It is common knowledge that the internet is a treasure trove of information. And one of the often repeated applications of the internet and broadband is education. But using the internet as a learning tool is easier said than done.
There are many challenges for learning with internet. Television and social media have contributed to declining attention span (“You Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish“). And internet is full of distractions that divert attention easily. Commercial use of internet for commerce, advertising and marketing purposes does not help either. Learning is hard work, which is another inhibiting factor.
However, internet bloging can be an effective learning tool. Reading information has a retention rate of less than 20%. When using bloging as a learning tool, you are messing with the content and analyzing it from different perspectives, enhancing retention and comprehension by making it an active learning process, increasing comprehension over 75%.
The system, Net Learning ClusterTM, described here is developed by the author, resulting from a practical need (more details below.)
Net Learning Cluster (NLC) consists of structured use of easily available tools on the internet. Net Learning Cluster helps with learning subject matter, concentration, and language skills: reading, editing, authoring, messaging and more.
Net Learning Cluster turns internet browsing into a goal directed activity to create (bookmark) blog posts. Social Bookmarking [2, 3] is one of the most popular Social Media applications on the internet. WordPress makes this process as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4 …
This is how it works.
Allocate a dedicated time for this learning effort. Your learning goal needs to be sufficiently broad to be effective, and must be practiced regularly.
For each Net Learning Cluster session, have a large number of articles and web pages ready for review, so that you don’t spend time searching for material during the session. With each web page or article ask yourself: Am I interested in reading this again? Next week? Next month? Next Year? Learn to arrive at this decision rapidly. If the answer is ‘No’, proceed to the next one. This step will help improve your reading, comprehension, and decision making skills.
If the answer is yes, then identify the main idea or key points and create a blog post, with a link to the web page. Business Exchange used this idea. For examples, please review the posts in the News links blog.
If the information is something you feel strongly that others need to read as well, then create a synopsis. The aim of the synopsis is to motivate the reader to visit the original site. Then use the power of the blogging tools, and the internet as a rich media to make the synopsis as compelling as possible. However, you must be mindful of copyright, since the original content belongs to someone else.
To learn how to create compelling synopsis from articles mindful of copyright, study how blog posts are constructed in the Net economy.
Once you practice these steps or you already have ideas of your own that you want to write about, Viewpoint is a place for original articles.
To use this methodology for self-directed learning, it is not necessary to use the blogs provided as examples. You may create your own blogs. But collaboration available with the example blogs cited will be missing. There is at least one research report using this methodology.
This methodology, Net Learning Cluster, was developed by the author with a learning objective: How does the United States government work? More specifically, how does the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) operate? The article, Net neutrality: issues and solution, is a result of this exercise.
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