My colleague Loretta Donovan pinged me to let me know of her newest blog and her take on the topic of "Capturing Collaborative Knowledge from Nonprofit Events." I love seeing this through Loretta's lens of learning. Specificallly, she challenges the idea put forth by Nancy White "The act of production is an act of meaning making."
The first supposition is that as various means are used to capture the proceedings of an event, (Nancy mentions: Chat/IRC, Videocasts, VOIPcasts, Podcasts, and Visual Facilitation), the performance of encapsulating and depicting is in itself learning. You could argue that the person who is collecting and synthesizing has acquired some information. Using tools and a process, the words, ideas, experience, sounds, etc., that are conveyed and shared within a context, are made available to a virtual audience. The more engaged the "recorder" is and the greater degree of processing needed to summarize, use metaphors, create analogies, connect to other facts (in the present moment and from the past), the richer that person's experience. The learning is not in that moment in which these actions are taking. That's simply because learning is a process that happens when the information shifts from short-term to long-term memory and results in changed beliefs and behaviors.
Loretta, doe it depend on which learning theory you buy into?
Loretta wrote a follow up post where she says:
The content of blogs, podcasts, IMs, etc. can be offered up to an interested and engaged public. But, as such, it's just grist for the learning mill - it's not yet learning. Until the person on the receiving end of these technologies actively engages in a process of assimilation/reflection/application with the latent sources of knowledge, learning is still an unrealized possibility.
I sometimes think the misconception about learning is a symptom of an information-rich world. It's easy to assume that if you have a lot of content, you have a lot of learning. Ninth-grade science (not the last course I took on the topic but one most folks have encountered) taught us about potential energy. The wood pile could (when ignited) provide a roaring fire; unlit it was just a lot of lumber. Those are two distinctly different states for the same commodity. The relationship of information to learning is more fluid as I think about it . . . a continuum with many phase changes along the way. At one end, the communicator sends a message . . . in between the recipient grabs it, chews it up, matches it to existing schema, dialogues about it, tries it out, makes it her own . . . voila learning - and maybe some life altering transformation!
Via a post on David Wilcox's blog entitled "What does it take for online collaboration to work at events?" - there was a comment by Brian Kelly pointing to some of his resources on the topic.