The penultimate week of the #EL30 MOOC, Experience.

The learning task as set by Stephen called for us to creatively represent our experiences of the #El30 cMOOC and to post about it:

Be creative! Using the medium of your choice, create a representation of your experience of E-Learning 3.0. Then post your creation (or post a link to your creation) on your blog.

Here’s a good example of the sort of thing you could create, by Kevin Hodgeson (who apparently also studied mind reading as he completed this Task before it was posted).

If you need inspiration, visit the DS106 Assignment Bank and select one of the assignments, and then interpret it in the light of E-Learning 3.0.


Be creative! No problem…!  Creativity has most often been something that has spontaneously come to me rather than something I felt I could tap into on-demand.

This was a tough one but enjoyable once I reflected on it . And the example given of Kevin’s work was incredible.

At this time of the year, I feel a bit like a pot that’s almost reached the boil and need a valve to be released. So it was fantastic to have the inspiration of other participants creative posts and the inspiration of the online exchange between Stephen and Amy Burvall to refer to this week.

Conversation between Stephen Downes and Amy Burvall

Creating a representation of my experience of E-Learning 3.0

To represent my own experience (in a festive way as it’s almost Christmas!) I’ve chosen to capture some pictures of a winter tree with lights and create a quick GIF. The representation I’ve chosen comprises some metaphorical elements which I will explain my interpretation of below.

With this image my intention is to focus on growth, the notion of emerging community, change and adaptation, decentralisation, a blend of both the natural (tree) and human (electrical lights), independence and interdependence, and the collective whole.

I did not create or plant the tree, which I feel is apt for this #EL30 experience/creativity task. I’m just capturing my sense of it by taking a snapshot, the view of it from my perspective.

The tree as a structure is always growing, ever-changing and adapting. It sheds its leaves at certain times and grows new ones. It is both a product of its environment and something that shapes it. Much the same can be said about the future of education and e-learning.

The root structure of the tree also serves as an interesting metaphor. The underground roots, not visible in the photograph, might well describe all that remains hidden on the #EL30 journey, nonetheless, the hidden roots are vitally important to sustain the tree’s survival and growth. Many details, messages and talking points from this iteration of #EL30 are likely being discussed and analysed in lots of physical and virtual spaces and places – blog posts and social media are but some of these spaces. These thoughts and conversations might be hidden but they are no less important to the future of education and e-learning.

The lights on the tree might represent more than one thing . Light is seen as something hopeful, something illuminating and good. The network of lights might be the modules and topics we have encountered during #EL30, the collective neural network of our posts, the ideas and creative learning artefacts which we’ve all contributed to #EL30, etc., etc.

But I prefer to think of each light on the tree as a person from the group of #El30 participants. The lights are all connected together by an electrical current, wires and cable (these vectors could all be metaphors of their own – I’ll let that up to you to decide) to form the graph or network structure of lights that are distributed in a decentralised way all around the tree. Perhaps it might have been better if the lights were all of different colours, or if some faded on and off, to represent the diversity of each of us, our interactions, our interests and our perspectives.

No node or light stands out as being the centre. There is an evident independence and interdependence. There is no light visibly larger or brighter than another, a concept I feel that Stephen has tried to bring across in this course – everyone can and should be encouraged and empowered to actively and creatively contribute to the decentralised community experience and to take opportunities to communicate directly with other lights.

Featured image by Free-Photos