LEVEL 1 EASY
Tools in level 1 are the Egonetwork tools which are available on the web and which make it possible to analyse your network in one click. You may do this in 1-2 hours.
- With one click you can map your LinkedIn network (except if your network is too small or too large. It automatically colours the subnetworks. It is a good exercise to name these subnetworks. What kind of people would you like to have in your network.
- You can do an Egonetwork analysis of your Facebook network met Touchgraph - see pictures above. Just like with LinkedIn maps you can see subcommunities with different colours. Mijn main networks are my old IICD network and KM4dev/CPsquare networks. My friends network is the tiny part in green. That explains why I'm not that active on Facebook. You can actually do a lot of things with touchgraph, more than with linkedIn maps, like you can zoom in on your most important network, choose to show picture or names etc. See the examples above.
LEVEL 2 INTERMEDIATE
Level 2 are tools that take more time to understand and work with. You may need a day or so, even though it is possible to learn it with tutorials from the web, or ask someone who knows the tools. Niveau 2 zijn tools die je wel even onder de knie moet krijgen. Nevertheless the tools are free: Gephi and NodeXL are both free and open source.. NodeXL is for windows and works with Excel.
- You can download your Facebook network with Getnet http://snacourse.com/getnetand then import it in Gephi. The difference with touchgraph is that you can do more analysis for instance look at the most influential people in your network.
- an interesting way of doing Network analysis of social media is with NodeXL you can import for instance Twitter Hashtag tweets, or a network of a twitter account (@joitske). I haven't tried a lot yet with NodeXL, I have been struggling a bit with the labels. Importing at times takes long because Twitter only allow a certain amount of data to be downloaded, so be prepared to set it up and let it run for a couple of hours.
LEVEL 3 DIFFICULT
The highest level of difficulty is doing a whole Network analysis with tools like Netdraw and Gephi. It is important to understand network measures like centrality measures and sub communities. It takes investment in knowing network theory and software.
- Network analysis with Gephi. The SNA course used Gephi and I find it impression what you can calculate and analyse like average shortest path, modularities etc. I think it takes a good comparison with other networks to interprete these kind of overall network characteristics. See below a Gephi example.
- Similar to Gephi you can do Network analysis with Netdraw. So far I am very impressed with what you can do in Netdraw, especially the way you can visualize parts of the network and zoom in. For instance, if you have a network with agriculturalists, policy makers and advisors, you can plot the network of the advisors separately if you like. We did that for a large network zooming in on the provinces which was very useful to have a view of the network at provincial level.
I read the Dutch boek De Ontwerpfactor
, written by Marguerithe de Man. She did a sabatical studying urban planning and landscape architecture which inspired her to write this book about design of learning and change trajectories. Marguerithe is part of our trajectory leren en veranderen met sociale media
which makes it extra nice to read.
What I liked most about the book is that it provides the space to look at the design process in different ways. In our own book we have four design stages for designing a blended program. After reading this book, I think we could have make more room for the individuality and personal style of trainers and consultants in the design process. It also helps me understand that at the end of the day about blended learning design most participants were not yet ready to really put a design on paper (or ipad). The actual design process is quite messy and needs time to ponder and mull things over. A beautiful sentence from the book: "The challenge is to discover your own design issues and process. There is not a single design process..
" I remember we did a design session with roughly 10 people before our learning trajectory in which we wrote down the main issues to deal with. At the end we hardly looked at this list when designing the trajectory....
I read the book with the design of blended or online learning trajectories in mind. Some things I definitely take away from the book for the design of blended learning programs:
- The metaphor of concrete and timber trees. What part of your design is crucial and need to be concrete and what aspects can you leave more open-ended? For a blended program: can the participants help shape and detail the goals of the trajectory? Is the platform a private online platform or is er openess to use online side-walks using other media? I think as a designer you have the choice to put everything in concrete but you can also design for flexibility. A nice example in our own district: people created all kinds of new paths because the route to the mall was not logical for walkers and cyclists. Are you going to build a fence (see picture) or customize your design?
- The agent design (is this the right translation for middelontwerp?). For me this is a new concept, it prescribes how to manufacture the product. In a blended program you have no prescription but it may be necessary to clarify a number of assumptions - how independent you expect people to be... how much you're going to help if they get stuck. You can do this in an intake interview. For instance we are now more explicit during our intake that we are available for support when people are stuck in their cases but it is their own responsibility to call upon us. It can also include instructions for online platform construction if that is outsourced. It's new for me! Will need to think more.
- Working with personas. This is something I recognized from my own experience-it is very powerful to work with personas - when youare designing. I did this in a project with a design team. When working with personas you create an image of a user that you give a name. It is not a person but a number of people in the 'meat grinder' (as the book calls it). In our project it worked very well because every time we had new ideas we thought how Marjan and Kees would like it. When designing a blended program working with personas is a very strong approach because you can choose personas with different preferences and skills in working online. Why I have not used more often? - Perhaps because it is still a step that extra time seems to cost?
- Design/ atmosphere. How important is the attractiveness/atmosphere? This is also something we can learn from designers - attraction is also important. I often tend to work with the tools out there, such as Sharepoint, or LinkedIn because I love working with the well-known tools, which is also an important consideration. However, I struggle with the attractiveness/atmosphere. After reading the book, I feel design considerations (attractiveness) is a little higher on my list of criteria in choosing tools for blended learning.
- Interface. Architects also work with the spaces between buildings - the interface. In blended trajectories you will have to switch between online and face-to-face. You will also have to space activities. Are you for instance planning weeks to rest with no activities? This is another example where I learned to be more explicit about our design. The first trajectory people complained that little was happening during the 'off-weeks'.
Sorry, the book in only available in Dutch!
Together with Koen Faber
, Josien Kapma
and Niels Schuddeboom
we have an informal dutch group who want to learn about social network analysis. Our learning curve is quite steep I would say! It helps me a lot to have likeminded people around me. For instance I signed up for the MOOC about social network analysis
which started 4 weeks ago and which is interesting but also very scientific. I almost forgot about it during the first week but Koen telling me about the assignments (analyzing your own facebook network) stimulated me to dedicate more time and I even signed up for the signature track for the certificate.
We first got together somewhere before the summer and all blogged about our questions:
- Josien wondered about the focus on the images versus the conversations amongst network members. It is good to have conversations about a network. What is the role of 'a true picture' of the network? The interpretation is more important - hence is it necessary to do all this effort to depict the network or could it also be a simple drawing? (costs less effort!) Read her blogpost in Dutch here.
- Koen wondered how to use maps effectively as reflection tools? and also Can network mapping show which people influence the course of the network? Whose influence is tipping the opinions in a network setting?
- I also blogged about my learning questions here and I had 3 questions: Is it possible to do network analysis without collecting data by using social media connections? How much is the time invested in doing the SNA and does it justify the results in terms of surprises and new insights that would not have been possible to gain in other ways? Would it be possible to make the process more participatory?
Since then, together we were engaged in 3 network analysis. Interesting was the diversity already in the 3 network analysis - the number of respondents ranged from 55 to almost 900, the purpose ranged from understanding and growing the network to evaluating the network. We used onasurveys to collect data and export and analyse it in Netdraw. I also used NodeXL to analyse a twitter hashtag and a twitter account. In the MOOC we are working a lot with Gephi to analyse data. Interestingly most tools are free or low cost (onasurveys is paid).
I learned a lot and it is very timely that next week Friday (the 8th of November) we'll share our experiences with a group of network professionals in Utrecht. If you happen to be in the Netherlands and are interested you are very welcome - more information on this page. The title is:
Social Network Analysis: just a bunch of nice images?
I am very positive about social network analysis and it potential to gain insights into a network
* Social network analysis can give a different view into a network, which can be revealing and help to make strategic decisions on how to strengthen a network. First a short story to illustrate how social network analysis can give a different view with a more scientific basis. Koen came to my place by public transport and I told him that he could take the train and then take the tram, alternatively take the train to the central station and then the so-called randstadrail. When he arrived, he said he took the bus! I never thought about the bus because I dislike buses and they always tend to keep me waiting for long. So I discard this as an option. However, he used the public transport planner and the planner found the bus. This is an analogy to show what social network analysis can do for network members or facilitators. Though network members always have their own observations and may understand the network quite well - it helps to have an images constructed from the information given by the members which may reveal things otherwise unseen. Though this is also a case of rubish in rubish out, if people do not respond honestly or do it in a hurry, there may be biases in the data too. In one case, a sponsor to the network was invited. Though interesting for network members, they saw a lot of their impressions confirmed. However, they felt very proud that the sponsor could finally SEE the network...
* The invested time is not too much, it may not always be justified but in many cases it may be. As a rule of thumb I am now calculating 5 days of work including designing the survey with the network coordinators, testing the survey, sending it out, analyzing data, preparing visuals and interpreting the visuals. I'm amazed by how much you can do with the free software programs, though the more you use it, the more you realize how much is possible and which you don't understand. I never used Ucinet for example and there are so many ways to calculate overall network statistics. That's a whole new world to me. Besides it is very easy to import a twitter network into NodeXL or a Facebook network into Gephi. This is far easier than I imagined. So in half a day you could already analyze some social media data.
* Working with the network members needs to be the core of the work. As we already thought, the interpretation and discussion with a representation of network members is very important. In all 3 cases we had a debriefing ranging from 1,5 to 3 hours, in which the images guide a discussion. I think it would be even better to have 2 sessions with the team. One session in which you show the images and what they represent - then sending out a short summary, followed by another session to talk about interventions. On the other hand, I realized that the work of the person designing and interpreting the survey is very important. He or she has an important part to play in choosing the right questions and filtering the images to show and interpret.
* It is an art rather than a science. It is very important what kind of questions you ask and wording matters. It also matters a lot what you analyze and how you represent it. You have to develop a sense for the right questions and the images that will help the understanding.
See here in the picture Kiekeboe our new hamster (or do you say chipmunk as in Alvin and the chipmunks?). Our Kiekeboe escaped and my search in the house was in vain. I decided to Google and found some good tips: (1) search in the evening/ at night because in daytime he is hiding and asleep. (2) put food in different rooms and watch where the food is gone - that's the room where he is hiding. So this is what we did and we discovered only the food in the living room was gone. Late in the evening we saw him running across and were able to catch him (though technically speaking it is a her).
Another experience: I wanted to learn social network analyse
(SNA). My first step was to follow an e-learning course. The course was very disappointing because they were four online lectures, no exercises and no possibility to ask questions. After that I went looking for like-minded people - by coincidence I found four professionals with a similar interest to learn SNA and to discuss and elearn together. This led to a lot of inspiration and support (and a few blogs), and the idea apply SNA and to start learning by doing .. Furthermore I am a member of an international facebook group titled "Network weaving' where I could pose some of my practice questions. One of the members offered to Skype and help with analysis in practice- which was awsome. Now I am read the bookAnalyzing Social Networks
which was advised in this group. In october I am participating in a MOOC
about SNA which I found by following the hashtag #sna on twitter. We'll reflect on our learning in practice by presenting our experiences in November with a Dutch network of networkprofessionals.
I see around me that technology influences the ways we learn - it's quite normal to use youtube videos in training, teaching and so the world enters into the classroom. There are MOOCs
(Massive Open Online Courses) where people are free to participate and learn new things (if you are disciplined enough). Professionals use handy apps, twitter, LinkedIn groups or social media to keep up with development. The new media offer new opportunities to learn. Jane Hart thinks we need learning 'concierge'
within organisations to help professionals exploit all opportunities.
Are you Dutch and would you like to learn more? Look at our website Ennuonline
, we have a new upcoming learning trajectory leergang leren en veranderen met sociale media
. CPsquare organises an online event about 'supporting the independent online learner' from 16-19 october. If you are interested send me a note and I can invite you.
This is a guestblog by Lyset den Blijker
How to use Instagram for learning?
That was the central question for the group of LOSmakers, a group of learning professionals interested in social media. Instagram is a photo app for the smartphone. The LOSmakers had a skype to discuss Instagram and as experiment Joitske Hulsebosch asked everybody to install instagram on smartphone or tablet and to post one photo each day using the tag #losmakers. The photo should tell the other participants something about yourself. Via web.stagram
you can watch the pictures via the web and you can also react online, as long as you sign in.
In the Skype 3 questions were central:
How were the experiences with Instagram?
The experiences were very positive. What struck me was that pretty soon a group process developed, because people adding commentaries and also responded by their choice of pictures. Without typing long documents or introduction you still got a picture of the other participants. The images tickled the imagination. What happened was that a picture of one person led to the emergence of a series of photos on the same theme, we had the themes 'books' and 'fear of heights'. For instance, one of the participants placed a picture of her bookcase, which other participants followed. It was concluded that we all are active online, but fortunately also cherish our books on paper. The participants quite regularly look at the pictures of the others, which was fueled by a kind of curiosity and being drawn into the exercise. The hashtag (#losmakers in this case) was important because it was the binding factor. It felt safe to share an image without (much) words to tell something about yourself. On the other hand it was partly perceived as unsafe, because everyone can see the pictures. One participant said, "I chose different images because I knew the pictures are in a public place". If your photos on Instagram is private they are unfortunately not visible when others searching on the hashtag.
Pros and cons
- How were your first experiences with Instagram?
- What are the pros and cons of the tool?
- How could Instagram be used in a learning trajectory or training?
What are the pros and cons of the tool Instagram? The app is very easy to use without any instructions. Via 'discovery' you can easily check whether there are any new pictures with your hashtag. The power of instagram is that you only use images (with short commentaries). It is very easy to share the pictures on other platforms too, for instance to your facebook account. You can use web.stagram
to watch the images online and add commentaries if you wish. Via de app Instacollage
you have even more options to make photo collages.
There does not seems to be a separate app for the iPad, but the iPhone version works well on the iPad. You just have to make a conscious choice whether you want an open or closed profile. If you have a closed profile, then your pictures (even though they have a hashtag) will not be visible to other participants, unless everyone accepts you as a follower. That's quite cumbersome process, to make sure everybody follows everybody, hence following a hashtag is much more convenient, but then you need to have your profile public.
A major drawback is that you cannot create a group. Of course you can switch to other alternatives as a private Facebook group, or a private Yammer group. But, you'll benefit less from the power of only photo sharing, the instagram experience.
Most important is that you'll have to considering whether everybody can easily participate because you need a smartphone or tablet. Though you can view the photos and respond through websites like web.stagram the participation is different. Furthermore, if you have another platform for your group, how open will your participants be to create an instagram account? Hence you may check upfront how many have a smartphone/tablet and already have an instagram account.
How to use instagram in training and learning trajectories?
The participants in the Skype brainstormed about 4 ways to use instagram.
The getting to know eachother exercise was our own experience and worked really well. The use of images was very powerful. The great thing is that with a prompt to place your photos about yourself, the choice is yours to determine what you show and how personal you will get. The images stimulate imagination and questions. In our case it was a very creative process.
- as a getting to know eachother exercise
- as a ramp up to a discussion about any topic (face-to-face or online in a webinar)
- as entry to share your practice
- as means to reflect / evaluate
Instagram can be used to start discussions. For example, to discuss the topic 'innovation', you might ask participants to share places that they associate with innovation. In a follow-up session you can then elaborate on the pictures and associations that are made. Again, the strength of Instagram make the use of the imagination and associations of people, then it operates in the same way as the working association with tickets. If you ask for a week every day to put a picture people properly dealing with the subject.
If you want to bet for participants to give each other a look into their daily practice you can ask to photograph some parts of their worklife. This can be a picture of colleagues who give you energy or for mechanics special problems you bump into examining engines.
Finally Instagram can be used to reflect / evaluate. An example that was mentioned was asking service engineers a photo from their workplace locations which need improvement. That way they can exchange experiences with service engineers in other locations.
The conclusion of the discussion is that Instagram is a tool that can be a used very productively in learning and training, provided that the thresholds for the users are not too high.
Do you have any questions after reading this blogpost ? Do you have additional ideas to use Instagram in learning situations? Leave a comment if you wish!
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