A sneak peek into WEx research findings

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Earlier this year, I conducted a research study on behalf of the Working Examples team. We wanted to know first-hand why people use WEx and what they get from the site and community. Why do they use it? How does it help them? Does it benefit their professional learning?

I interviewed six people in the community about their participation on the site. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the findings…

  •  They use WEx to stay up to date with happenings in the WEx community and field, connect with new people and ideas, and share work in “untraditional” ways.
  • Some participants think creating Examples and participating in the community helped them learn something new, by supporting their workflow and reflection on their work and providing new perspectives to reframe their thinking.

Here’s what the participants have to say about Working Examples:

They use WEx to keep up with the field.

“for me it’s like a magazine. It’s a magazine of people that’s about learning design and educational technology. And so I sorta treat it as such. I get ideas for projects. I find out about people. I think it’s important because I don’t think there’s a really good source to find out about projects, like ongoing projects.

They use WEx to connect with new ideas and people.

“this is about finding out interesting projects and people behind the projects. I feel like it’s a cool way to access the brains of people that I wouldn’t otherwise have [access to].”

They appreciate how WEx allows people to share work in “untraditional” ways.

“I like the sort of alternative way of sharing and representing work and the possibility of engaging around it in different ways than are afforded by normal academic routes…Working Examples lets us sorta pull back the curtain and show what’s really happening and how to make it better for everyone else who’s interested in that sorta thing.”

“I want to create resources that will be useful for other people and leverage this format to put our content into it so that it’s very accessible to people.”

They learned about their own work, by reflecting on their Examples.

“it’s a good way of logging all the progress and putting it out there and even when I move away from [my current job] at one point if I do, it’s a good place to go back to and like okay this is what I did and I find it like a good way to journal things… it helps me review the whole thing. And then as I’m writing stuff and digging back through our archives and pulling things up I’m going ‘oh I remember this now. So we need to do this differently this time around’”

“it was a good introduction to just get me quickly to wrestling with the important issues of what our project was really about and what was important about it and how to show that to people.”

New perspectives from the community helped reframe their thinking.

“there’s not as much downside risk as I originally thought about talking about things before they’re ready. Part of it’s like, no one really cares. No one cares about your failure more than you do”

“There’s something about the Working Examples format that encourages people to be honest about their journey.”

“The quote [in someone else’s Example] about institutions being about education and people being about learning across these institutions, like that sort of reframed [my thinking] in such a way that it made sense and was catchy, something I can remember, something I can talk to other people about when I’m trying to get them to understand the way I think about people learning and learning spaces and schools… So, that was the thing I just learned today.”

I’m working on a paper for a journal that goes into more detail and includes some of the challenges that came up during interviews. More on that later…

A version of this post was originally published on WorkingExamples.org.

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