Learning to Learn: The process of an online learning project

Context…

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.

 Videos

  • 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!

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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.

 

 

 

 

Yogi in Training

I have been contemplating for a while on what I should do for my major project this term. I really liked both options and initially thought I would do option A, where I would integrate social media into the library at Sacred Heart school, but after talking to a few others in the class I think I will take the rare opportunity to engage in learning something for myself… especially since my life will be changing a great deal in the next few month with the arrival of our first child!

A healthy and fit lifestyle have always been important for me, playing many competitive sports growing up. However as my participation in athletics began to slow down, I looked for another way to maintain that healthy lifestyle and became a certified Fitness Instructor through CanFit Pro in 2006. Over the years I have taken various other trainings through Body Training Systems, which included weight training, cycling, balance and flexibility. One of the reasons I love being a fitness instructor is because I can inspire others to reach their fitness goals, but often my own goals get put on the back burner.

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Photo Credit: micolumnasana via Compfight cc

I would like to take this opportunity to reach a fitness goal of my own, which is to study and practice pre-natal yoga for the next 10 weeks to increase my flexibility and prepare myself for the birth of my baby. As many of you mothers know, the changes in pregnancy are HUGE and I have been noticing increasing pain in my lower back, hips, and neck. I am very high energy and often neglect the importance of flexibility and relaxation, so this could be challenging for me.

Research suggests that prenatal yoga can:

  • Improve sleep
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Increase the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles needed for childbirth
  • Decrease lower back pain, nausea, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, headaches and shortness of breath

Taken from the Mayo Clinic, Prenatal Yoga: What you need to know

On top of learning and practicing yoga, I would also like to use my fitness instructor experience to produce some pre-natal yoga videos based on what I learn from online resources (such as Prenatal Yoga Centre), online videos and participation in pre-natal yoga at Bodhi Tree or the YMCA. I will be looking into both of these place this week to see which place better fits my needs. As I am new to pre-natal yoga, I am not sure what the videos I create will look like at this point, whether they be educational or just videos on my progress, but I am excited to see how this project develops over the next 10 weeks.

I plan to document my process through blog posts, vlogs, videos, and photographs. Perhaps I could even create an Instagram page or something to showcase my progress? Also trying to think of a clever hashtag to use to document my progress (if any of you clever people out there have any ideas…)

My only concern is since I am not a yoga instructor and do not have training in yoga, I wouldn’t want anyone getting hurt trying to replicate what I am doing in my videos. Do you think this could pose a problem or since it is about my journey I should be fine?