The Gift of Reflecting and Learning: More Not All Gifts Come Wrapped


This time of year is ripe with reflections about the past year and resolutions for the new one. I am no different, and it is once again time for me to review my Personal Learning Plan (PLP) for what I did learn over the past year, as well as set new learning goals for 2015.

Doris, Lyn, and I, and now Doris and I, use this blog to “learn out loud” with all of you and with each other. Doris’s post All Gifts Do Not Come Wrapped inspired me to also review our blogs this past year, and reflect on those that pushed my learning and inspired me, and also helped me update my PLP.

Before Lyn left us as a founder and managing partner of WLS (she is still a member!), she shared her learning through blogging here. Her blogs are a great combination of heart, mind, and research. They always have practical suggestions based on her experience and research into the topic. I appreciate her online tool-focused approach to her topics, too, and have used quite a few of them throughout the year. For example, in her blog Social Media, Women Entrepreneurs, and a Dilemma Lyn reminds us that like anything else, you must focus on your purpose and audience in order to market your business.  Purpose drives practice – using social media to market your business or services is no different. She lists practical questions to ask to think about the most effective way to use social media for the purpose and audience you want to target. I appreciate Lyn’s practical approach to everything!

Jarche head

Image courtesy of Harold Jarche at

Last Valentine’s Day Lyn focused on spending time to focus on friends, family, loved ones, pleasurable or health activities without technology. In Does Your Valentine Need the Gift of Your Presence? she posts 9 questions to ask yourself about the time you are spending online vs. time spent offline. As I reread this blog I tried to be as honest about my answers to the 9 questions as I could. The first question – Are you sharing things with followers or online friends you are not sharing with your family, friends, partner or spouse? Do you communicate as effectively offline as you do online? – made me stop and think. I realized that I, like a lot of people I know, rely on texting, emailing, and non-video Skyping more than having a good old fashioned conversation either f2f or on the phone. My husband and I email each other during the day even though we are in the same place and could easily get out of our chairs in our respective home offices and talk in the kitchen.

I’ve changed my PLP to focus more on how to use social media to target the audience for WLS, and to try and use instagram, pinterest, and twitter more regularly in order to keep up with current social media trends. I’ve also put into my PLP, as a result of Lyn’s blog and our recent IFWE conference experience, more time away from my digital devices so I can be more present for my husband, dogs, friends, and family.

Doris always amazes me with her blogs, and how they tackle “learning in perpetual beta” to riff on Harold Jarche’s tag line. It is hard to pick out a few from the impressive list of what she has written. From learning online to online focus to finding networks to connect with and to, Doris covers not only the digital literacies needed to be a Do-It-Yourself learner in today’s networked world, but also the personal and professional benefits to doing so. The image above is the best depiction I could find of all the themes, ideas, and concepts she has covered over this  year. Since we both follow Harold Jarche closely and read his blog and other resources he generates, I used an illustration from his site.

Here are two examples of Doris’s blog that helped me revise my PLP. In Entrepreneurial DNA and Learning Online, she not only highlights Kio Stark’s book, Don’t Go Back to School: A Handbook for Learning Anything, to emphasize the importance of knowing how to be a successful online Do-It-Yourself Learner, but also created an infographic that captures the link between an entrepreneurial spirit and DIY learning.

In Busting out of Solitary Confinement to find Allies and Focus Doris turns an encounter with the bank manager into an uncovering of the challenges of working in isolation, or feeling you are, and how online collaboration can break through that and lead to new networks, job leads. Her empathetic nature helped the bank manager feel less alone and frazzled. She then mentions a few resources (we are both using the 18 minutes by Peter Bregman to focus our work habits) to help focus your work life.

Doris has helped me revise my PLP to include broadening my networks, focusing for greater “infotention” as Howard Rheingold calls it, and learning to depict concepts and thoughts visually not just with words.

Doris and Lyn, through learning out loud, have helped me learn all year and plan my learning for next year. Thanks to you both!

What is in your PLP for 2015? Who and what has sparked your learning in 2014? Share so we can all learn out loud!


1 reply
  1. Lyn Boyer
    Lyn Boyer says:

    As always, your words provide insight and additional questions to ponder. Thanks for including me in the discussion. I value my time spent with you and WLS and I will now take some time to review my learning plan to see what I will focus on this year to enrich my life and I hope the lives of people around me. Thanks for reminding me of the importance of learning out loud and for sharing your always-stimulating ideas.

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