Mike’s Learning Network Mindmap

Mike's learning network mindmap.

How has your network changed the way you learn?

One of the most significant ways (in recent years) that my learning network has changed how I learn is that it has opened up a wider array of learning opportunities and has provided access to a larger number of tools for finding and learning information. As part of my education, I have learned how to utilize digital tools to communicate, generate documents, access information, synthesize concepts, and share ideas. I have had opportunities to connect with instructors, experts in the field, and fellow students from all around the world. In many cases, I have been able to collaborate with individuals from across the country to develop projects and ideas. Technology has afforded me the opportunity to expand my learning network far beyond what was available to me prior to engaging in online learning.

These changes in my learning network have also helped to enhance the more “traditional” components of my learning network. Although I still work with colleagues and students in a face-to-face nature, I am able to integrate a variety of new technology-based applications which allow our shared learning network to extended beyond the confines of classroom walls and static textbooks. In the end, an expanded learning network makes is possible to break through physicals barriers of time and space to access information from all reaches.

Which digital tools best facilitate learning for you?

Personally, I have found that I can able to learn through a variety of different learning tools. Although I still enjoy opportunities to interact with people in face-to-face settings, online learning (and the tools that are associated with this type of learning environment) works extremely well for me. In general, I have grown to adopt a variety of different tools for learning ranging from hard-copy textbooks to online blogs to Internet-based simulations to long distance SKYPE sessions with peers.

How do you learn new knowledge when you have questions?

When I have questions, I try to access a wide range of different learning communities. As an educator and life-long learner, I have access to education professionals, experts in the field, fellow students, and so on. Connections with these individuals make it possible to find the relevant information for solving problems. In addition to personal connections, the Internet itself provides access to wide range of resources. I have learned to use the Internet to access information and to explore new applications in order to get the most out of virtual interactions with information and people. I have also found that an important feature of maintaining by dynamic and flexible learning network involves taking my own initiative to locate, learn, and develop new information. Actively seeking out information within the network serves to keep the network fluid, efficient, and effective.


About Mike Dillon

High School Math/Physics Teacher Online Instructor for Axia College Ph.D. Candidate at Walden University.
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9 Responses to Mike’s Learning Network Mindmap

  1. Laurie Korte says:

    At first glance your mind map reminded me of an amoeba. It is wonderfully fluid, alive, and obviously growing. I love it. Your mention of collaborating across the world reminded me of when Skype expanded audio conferencing to allow 25 individuals to share together in one call. Using twitter, many of us decided to try it out and upon reaching the maximum, along with conversational confusion, we realized we had basically just gone around the world. In traditional thinking it should have been amazing to be able to conference call with 25 others. The actual amazing realization was the communication circle and how far, fast, and focused we could be in achieving something together. I guess it was our proof that the world is both round and flat at the same time. Have you ever had any gathering phenomena spanning your networks?

    Thanks for sharing,

    • Mike Dillon says:

      Hi Laurie…

      Thanks for providing a great description of my mind map. I really struggled initially with putting it together, so your description help to click on the light bulb for me. After a couple of false starts, the final image is what came out. It was really interesting to look at all of the different concept maps that were created by everyone in the class. I think that this is evidence of the fact networks can be very flexible and dynamic.

      You stated: “I guess it was our proof that the world is both round and flat at the same time.” Do you mean “round” in the sense that we can create widespread communication loops and “flat” in the sense that everyone can come together in a level, collaborative space? I’m just curious if I an interpretting what you are saying correctly…

      Mike 🙂

  2. Kimberly Arlia says:

    Awesome mind map! I think Laurie made an astute observation in that it looks like an ever changing growing amoeba!!!

    My quick comment refers to your one line where you state that you must “actively seek out information”. I think this is one thing that has been constant in the evolution of learning. From face to face classes, internships, apprenticeships to twitter, Skype, and online classes – the learner must be self motivated. Knowledge does not just present itself and stick with you – it must be actively sought, synthesized and evaluated. Technology may make it easier to access – but with a wide array of sources to choose from it makes it harder to discern what is accurate. Now that your world has increase and you have learned to tackle it – what is the best bit of advice you would give to someone just beginning to navigate the system?

    • Mike Dillon says:

      Hi Kim…

      I think that my piece of advice would be to start with one piece of technology or one application and work on getting proficient with it. Once you have learned how to use a particular application, it becomes much easier to apply that knowledge to new applications.

      For me, my first major venture into learning technology applications was to learn Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. Although it has evolved over many years, I would like to think that I am pretty proficient at these programs. The skills I learned by using Word and PowerPoint really helped me learn how to use other applications much more quickly: developing web pages in various composers, effectively building wikis using tables, creating Google documents and forms, designing Prezi’s, using Inspiration/Webspiration, and so on.

      I think that if a “beginner” looks at the huge scale of all of the available technologies and applications, it can be overwhelming to the point of constraint. On the other hand, starting with one step (one application) can make it easier to comfortably explore many of the tools that are available to us.

      Mike 🙂

  3. Stephen Raymond says:


    Ok, I did have a little trouble seeing all of the connections in your mind map, but it did look cool. The wavy lines and groupings do capture the eye and made me want to look further. You presented a lot of learning connections that can provide many paths to enlightenment. If you were to narrow it down, or perhaps develop a map based on “professional learning” say as a student at a university, then how might your map change?

    In your write up you spoke of how technology has allowed you to reach a larger audience in regards to the resources you now have available to learn, and I very much concur with that. The connections we now have as a result of the electronic technologies of today, and who knows what in the future, provide virtually (pun intended) limitless sources to assist in our learning both as processing agents and resource material.

    • Mike Dillon says:

      Hi Stephen…

      As I started working on the assignment, I was having a hard time keeping the mind map “under control.” It felt almost overwhelming in the sense that the network continued to grow as I thought of new connections or new sources of information. The mind map that resulted was attempt to try and focus on the primary connections that I am experiencing now. In resposne to your question, I feel that “zooming in” on different aspects of the map would lead to more details about the existing connections. I wonder if a fractal might serve as an approximate metaphor for the level of detail that emerges within the network?

      Mike 🙂

  4. Aretha Coley says:

    You have a very extensive mindmap. One thing you brought to my attention that I really didn’t consider was the news media. The news media is a large part of the learning network because we learn so much about current events that happening in the world. In addition, you spoke of skype as being your favorite digital tool. Skype has allowed us to reconnect on a personal level, when we had lost physical visual cues when talking to others. It has brought families together who find traveling on a regular basis hard to do and has allowed them to see each other as they grow. I too believe Skype has become one of our great digital tools of today.

    • Mike Dillon says:

      Hi Aretha…

      It is interesting to see how much video conferencing is continuing to expand. Cells phones now have the capabilities for video chat. I think that the visual component really helps to add another dimension to communication (and learning) to balance out some of the disadvantages to distance.

      Mike 🙂

  5. mrsdurff says:

    I like how you included F2F people in your connections. Using digital tools does allow us to break through the space / time continuum and also provides important “nearly now” (Heppell, 2008) learning time. I find this deepens the learning we facilitate with f2f learners. @Laurie Do you remember when Skype had Skype conferences with 100 people in them? @everyone How do you all feel about the Microsoft 2010 – so many changes – do these help or hinder learners?

    The Consortium for School Networking. (Producer). (2008, June 3). Learning to change/changing to learn [Video Podcast]. CoSN and the Pearson Foundation PSAs. Retrieved from http://www.pearsonfoundation.org; http://www.cosn.org

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