This week we're exploring various strategies for using a blog to support personal and formal learning as part of the Work Literacy course's focus on blogging. Today we're going to talk about "how to's" or instructional blogging.
"How to" posts can serve a few purposes in terms of learning.
- They're a great tool for assessing skill development. If you can write an effective instructional post, then you're demonstrating you have an essential understanding of the skills and tools involved in accomplishing the task or activity you're describing. On an individual level, this can be a check for your own personal learning. If you use "how to" blogging as part of instruction in a course, this allows you as a learning professional to determine if people actually understand and can apply the learning.
- The process of developing the instructional post actually solidifies learning--it helps learners consolidate different skills and through the process of application, cement the ideas in their brains.
- Posting a "how to" on a blog invites peer discussion and commentary. You might describe one way to handle a task, but then someone else might offer a tip on how to make some aspect more efficient or effective. The two-way conversational nature of the blog allows you to futher build upon the learning that begin with developing the "how to."
- "How to" posts can also serve as a collective resource not only for the learners who post them, but also for others in an organization.
In developing "how to's," blogs are really a platform for publishing the information. You can develop written instructions with pictures if that makes sense. But you can also use a tool like Jing to record and post a screencast. You can also record a video demonstration or audio or a VoiceThread presentation. This is one of those areas where choice of presentation method can be a further aide to motivation and learning and blogs lend themselves to using and sharing a variety of engaging media.
Do you use "how to" posts as a tool for personal learning or to support skill development with other learners? How do you use them? What benefits and drawbacks do you see?