In our last blog, we covered the fourth step in creating a mutant learning lab: actually learning! Today, we’re talking about the last step: sharing your knowledge.
Share: Contribute to the Community
Why share? Sharing what you’ve learned brings Mutant Learning full circle. Sharing reinforces what you’ve learned and places that learning fragment into the online space where it can be accessed and modified by other Mutant Learners, creating a more robust fragment that is perpetually growing and contributing to the community at large.
Sharing stands proud as the last and most important step in building a vibrant Mutant Learning Lab because it contributes to the community, keeping it alive and flowing.
Contributing as opposed to just consuming can be compared to two prominent seas in the Middle East: the Red Sea and the Dead Sea. Both exist in fairly close proximity to the other (380 miles), surrounded by arid land, desert, and semi-desert. While there are some similarities, even in their names, they are actually bipolar opposites.
- The Red Sea is alive with a thriving reef system.
- The Dead Sea lives up to its name and is void of most water life; it’s dead.
Why are these two seas so starkly different when it seems they have every reason to be similar? Simply put, the Red Sea gives as much as it receives, while the Dead Sea just takes and consumes everything to itself.
Both the Red and the Dead Seas have inlets that feed it fresh water, but only the Red Sea exchanges its water with the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean via the Gulf of Aden. It gives back by passing water along, contributing, and therefore flourishing. On the other hand, the Dead Sea consumes and consumes fresh water, but because it doesn’t have an outlet or a way to contribute, it poisons itself and dies.
It’s a Zombie Sea.
This is why sharing is so important. We must consume knowledge and then share that knowledge with others. Only once we share what we have learned is the Mutant Learning process complete.
Sharing can range from something as simple as duplicating or amalgamating to the most complex end of the spectrum, innovating.
Duplicating, or copying, is to share a learning fragment in its original form, completely unchanged. Duplication is a common Mutant Learning practice. For example, a Mutant Learner will re-tweet or link their learning fragment to a source website, blog, or research paper. Mutant learners also give attribution and credit where it is due.
In some cases, the duplication of information has resulted in the major overhaul of governments, like in the case of the Egyptian Revolution, or the outcry against the famous brand Kenneth Cole, who tweeted out an insensitive comment about the aforementioned revolution, which ironically led to a negative smear campaign using the same social media tool.
Clearly, the power of the Mutant Learner is greater than ever. However, you must be sure you are not duplicating false information.
The Principle Of Triangulation
We must warn against believing everything you read online. When in doubt, we recommend the Principle of Triangulation. Search for answers from at least three independent and reliable sources. If all three sources support one another, you know the information is correct. Move on. If one or more of the sources make divergent statements, you may need to spend more time researching the topic before knowing which argument is correct.
When you amalgamate, you combine your opinion, comment, or perspective to the original learning fragment, creating a composite result that is a fuller, more robust form of the original.
Some mutant learners may have expertise or experience they can contribute to a knowledge fragment that will enhance the learning experience for others interested in that topic. Thus, Mutant Learning flourishes and continues to grow.
A prime example of this form of contribution is Wikipedia. At first, some questioned the validity and accuracy of a system that encouraged the average Joe to add to a knowledge base. However, numerous studies concluded that the combined wisdom of the community was as accurate, if not more so, than a hardbound encyclopedia or traditional academic expert. Wikipedia has now become a full-fledged, highly accurate research site. It is common for the community to not tolerate mistakes or inaccuracies, and to either rectify the errors or report them as soon as possible.
Reminder: Anytime you are citing someone else’s data, be sure to always give proper attribution and credit.
Innovating in the Mutant Learning Lab means producing and introducing new ideas, insights, and learning fragments into the online community. Innovators are the subject matter experts (SMEs), thought leaders, authors, scholars, and imaginative souls who spend their time wondering what is possible and then make it happen.
You can easily group some of the amazing blogs written by stay-at-home mothers into the Innovator category.
These “diaper warriors” are innovating how to be a mother and how to run a household and then contributing their newly found knowledge to an online community of learners who can benefit from their sharing.
Your learning experience can rival that of a private institution if you find the right mutant experts to follow and collaborate with.
The Mutant Learning Challenge
Being an effective Mutant Learner will not require all your time and energy, but it will demand discipline and dedication. Mutating requires a concerted effort and ongoing adaptation.
Actively perform your Mutant Learning Rituals for the first week so that you know how many learning fragments you need to scan and review before finding the real nuggets. And ensure that you always look for ways to contribute to the communities you are connected to.
Most importantly, shed your Zombie tendencies and embrace your inner Mutant.
Download the full eBook Mutant Learning: How to Develop a Social Learning Lab here.