How to Create a Mutant Learning Lab - Step 2

In our last blog, we covered the first step in creating a mutant learning lab: making connections—but only a select few! What do you do after that? Organize the chaos! 

Step 2. Systematize: Capture the Chaos

Once you’re connected, you need systems in place to help you capture all of the online chaos. This step in your Mutant Learning Lab helps you access, aggregate, and organize new information in an orderly fashion. 

Today, I’ll introduce you to three organizing systems that can help:

  1. Push
  2. Pull
  3. Retrieve


With a push system, you automate the delivery of your information. A typical push process involves you receiving RSS feeds in the form of an email that is pushed to you whenever a learning fragment is posted to one of your chosen sites. You could also have RSS feeds automatically streaming to your website. 

While automation and the apparent ease of a push system can seem like the best solution, be careful not to fill your inbox with so many push emails that you’re back to information overload. Remember to capture and control the chaos, not contribute to it.


With a pull system, you must manually go to where the information you are seeking is hosted. One example is Googling a topic and then searching and digging to uncover the answer to your questions. The secret of a useful and effective pull system is to use tools that aggregate relevant information from a lot of sources in one place—like Google Reader, FlipBoard, Netvibes, and “smart” news sites like the New York Times.


Acquiring knowledge through push or pull systems is a good thing, but having a system where you can easily save, retrieve and share that information is even better. Think of a retrieval system as your learning home base, the one central location you can store all of the knowledge you acquire.

The most basic yet effective way you can create a retrieval system on your desktop is by utilizing your browser’s bookmarking folders. Try setting up a primary folder called “Learning Lab,” and then create sub-categories for each topic you need to learn about. When you come across a pertinent news site, blog article, or research site, be sure to add it to your Learning Lab folders so that you can return to this resource often.

In addition to the basic use of bookmarking and folders, we share a whole list of Systematizing Tools in the eBook.

Your Action Items:

Think of the best systems—Push, Pull, Retrieve—to use for the connections you have made in Step 1: Connect and get them set up.

The next step in building a mutant learning lab is to actually schedule your lab time. We’ll talk about that in the next blog.

Download the full eBook ​​Mutant Learning: How to Develop a Social Learning Lab here.