Learning to Learn: The process of an online learning project


It is a bittersweet feeling coming to the end of this learning project. If you have been following my progress on my blog, you have learned about the struggles and successes I experienced over the past 13 weeks of my learning project.

Participating in the learning project rather than focusing my major project on something I could integrate into my teaching and I knew I would be successful at was a risk. But as the saying goes, high risk, high reward. This term I was able to experience authentic life-long learning, something that is often preached about in education, but also something that is often neglected in undergraduate and graduate studies. Engaging in the learning process was a bit uncomfortable at times, but it reminded me that the process of learning is far greater than the product.

If we think of the SAMR Swimming Pool, I was able to use technology to transform my learning experience through this project. It is very easy to get caught in using technology to enhance learning. I hope to use the skills I have learned as a learner to impact how I teach.  It is my hope I can use a similar process to transform the traditional learning process for my students through the effective use of social media and open educational resources for learning and the ability to use technology to support and document learning.

Where it all began…

The first thing I had to do was choose something to learn about. I appreciate the freedom and openness of not being told what to learn, but rather to choose something that I was passionate about, interested in, and was of substance. My learning outcome was to study and practice prenatal yoga to increase my flexibility and prepare myself both physically and mentally for the birth of my baby.

Prenatal yoga fit all the criteria of the learning project as it was: complex to learn, worth learning, and of great interest to me.

Before I could jump into my learning project, I had to do a pre-assessment to see where I was at. This allowed me to look at how pregnancy was impacting my sleep quality, hip and lower back pain, mindfulness, and anxiety of childbirth.

Over the past 13 weeks I have not only learned a great deal about prenatal yoga, I have also acquired knowledge about labour, delivery, and postpartum. As you can tell in my post assessment, I have also grown physically and mentally in that I am able to use my new found skills to treat the aches and pains of pregnancy and I am more mindful.

post assessment

In addition to meeting my outcome of learning yoga, I have also learned a great deal about the process of learning online.

Learning Prenatal Yoga Online…

I was able to find a plethora of learning resources online related to prenatal yoga, but finding a learning community that went further than following, liking, watching videos, and reading was challenging. I tried to find some MOOCs on prenatal yoga, but was unable to find any on the topic that were free. So I worked with what I had and I found the PLN I was able to create was quite instrumental in my success of this learning project.

In my PLN I was able to use social media, online communities, videos, websites, and face-to-face resources to transform and enhance my learning. Here are a few of the highlights:

Social Media

  • Instagram: Instagram was by far the best place for me to develop my PLN. I felt like my Instagram account kept me accountable to my learning project and allowed me to follow others who are going through the same experiences and gain support. Even though the extent of my connections were through a like or small comment, I really felt supported and felt like I had developed a community. I have 47 followers and am following 90 quality accounts. The key to this was using appropriate hashtags. Once I started using powerful hashtags, I was able to connect with many more people. I feel quite happy with where I ended up on Instagram as I started a new account and all these people are new followers who are following me just to see my prenatal yoga process.
  • Other places I tried: I tried Twitter, Facebook pages, and Google+ community to connect with others and build a community. Although I was able to gain some resources through these networks, I didn’t find them instrumental to my success. They were just another place for me to extend my learning.

Online Communities

  • Pinterest: Although some might argue that Pinterest is not an online community, I found this as a key resource in developing, following, and managing my learning resources. Pinterest allowed me to keep my resources organized, follow other boards who were interested in prenatal yoga, it also allowed me to contribute to the community by pinning resources I found useful.
  • Other places I tried: As I said earlier, I also connected on Twitter and Instagram. I also joined an online community through Prenatal Yoga Center, but unfortunately it wasn’t what I expected. Basically, it was a blog hub for all the blogs they produced. It was a good source for information, but I found the community aspect missing.


  • YouTube: The best place for prenatal videos and sources was YouTube. I subscribed to a few channels and I found myself visiting YouTube often during my practice. It was nice to be able to practice and learn something without having to leave the house!

Other Sources

  • Face-to-Face: I really enjoyed connecting with others through my Face-to-Face resources as well. I participated in yoga at Everyday Sacred and my gym Anytime Fitness. Although I was able to find many sources online and was able to do the majority of learning online, it was nice to connect with people on a more personal level through my Face-to-Face resources.
  • Other places I tried: As I went through the learning process, I visited many blogs and websites which I then pinned on my Pinterest board. My top two places for yoga resources were PopSugar and Prenatal Yoga Center.

Reflection and Process…

During this project, it was hard for me to focus on the process of learning and not an end product as I was going through this learning process, but in the end I am quite satisfied with how it all turned out. I suppose I didn’t realize it at the time, but throughout my whole process of learning and the documentation of my learning project through my blog, I was creating an end product. In making my learning visible, sharing my struggles and successes, and reflecting on the process of learning I was creating a portfolio that demonstrates what I learned.

This reflection on the process of learning and the learning itself was instrumental in my success of this learning project. It helped to keep me accountable, gave me a direction on where I should go next, shows where I have been, and allowed me to connect to a community of learners.

Continuing the Learning Process…

Although this learning project is coming to a close as my pregnancy is almost over, I plan to continue my learning in an online setting. It has been life changing to have this opportunity to engage in the learning process as it has reminded me that life-long learning can be related to things other than professional goals. So where am I going to go next? On top of continuing my yoga practice… I would really like to train my dog how to greet people at the door politely. I sure hope there is a strong online community for this topic as I think in training him, I need to train myself first!

I am a creature of habit.

I am a creature of habit and I am extremely predictable, which is sometimes problematic. Some people may call my predictability organized, structured, or that it suits my Type A personality, but others may call it boring and not creative. As I have looked back through my major project blog posts, I have noticed a common thread… they are all very structured and follow the same format. I find it hard to break away from this format because I like and crave structure, but this week I am going to try to be a different.

I decided I would try something I have never tried before, but have always wanted to try, so I made an inforgraphic using Piktochart. I was actually inspired last term by Amy to make an infographic, but never got around to making one last term. Although the content is still very structured (this is something I am working on), the presentation is something new.

Week 8 Piktochart

Only 4 weeks left?!?!

My Week in Review

My goals for this week were to:

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities.
  2. Post to my Instagram account at least 3 times this week, increase my followers to 30. Try to follow at least 70 quality accounts.
  3. Update my Instagram user description to show my purpose and connect with my PLN.
  4. Create YouTube showcasing 3 new poses I learned this week. Think of a quality title for my video to increase viewership.

I am happy and excited to say that I have achieved all my goals this week! Something I appreciate about the learning online process and using my blog to document my process is that I am held accountable. When I post my goals for the week, it helps me to stay focused and not loose site of my end goal. This is something I think would be important when working with students as well. Goals and posting about our goals to our personal learning networks helps keep us accountable. It gives you a purpose, an audience, and the support you may need.

My Successes

I am very happy with the YouTube video I made this week. I was able to add music, video, pictures, and a caption. I am hoping I get a few views on this video and even if I don’t it reminded me how easy it is to make a movie with Windows Movie Maker. There aren’t many bells and whistles, but it fits my purpose this week. Next week I hope to try a different movie publisher, such as animoto. Do you have any other suggestions that you think I should try?

The video was inspired by a prenatal yoga workout I had pinned on my Pinterest board called 5 Prenatal Yoga Moves Every Mama-To-Be Should Try. I have really noticed a positive reaction from my body when I practice prenatal yoga. Research says it should help with labour and delivery… here’s hoping!

Another success I had this week was growing my PLN on Instagram. I am currently at 31 followers and following 74 accounts. I am finding Instagram to be a good tool for connecting with others who are interested in prenatal yoga. I haven’t had much success growing my PLN on twitter in the yoga sphere, but I guess every tool has a purpose!

My Struggles

I only have 15 posts on Instagram. I thought I would have a much easier time documenting this process with pictures, but finding time and space to photograph and document everything is proving to be challenging. Maybe this is a limitation of Instagram and using photos to post this process?

Looking to Next Week

It is has to believe that there are only 4 weeks of classes remaining. As I start to look toward the end goal, I would like to find a way to create a final product that sums up my process. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should do?

My goals for next week are to:

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities.
  2. Pin a few more prenatal yoga resources.
  3. Get at least 20 posts on my Instagram account.
  4. Decide on how I will summarize my learning project.





Me Inspiring Me

My Week in Review

I have been sharing some of the same struggles some my classmates have been experiencing in past weeks this week. I found it really difficult to stay committed to my 3 days a week of yoga and posting it for my learning community to see. I guess this happens with the ebb and flow of learning, but I am feeling some pressure as this learning isn’t just for the sake of learning, it is part of an assignment and in the end a final evaluation.

Although I wasn’t able to commit to my 3 hour long sessions this week, doesn’t mean this project was put on the back burner. I feel like my yoga practice is starting to influence my life in a greater way than just being a learning project that will end at the end of the semester. The poses I have been learning from my PLN are often used sporadically throughout the day. For example, the other night I woke up at 3:30am due to pain in my lower back and hips (we are preparing to sell our house this week and I maybe over did it on the weekend). I could not get comfortable no matter how many pillows or times I flipped from side to side. So I got out of bed and did a hips, hamstrings, and lower back sequence in the living room and then returned to bed. To my surprise, the throbbing pain had dissipated and although I was not able to get back to sleep until around 5:30am, I was at least able to lay in bed and try to rest without pain.

As I was laying in bed, I had a lot of time to reflect on this learning project and it got me thinking of my pre-assessment. I decided I should do a reflection this week as a midterm assessment (as seen below). I also thought about the process of learning online. I have found doing a self-guided learning assignment, rather than one with more structure, such as a MOOC or creating something with a final product, is a lot more challenging that I anticipated. I am enjoying the process of learning something that I am passionate about and using my social network to learn, contribute, and create, as I believe this is lifelong skill that I will use again, but at the same time, this experience has been a struggle for me as I can only hope that my learning is evident through my twitter feed, Instagram postsPinterest board, and blog posts.

Midterm Assessment

 My Successes

During my learning project I have experimented with some different social media tools. I have enjoyed trying new tools and can see some of these working in my classroom in the future. Below are the tools I have tried out:

 hyperlapse Hyperlapse Hyperlapse allows you to easily shoot time lapse videos. Basically you shoot a video in the app and it allows you to speed up the video to varying degrees.

I have really found this app useful in sharing my practice as it allows me to video and upload my videos quickly.

 vidstitch Vidstitch Vidstitch allows you to post a picture and video as one in a collage. This mixed media is great way to showcase both videos and photos.

This app has allowed me to use photos and videos in a post, which really enhances the post.

 instagram Instagram Instagram is a social media site where you can share pictures and comment or like on others photos.

This has been the cornerstone to my project. The reason this outlet has been so important is because this is where I have been able to grow my PLN the most. I have been able to gain quality followers and have followed other accounts with like interests. By using appropriate hashtags, I have also increased the amount of likes I have gotten on my photos. Fitness is a major industry that is showcased on Instagram.

 Capture Twitter Twitter is a social media site where you can share updates with your network up to 140 characters. Quality posts are concise and contain quality hashtags.

Twitter hasn’t been the best outlet for this learning project as I find it hard to restrict my mini-reflections to 140 characters. I have followed some new accounts on Twitter that deal with my learning project and have found some great articles this way, but this is not my primary site for this purpose.

 pinterest Pinterest Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save creative ideas.

I have really enjoyed the prenatal yoga resources I have found to this point on my Pinterest account. It is nice having one common place to bookmark my sources so I can visit and revisit them.


So far I have enjoyed posting about my learning project online. Although I have never met the people in my PLN and they show their support with a “like” or a “follow” they have inspired and pushed me to keep going on this journey. Getting a “like” when you are feeling vulnerable or nervous about sharing something has been more powerful than I would have thought.

My Struggles

Something I have struggled with this past week is posting my progress online every time I practice yoga and maybe that is ok. Many times I have practiced yoga using the open sources I have found on the internet, but have forgotten to post about it. I have enjoyed blogging about my progress weekly as it keeps me focused.

Another thing I have struggled with this week is the questions: Is anyone actually benefiting from this other than me? Again maybe it is ok that I am the only one benefiting from this and maybe I am impacting someone else just by posting my progress online that I don’t know about. In the end, this process is about me. I reposted a great photo this week on my Instagram account. As I continue this learning process I hope to live by this quote and focus on me.

Quote via YogaInspiration

Looking to Next Week

Here are my goals for next week, hoping by posting them online and for my PLN to see I will stay accountable!

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities
  2. Post to my Instagram account at least 3 times this week, increase my followers to 30. Try to follow at least 70 quality accounts.
  3. Update my Instagram user description to show my purpose and connect with my PLN.
  4. Create YouTube showcasing 3 new poses I learned this week. Think of a quality title for my video to increase viewership.



It’s a double-edged sword

My learning project is a bit of a double-edged sword, but first a look at what I accomplished this past week…

Last week I was a bit worried about my process on my learning project. I would consider myself an overachiever, which can sometime be problematic. I am also very product motivated and look forward to the end task, so it is sometimes hard for me to focus on the process, even though that is what I encourage my students to do and is one of my foundational beliefs about education. With that being said, I set some goals for myself last week that would emphasize the process of what I am learning and make my learning visible.

My goals were to:

  1. Practice prenatal yoga 3 times this week (one face-to-face session, one YouTube session, one session on my own). SEMI-ACHIEVED – I was able to practice more than 3 times; however, I did not make it to a face-to-face session. The timing for the Bodhi Tree prenatal yoga class was not working with my schedule, so I decided to look elsewhere. I am signed in for a class tomorrow at Everyday Sacred and look forward to giving it a try!
  2. Play music when I am practicing on my own to help with mindfulness and focus. ACHIEVED – This really helped me focus on the task at hand. It also told my husband that I was busy and he shouldn’t bug me :). 
  3. Videotape at least one of my sessions and post onto my Instagram account. ACHIEVED – I did 2 hyperlapse videos this week and posted them to my Instagram account. This was WAY out of my comfort zone, but a very neat experience!
  4. Post at least 3 times this week to my Instagram and Twitter account using the hashtags: #eci831, #learningproject, #babybootsyoga. ACHIEVED – I posted more than 3 times this week. I also tried to grow my PLN by following other yoga accounts and using hashtags… more below on this one.
  5. Complete a vlog at my check in next week that includes my week experience and 3 new poses I have learned. ACHIEVED – See below!

Now back to the title of this post… There are two reasons I would say this project is like a double-edged sword.

Reason #1

As I mentioned above and in a few of my other blog posts, I am trying not to get caught up in the final product aspect of this project. It would have been way easier for me to choose the other option of the major project and integrate social media in my teaching practice or integrate/develop open educational resources related to my practice. I have some experience with both of these routes and have been successful implementing them, so I could have just continued on that path and know I was headed for success. However, I chose the other option where I am expected to learn and share online. Although this process has proven to be a struggle at times, I am very thankful I chose this learning process and experience the learning process while thinking critically about it. I believe through this learning process I am examining the idea of rhizomatic learning and I am connecting though social media in my “classroom”. It may have been easier for me to participate in a MOOC, integrate social media in my teaching practice, or develop OERs, but to actually go through the process is a learning experience I will never forget.

Reason #2

As I mentioned before, making learning visible has been a challenge for me in this learning process. Last week I made a goal to ramp up my online presence on both Instagram and Twitter to build a new PLN. In the past my PLN was solely for educational purposes. The people I followed on Twitter and through other networks all dealt with my teaching practice. If I was learn something new, it would be limited to the course and the people in that course to find my information. How hypocritical of me! Here I am preaching to my students and fellow course mates about the importance of a PLN, yet I limited my PLN to only education. So this past week I began following yoga accounts through various social media tools.

Photo Credit: qp1977 via Compfight cc

I also learned firsthand about the power of the hashtag. I wanted to build my network on Instagram and gain more followers, so I tagged my posts with some key hashtags. I have been getting more ”likes” on posts and I now have 22 followers! This may seem small to those people who are Instagram famous, but this is a huge accomplishment for me! Using appropriate hashtags is essential to your online presence when trying to connect online.

Now here comes the double-edged sword… I am feeling nervous about sharing this process online and with my new PLN. I am usually quite reserved, don’t post many photos, and keep my identity (online) quite neutral. I have my privacy settings high and don’t overshare. So to be sharing this vulnerable learning process with the whole world is a huge learning curve for me! Additionally, I don’t really know who is following me and there is always the risk of people “stealing” your identity. But at the same time we face these risks whether we are private, public, online, or offline. It is better to take control of your online (and offline) identity, know the risks, and be aware.


“Baby” Steps


This was the first week of my learning project and man did the time ever fly by! My goal is to practice prenatal yoga three times a week. I was able to squeeze in 2 and a half sessions this week. You might be wondering, what is a half session. Well… I was unable to do a full hour session, but I did do some yoga poses after my Bootcamp class on Thursday morning. I had also planned on attending prenatal yoga at Bodhi Tree, but unfortunately failed on this aspect because I was held back helping with extra-curricular activities at school.

My Week in Review

Thankfully because of open source education on the internet, I was able to find yoga resources to enhance my practice this week! I started out this week researching the Do’s and Don’ts of prenatal yoga. I have practice a bit of yoga in the past, but never on a weekly basis. Luckily it came to be easy as I have always been athletic and quite flexible. Yet, as I have said in some earlier posts, my body is changing A LOT, so some of the things that used to come to me easily… now have me huffing and puffing!

yoga2My first full session involved me using Pop Sugar’s Hip Openers and Hamstring Stretches For Expectant Moms. This was such a nice session! After this session, I was off to prenatal class at the YMCA and had to sit in a chair for 1.5 hours and to my surprise, I felt good sitting for that long… so it must have helped my hips and hammies! Something I was a bit challenged with during this session was timing myself to make sure I was holding the pose for long enough and staying committed to completing the whole sequence.

Due to my challenges, I thought I would try a YouTube video for my next session to see if I had increased focus, mindfulness, and better form. I found the Prenatal Yoga Routine: Calm Interior (2nd Trimester) and after skimming through the video, thought I would give it a try. I enjoyed having someone to listen to and keep my on track and the 45 minutes flew by! My one complaint was I didn’t really enjoy the sequence. There weren’t many poses I was familiar with and I found it hard to follow exactly what the instructor wanted me to do.

My mini-session was more of a Yin type of yoga where you hold the pose for 3-5 minutes. I thought I would focus on hips and hamstrings again as I believe this is where most of my issues are coming from. I chose to do the frog pose, swan/sleeping swan, and baby dragon. I also used the foam roller, which felt AMAZING!

My Struggles

instagramSomething I am struggling with is documenting my process to demonstrate my learning. I am hoping my posts on Instagram and Twitter are enough, but I am finding it hard to take photos without a photographer! I also was hoping to do some video, but I am not sure how I would make this happen without someone to videotape me. I am finding myself respecting those self-made Instagram stars now who have mastered the selfie and videotaping on their own. Does anyone know if there are any apps that could help with this? For example, sometimes I see people with fast forward videos on their Instagram and I would like to do something like this.

Another struggle I found this week was making time to practice prenatal yoga. I know it will come easier as it becomes a habit, so I am sticking to my commitment!

Looking to Next Week

Here are my small, yet attainable goals for next week (now that they are out there for the whole world to see… I better stay committed!):

  1. Practice prenatal yoga 3 times this week (one face-to-face session, one YouTube session, one session on my own).
  2. Play music when I am practicing on my own to help with mindfulness and focus.
  3. Videotape at least one of my sessions and post onto my Instagram account.
  4. Post at least 3 times this week to my Instagram and Twitter account using the hashtags: #eci831, #learningproject, #babybootsyoga
  5. Complete a vlog at my check in next week that includes my week experience and 3 new poses I have learned.