Learning in public view

Back in the days of learning from authorities who appeared to us as ink on paper, we learned in private. No one could really see what we were thinking or how we were changing our minds. Those few people who could give us grades, evaluate our performance or correct our mistakes -- could only assume what we must have been thinking. The only evidence was our final product and the content we learned from seemed like an expert's final say.

Of course there are exceptions like newspaper columnists daily writing, draft submittals of works in progress, and the corpus of an author's lifetime work. Yet the dominant impression from "ink on paper" was to be silenced in the presence of authorities. We were learning by internalizing content, not realizing insights on our own.

Now that we've liberated to generate unique content, express our own voice and join in unexpected conversations, our thinking is on display. Instead of making isolated pronouncements (like memos, reports, papers) we are making sense that connects from day to day. People can see us evolve our understanding and change our minds. Our thinking is obviously being affected by others' thinking. We are combining ideas, incorporating other concepts and integrating opposing viewpoints.

With our thinking on display, evaluation can become more balanced and evidenced based. Other's can see where were coming from, how we routinely react and what confines our options. We may even get feedback on how we connect the dots, make sense of the facts or define the problem we're facing. Evaluation of us may eventually lose the chronic problems with rater bias (demonizing) and false positives (halo effects).

As we learn in public view, others can learn from how we learn. We can provide examples of learning from what happens to us or shows up as a big lesson in our life. Other's can make better sense of how we make sense -- because our learning appears as a process of continual adaptation and evolution. Instead of fixing an isolated error, helpful advice will work with our processes of reasoning.

With people seeing how we're changing, we may even benefit from a few others taking an interest in our learning. We may get mentored by someone who is fascinated by our thought processes. We may get a different way of seeing ourselves from someone who has watched our thinking evolve.

PLE's dramatically increase the chances of all these improvements occurring. By generating content that others can subscribe to its RSS/Atom feed, we set up our learning in public view.


  1. This is a great post. When I started blogging, I had no idea the impact it would have on me both personally and professionally. I have been so fortunate to accomplish 2 major things:
    1 - I have a clearer understand of what I think because I have to put it on paper.
    2 - I receive awesome feedback, help, and support because I have put it down on paper.

    Learning in public is a scary thing and requires thick skin, but the benefits are amazing!

  2. Thanks April. What you've said here is a great example of learning in public view. You're experiences may prove to be a wonderful inspiration for other's who are on the brink of being more self expressive and vulnerable online.