Wednesday, October 4

The Big Question for October:
Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?

The Big Question is a new monthly feature on Learning Circuits Blog. We want everyone in the LCB community to join in - from the comfort of your own blog. Each month we will pose a question we think is of interest to the learning community.For info on how it will work, please see the Sidebar.

The Big Question for October is:

Should All Learning Professionals be Blogging?
Posts Discussing This So Far (26):
  1. Dave Lee - eelearning - did your great-great-great-great grandfather write a novel?
  2. Tony Karrer – eLearning Technology - LCB's Big Question - Should All Learning Professionals be Blogging?
  3. Brent Schlenker - Corporate eLearning Development - Should All Learning Professionals be Blogging?
  4. Jim Belshaw - Managing the Professional Services Firm - Should All Learning Professionals be Blogging - Practical Issues
  5. Rodolpho Arruda - Noverim Me, Noverim Te - Pessoas que trabalham com educação deveriam ter seu blog? (Don't worry, Rodolpho posted in English for us monolingual US people.)
  6. Stephen Downes - Half an Hour - Should All Learning Professionals be Blogging?
  7. Harold Jarche - The Big Question
  8. Bill Bruck - Blogging and the Nature of Dialog
  9. Matthew N. mLearning World Learning Circuits Asks- Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?
  10. Mark Oehlert eClippings Learning Circuits Asks- Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?
  11. Barry Sampson Learn Me Happy The Learning Circuits Blog: The Big Question for October: Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?
  12. HowCron e-Training in the Trenches Should All Learning Professionals be Blogging?
  13. Geetha Krishnan Simply Speaking Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?
  14. Jane Interactive-HE in FE Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?
  15. Karl Kapp Kapp Notes The Learning Circuits Blog: The Big Question for October: Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?
  16. Rovy Bronson Situativity Should We All Blog?
  17. Nancy White - Full Circle Online Interaction Blog: The Big Question for October: Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?
  18. Bronwyn Clarke - Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?
  19. Tony Karrer - eLearning Technology: Top Ten Reasons To Blog and Top Ten Not to Blog
  20. Dave Wilson Learning Reflections The Learning Circuits Big Question
  21. Clive Shepherd Clive on Learning Should all learning professionals be blogging?
  22. Tony Karrer eLearning Technology Blogs vs. Discussion Groups or Mis-Understanding Blog Reading and Blog Communities
  23. Dave Lee eelearning blogs are awesome
  24. Clark Quinn LCB Big Question of the Month
  25. Peter Isackson Learning Circuits Blog Community Net Worth
  26. Mohamed Amine Chatti Mohamed Amine Chatti´s ongoing research on Technology Enhanced Learning Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?
  27. David Wilkins Performance-based Learning The Big Question -- Should All Learning Professionals be Blogging?
  28. Terence Armentano, M.Ed., The eLearning Spotlight and Resources Should all Learning Professionals be Blogging?

Check out all 54 comments responding to these posts. Just click on this button whenever you see it!


Dave Lee said...

How to let us know you've posted
Tony and Dave, this is cool! I've posted my take on everyone blogging on my blog eelearning. the permalink is
don't worry about putting an actual link in the comment. you can't in the old Blogger.

Rodolpho Arruda said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rodolpho Arruda said...

Here is my 2cent contrib. Don't mind the text in portuguese. It only introduces the posting.

Tony Karrer said...

Rodolpho - You didn't need to remove the comments, that was an okay way to respond, but I've add a link to your post in the body above.

I need to think about your contributions and others a bit. Some interesting thoughts!

Peter Isackson said...

Might we also reflect on the relationship between blogging and narcissism? This isn't to say that bloggers are narcissists, but that the blogging fashion in some way may aggravate a deeper narcisstic trend in our culture.

Another negative aspect of blogging is the lowering of the standard of written expression because anyone can type but few really know how to write. That applies particularly to U.S. culture where sincerity -- real or feigned -- gets a higher mark than quality of thought and expression (the opposite is true here in France).

My overall feeling is that individual blogging, especially if considered as an obligation, does little to contribute to social construction in general and learning in particular.

I also believe that before drawing any conclusions (including those I've hinted at above) we need to do more research on the sociology and culture of blogging. Pushing people to blog skews the results and may even prevent us from recognizing the real service blogs can provide.

David Wilson said...

Tony/Dave - My view is mixed, i.e. yes and no. To start with the no first, blogging is a useful tool but it has its limits and it tends to be viewed by some (and the press currently) as a bit of panacea. To my mind, much that is blogged is repetitive and doesn't add a lot of value. There's almost a trend to have to be seen to be blogging for the sake of it rather than because you actually have anything new to say. The danger is that creating a culture where all learning professionals must blog would in fact magnify these problems.

But having said that, on the plus side, blogging is best when the blogger has a view and can express it. The lack of formality and the ease of cross-referencing other blog content or references means is great to accelerate discussion and promote broader thinking and understanding. Learning professionals should be able to engage and contribute in these discussions. They should be able to communicate, and they should be able to both have, and express a view. If not, how effective are they as learning professionals? So, on balance I think, getting more or all learning professionals to engage in the blogosphere would be positive. But maybe for some, their blogging will be public - i.e. on the Internet, for others it will be "private" , i.e. inside their own organisation. That might not have been meant by the original question, but I think internal blogging from learning professionals, and promoted by learning professionals inside the organisation would be a positive step in the fostering of the learning organisation.

Anonymous said...

No, all learning professional should not be blogging. Just because blogging is something that anyone could do, it is not something that everyone should be expected to do. A newspaper may have a million readers but only a thousand contributors. Even if it was easy to contribute articles to a newspaper, it wouldn't make it any more likely that people have something important enough to say.

Blogs are a good way for a single person to express their opinions and for others to make comments. Personally, I feel that the older message boards where any member can initiate a discussion thread or respond to an existing topic provides for a better sharing of information. But even with message boards, there will always be more people who choose to read and not respond.

Now if we open the question up a bit and ask "Should all learning professionals be aware of blogs?" the answer would be yes. Learning professionals should be aware of the technology available to them and be willing to try new things.

Matthew Nehrling said...

Dave & Tony.
I've added my 'rant' to here: Learning Circuits Asks- Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?

-My answer is a resounding NO. My main concern in this question is the qualifier 'SHOULD' as if this is a commandment. Although Blogging is one of the newest technologies to hit the learning scene, my concern is learning professionals will once again fall into the trap we always seem to, taking a technology and holding on too tightly. What once was the next big thing today, tomorrow will be yesterday's news. Just as you have learning professionals hung up on PowerPoint being the be-all-end-all of training, the next generation may consider blogs (or Wikis) the be-all-end-all.

My second concern is that learning professionals will embrace blogging technology just because they are told it is the 'next big thing' in learning, and yet, it may not be the best for their circumstance. I've seen many cases where technology or software was embraced because it was 'cutting edge' only to sit on the shelf.

I look forward to a time when all learning professionals are open minded to new technology not because they have to, but because they have determined that technology is best for their circumstance.

We need to take a measurable and calculated path to ensure we don't pollute the technology with poor implementation.

This may seem odd coming from a learning technology professional, but we all remember the day when everyone embraced PowerPoint for every learning solution, only to have the technology watered down by poor presentations. We now have the situation where the learning community cringes (or laughs under their breath) when anyone mentions PowerPoint.

HowCron said...

My thoughts on the matter.

I think all of the commenters here have great points. "matthew n." hits on something that I could totally see happening in my company -- the "bosses" start thinking blogs are the greatest thing, then systematically strip it of everything that actually makes it great. "Posts" would turn into "press releases" that need a few 2 hour meetings to craft and word correctly... honesty and sincerity would be discouraged. The whole reason I love reading blogs is the open-ness and honesty... and most corporations have a strict policy against that.

Mark said...

Hi All! Great Stuff - just posted my little bit over here.

Barry Sampson said...

A great question. This could run and run! I've posted my two penny's worth here.

Geetha Krishnan said...

Good idea this, to come up with a question of the month. Have posted a detailed response on my blog -

Jim Belshaw said...

Bronwyn Clarke, a learning development professional from the University of New England posted a cogent comment on my blog. I "thought that I should share this with you. Bronwyn wrote:

This is just a fly-by, spur of the moment comment - perhaps the question isn't so much 'should all learning professionals be blogging' but rather 'should all learning professionals be actively engaging with the current developments in their discipline?' To which, in my mind, the answer is Yes.

The 'How?' question then leads naturally to blogging or similar activities - because the exciting, new and innovative developments in pretty much all a university's discipline areas are being discussed, reported, analysed and further developed on the web, through online journals, news, blogs, wikis and so on. The web is the home to the current knowledge and ideas, and is much more up-to-date than most traditional print-based academic journals, where the time-frame from research to publication can be years.

Participating in those online communities is a true scholarly activity - contributing to the 'unending conversation' in our discipline areas, debating ideas, furthering knowledge and understanding, and sharing that with the wider community.

Yes, it's a time commitment, but it's part of our pursuit of knowledge in our respective discipline areas - and it's also a timesaver in some ways, with easy access to the leading thinkers and resources, the opportunity to share and seek feedback on ideas and drafts of papers, and so on."

Jane said...

Have posted on this subject on my blog 'Interactive-HE in FE'. The permalink is

Karl Kapp said...

Tony and Dave, I think is a great idea and a great question. Here is the post I created on my recently created blog "Kapp Notes."

Here is a direct link and my answer to the question:
Yes, All Learning Professionals Should Blog--At Least for a Month

Jane said...

Peter writes 'Another negative aspect of blogging is the lowering of the standard of written expression because anyone can type but few really know how to write.'

I was rather surprised to see this type of apparently exclusive comment from you Peter.

An 'apprentice' blogger entering a Blogosphere can surely be coached and mentored into appropriate tone and discourse through association with professional peers and through exposure to more advanced discourse; a form of iterative socio-cultural development

Anonymous said...

My small contribution to this ongoing discussion can be found at:

Mark said...


I'm with you - Peter, I consider blogging in many ways to be a practice space - a place in which you can try out arguments, styles and conventions all with the understanding that you will probably get critiqued, criticized and taught how to write better. Where else can people practice writing with this frequency?

Anonymous said...

I've expanded a little on my first comments in Jim's blog (posted above) at my own blog:

David Wilson said...

See also this related thread on my blog.


Clive Shepherd said...

I'd say we're getting a little ahead of ourselves. In my experience, most learning professionals don't even know what a blog is. See my posting .

Tony Karrer said...

Clive, in my experience I would not agree that "most have never heard of blogs" ... but I would agree that most have a warped perspective of what it means to blog and even more so to read and participate in the blog community.

More on this:

eLearning Technology: Blogs vs. Discussion Groups or Mis-Understanding Blog Reading and Blog Communities

Clive, like you, I cited the 1% rule in thinking about this. But, I'm wondering if 1% holds in the world of blog communities. And does it say 1% have a blog, 10% read? What about commenting?

And, I wonder how many learning professionals there are? Anyone know how many ASTD members there are? 100,000? That would only be 1,000 blogs. That seems awefully small.

Oh, one last thing, all of this counting will depend on how we define a blog. Is writing your journal in MySpace a blog?

Peter Isackson said...

Jane and Mark,
My position wasn't meant to sound elitist. And I'm not in any sense opposed to blogs, merely aware of their eventual limitations; it would be hypocritical of me to say otherwise. Blogs are excellent devices for doing a lot of things, including practising writing. And one can't learn to write without plenty of practice. But it's a bit like music; no matter how good the musician is, nobody other than a teacher or an eventual biographer really wants to listen to to the practice sessions.

My objection is to putting pressure on people in training and education to blog, because it's quite possible to be a good trainer, mentor, coach, facilitator, etc. without having a talent or a taste, not so much for writing as for written communication. I'm less concerned about the form than the medium, which is fundamentally different from speaking and which still has immense services to offer other than as a way of transcribing speech (and the emotions we have the habit of expressing through speech).

The worry I intended to express was therefore twofold: fear of the eventual loss of the particular nuance (and distance) that writing allows and the atomisation of intellectual endeavor. I actually do believe in the wisdom of communities, if not crowds.

In spite of the potential for interactivity, the personal blog appears to me to be a largely narcissistic space. When I see an appeal published on a list like this -- where many voices are regularly heard -- for a splintering of the whole into individual blogs, with an implicit moral obligation on one and all to speak through their own private blogs, I fear that the social Web is turning into the narcissistic Web. The risk has already been recognized through observed behavior in Myspace and elsewhere (doesn't the name Myspace itself say it all?).

Long live blogs, but let it be a choice, not an obligation.

Anonymous said...

Yesy of course

Peter Isackson said...

Let me amend my previous conclusion: "let it be a choice, not an obligation nor an obsession."

Or as any jazz musician would say: "Don't ask dudes who don't know the chord changes to join the jam session."

Is that elitist? No, it's a recipe for avoiding embarrassment. There's no shame in being a listener rather than a musician.

Dave Lee said...

I like Peter's comment above. No not when he channeled a jazz musician but before that. "long live blogs. But they should be a choice, not an obligation.

I've posted what I hope is a clarification of what I think of blogging over on eelearning. the permalink is

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Amine Chatti said...

just posted my answer here

Dave Wilkins said...

After writing a few thoughts, I think I came down on "No." For me, the issue is not whether it's good for us to know about blogging, but whether for all of us, this is time well spent. What about all the things we should be doing to deliver business value? What do we give up; what gets ignored when we blog instead of doing something else? The best analogy for me is programming. Programmers always need to know what's coming next, but the best teams don't allow everyone to investigate every new technology and langauge. They set up R&D teams. Why shouldn't we organize similarly? For my full comments,

Terence said...

Way to connect the community. In response to The Learning Circuits Big Question, "Should All Learning Professionals Be Blogging?" I will respond in a manner I feel is consistent with elearning; Simple, Concise, and Pointed. Check out the rest of my blog here

Anonymous said...

Yes, all learning professionals should blog if they are interested in learning about blogging -- "at least for a month" as Karl Kapp says above. Just do it consistently for a while and ask your colleagues and friends to follow and comment for a while. You have to "test your mettle."

Should they feel the need to blog everyday? forever? No.

I have never been interested in blogging because it feels onerous - but if I think of it as a learning experience, and I think of blogging once a month or for one month a year (or maybe just when I travel) then it seems doable. But does that make me a blogger? I think not until a develop a community/network around a blog.

Anonymous said...

Lorretta Davis says WLPs should blog.