 Increasingly I think it should be possible to mitigate 'shyness' by providing stonger indicators for new users of social 'norms' and values. I think uncertainty and fear of doing something wrong/odd plays a big part in shyness...but maybe that's just me...:-)

I wonder whether there's been any study of how an interface could outline social 'rules' or provide social structure for new users (without being irritating to established user). I guess site branding plays a big part in this.

Derek Jones
9:14pm 5 October 2010

This (contribution inhibitors) is very similar to encouraging design thinking in students (in fact, this is usually the first big barrier to get over) - we all create a 'self-censor' which operates on a number of different levels and makes us reluctant to advertise our own thoughts and ideas.

An idea is very personal thing - it has 'originated' in your own mind and there can be no other more personal thing that we share with others (obvious alternative behaviours aside...).

My students (not me...) this year came up with these main inhibitors to voicing their own ideas :

  • That they will be looked down on / judged by others (social judgement)
  • That they will appear stupid / silly / inconsequential (personal judgement)
  • That they will not be viewed as creative enough (value judgement)
In a design environment, it is really important that we cut through any possibility of self-censorship at all so that the ideas generated can be as wide and wild as possible. Generating product out of these ideas comes later, but at the start we need quantity, not quality :) This can seem counter intuitive at first, but after you try it out it does work. 
So, the first tutorial is really important ( - apologies for slideshare's mutilation of some screens)
But (and this is a huge but) it does depend on a shared environment in which this type of thought is accepted, encouraged and valued. This, in a distance learning environment is definitely an interesting learning design challenge :D. And the same challenges apply to a social forum such as CW (and I would completely agree @Rebecca, there are loads of little graphic and design cues that dictate how approachable CW is - having fluffy clouds at the top helps, reputation does ... other things ;) ).
At the risk of sounding a bit retro (and this coming from someone who likes their technology), some of the best bits and pieces of learning design and tips and tricks I have received have come from the staff development days up here - 100+ ALs eating cheap institutional food can share a remarkable amount of information. The number of great little tips you can get using this type of social networking is really useful.
In fact, the next time I will tweet all those little bits...
So, on the one hand there are always going to be inhibitors to contribution and it does take a bit of brass neck to post this ('cos I'm no psychologist and I'm completely aware that I could totally wrong...) - but on the other hand that's what life long learning's all about - fail often to succeed!

Ruth Canton
12:54pm 16 January 2013

I’ve been accessing this Mooc project webspace for a week and not offered any typed contribution of my views.  Yet I have strong views on learning design so why have I not voiced these here?

 I don’t have to think ‘how’, before posting opinion on other social networks. I’m not shy or reluctant to learn cloudscapes / forums / platforms that are connected to this project. I’m computer literate, natural typist, very interested in learning design.  What has stopped me from engaging with this learning discussion?

Am I right that there are two forums related to this MOOC subject – Google and Cloudworks? Why not one? To take this idea further: why is this course spread across multiple domains, with multiple user interfaces to understand and logins to create?
Is it the designed intention to allow the learner to forget where they came from and potentially be unable to find a piece of learning material they were hoping to return to, but had not book marked?
Was consideration given to graphical aids? (a standard element used in successful social media applications).

I think it has taken this long, as deciding where, how and what to post was not clear. When I have to learn a subject matter, I feel these elements need to be unambiguous.

Gráinne Conole
1:39pm 16 January 2013

Hi thanks for these thoughts. I think the idea is that the google forum is for more strutured debate, whereas cloudworks offers the facility to not only contribute to a discussion but also add links and references. Hope this helps!

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