Discovery Learning

I spent the past half hour typing a really good blog,

and in a split second,

I lost everything.

Stupid browser crash.



Heard that.

Done that.

Nothing new.


My immediate reaction – screw this. Not going to retype. Too many other things to do. Blogs are a waste of time anyway. Sour grape. Just forget it.

My logical sense said – note this. Golden opportunity. Second iteration yields higher quality. Incorporate reflection, metacognition, refinement.


OK. Here goes nothing.



This morning I woke up at 5am.

I had a revelation.


WAIT A MINUTE… I just noticed something in the corner of my eye. At the bottom of the textbox editor, was a small automated text. It said, “Draft saved at 2:06:56 pm. Last edited by rozhussin on March 31, 2013 at 1:53 pm”.


I didn’t lose my blog??

What a bonus!

OK. But where is the draft saved? This is my first blog site ever. How the heck would I know how to retrieve the auto saved draft?

OK. Going to go find it. Will come back to this paragraph in a bit.



OK. I’m back. Found it. Feel stupid. This stuff isn’t rocket science. It just requires diligence, and a little dose of curiosity. Anyway, I copy-pasted the auto-save version below. All is good. I learned a lot today.



Original blog:

I woke up this morning at 5am.

I had a revelation.

Nothing big. Just a sudden clarity.

I had been struggling with keeping up with my many MOOCs, blogs, G+ posts, etc. As always, my method of immersion-learning (a.k.a. “binge learning”) is often a double edged sword.

Jump in. Dive deep. Immerse. Take it all in. Bring it on. It’s the fastest way to explore all possibilities, surest route to making the most mistakes, and quickest path to learning the hard way. And that is exactly what I have been experiencing the past 3 months. A whirlwind of learning. A tornado of enlightenment.

I loved it!

My brain was alive!

But now, I was drowning in a pool of wet aftermath.

My thoughts are scattered all over the place. Some in blogs. Some in G+. Some in comments on other people’s blogs, other people’s G+ spaces, and other places I can’t even remember. It felt wonderful to share. But maybe I’m not as benevolent as I thought I am. Now, I want to retrieve those thoughts I poured out. I want to re-read my own inner revelations. But I can’t. Why?

Because for the life of me, I honestly can’t recall where the heck I typed whatever it is that I typed!

Damn it!

I wondered how other people do this. Surely there is a science to this madness? This must be a skill that people acquire. A competency for survival in this online Connectivist (Siemens, 2008) world. A competency that, obviously, I do not yet have. Someone should make a Mozilla badge for this skill!

Last night I went to bed, once again, like I had in the past 3 months, feeling totally invigorated after having read and contributed to at least a dozen dialogs online. Be it a simple +1 on G+, or a heart and gut wrenching story I typed out in a spurt of creative vomit. My brain felt alive as I was settling in under my cozy comforter.

But almost immediately after that, the sine curve switched polarity, and I was on the down slope, slipping past the zero, into the negative zone of despair. I suddenly realized that by morning, I would have totally forgotten where I had posted, who I had posted to, or how to get back to where I had posted at.

Darn it!

Why did I not know this competency? What does it take to learn this? Who can I learn it from?

How come I’ve never seen discussions online about this strand of knowledge? After all, it IS a form of “knowledge”. The ability to be autonomous yet accountable for one’s contributions to this new semantic online world.

I went to bed with a virtual grey cloud over my pillow. It poured virtual pellets of hail onto my already pounding head all night long. Needless to say, I probably didn’t get my full night’s worth of REM sleep.

Then at 5am, thanks to Daylight Savings Time, when the first ray of sun squeezed through my window blinds, I suddenly had an epiphany.

Nothing big. Just a sudden clarity.

It’s all about sequence.

It’s all about hyperlinks.

  1. Self first. Post in personal blog. Pour out. Vomit thoughts. Don’t edit. Just document.
  2. Then share. Copy blog URL. Share in public space. Perhaps G+, MOOC forum, whatever, wherever. If needed, overlay with explanation. Contextualize. Make it meaningful to the community space in which this shared link will “live” in. Remember to subscribe. Remember to set push notification.
  3. Then wait. Let the seed germinate. If the share was meaningful in context, responses will follow. If not, then, lesson learned. Repeat steps one and two with more refined effort. Or… not. Who cares anyway? Depending on topic, maybe some posts never need responses. Rhetoric is beautiful in itself. Sometimes, silence is more powerful than noise.
  4. Lastly, when that little voice comes back, days later. Trying to remember what was said before. Then, there’s the original blog to reminisce on, plus, there’s a systematic array of received notifications to reference to.


This blog is my first experiment of the above method. I’m going to post this in my G+ space and a few MOOC forums/spaces. I wonder how it will turn out?

Link to discussions:

Link to similar reflections blog at E-Learning Provocateur :

Link to interesting relevant comment in response to published article (see comment by stevecovello :

Link to discussions on “binge learning”:


22 thoughts on “Discovery Learning

  1. Hi Roz
    I really love what you have written and more importantly how you have written it. I’m so glad you didn’t give up on finding your original work. Your experience echoes the experience of many who are trying to gulp down big mouthfuls from the fire-hose and navigate the learning landscape without drowning or falling into bottomless potholes. It also articulately describes the ebb and flow of the process, pain and joy of learning.

    • Trish,

      THANK YOU for your lovely post, and DOUBLE DOUBLE THANK YOU for posting it twice, once in G+ and once here in this blog. Note – I too am following your lead, and copying this reply twice. Until the semantic web internet coding gurus figure out how to auto aggregate across platforms, normal human beings (like you and me) will continue to post twice, or thrice… (aahh… interesting topic… maybe another blog in the making there?)

      Hope to see you in future posts :)


  2. Thanks for writing about your internal dialogue.

    Re-discovering learning comes to my mind. Facing the overwhelming impressions in a MOOC, one has to let go of a lot of – let’s say traditional – ideas of learning. And dealing with complexity is definitely not something we learn in schools (unless you dig in deep and make a whole-life-masters-theses out of it).

    I am reading a book from Jo Nesbo _Phantom_. Harry Hole, an ex-detective, describes his way of entering a crime scene, trying to adsorb every little detail and store it into his consciousness. No ordering, no categorization, no interpretation. It’s like collecting impressions and bits and pieces of information, that later fall in their places (or not).

    I think that fits quite well going through MOOCs (and would be _one way_ of dealing with complexity). Important things naturally come back to you, because they stick out and connect to something you are looking for.

    • “…one has to let go of traditional ideas of learning…”
      I fully agree!

      “… dealing with complexity is definitely not something we learn in schools…”
      Yes, absolutely true…

      My question is… can we leverage MOOCs and the Connectivist learning ecosystem to teach us this?
      I think, yes.
      But I don’t know how yet 😉

  3. Hi Roz thanks for your enjoyable and insightful post, on multi-platform dwelling and leaving a trail…its so easy to forget who said what where Nuala

    • I struggle with this too (don’t we all?). The ability to remember where you read or wrote something is a huge challenge. The other day I was reading an article that talked about Twitter and other social networking sites as ephemeral platforms – or something along those lines. Of course, I can’t remember exactly what I was reading, or whether I got to it through an RSS feed or Twitter… 😉

  4. Dear Roz – I loved this post, echoes so many of our experiences perfectly – and I really like (ie will borrow/reuse) the phrase ‘binge learning’!

    • Pauline,
      Thanks for your note, and yes! Please feel free to use the phrase “binge learning”. Actually, the phrase came from a lively G+ discussion I had with some other MOOC friends. The original term was extracted from an article-share, and after an invigorating entertaining discussion, I decided to make a pictorial meme version of it (the visual depicted in my post). If you are interested, here is my binge learning post, and on it are links to the two other discussions that led to my pictorial meme on binge learning.

  5. Hi, this post really resonates. I’m also finding that my blog is a home base which serves as the artefact of learning and an invitation for self dialogue and dialogue with others. One thing I need to remember is to subscribe to feeds on blogs I post on, so I can keep the conversation going, especially for this MOOC. And thank goodness for auto-save 🙂

  6. DO IT WELL – i12LOL!

  7. Response copy-pasted from
    Patricia Daniels Post 3 (unread) in reply to 2
    15 Apr 2013, 21:28

    Hi Roz,

    Thanks for that I enjoyed the read. Yes, it’s really a learning process isn’t it? And I also think it’s important to make mistakes and find the solutions ourselves in some cases, just as you did here. Sleep can work wonders as far as problem solving goes. But you are so right. We enter these MOOCs and online courses and may not necessarily be aware of what skills are required to be able to float around to various groups and keep a tag on what we’ve been writing. I tend to do late hour stuff, jumping here and there,dropping a lot of very spontaneous posts and like you, also forgetting to subscribe to the blog or forum just in case a follow up comment arrives 🙂 I know the feeling believe me. It’s a skill that needs to be learned and can save a lot of time when you’ve gained it. (Making mental note here to push subscribe as I leave this conversation.)


    Roz Hussin Post 18 in reply to 3
    28 Apr 2013, 15:41


    Thanks for your reply post. I apologize for not reposnding sooner. I forgot to click NOTIFY so I didn’t even know I had feedback. Silly me!

    As we said… it sure is a learning process!!!

  8. Response copy-pasted from
    Gilly Ferguson Post 10 in reply to 2
    17 Apr 2013, 21:50
    This is brilliant Roz and it reflects the lightbulb moments of connection well, thank you. The image if binge learning connects with what I learned in H800 about promiscuous learning which I can also relate to …

    Roz Hussin Post 19 in reply to 10
    28 Apr 2013, 15:44

    Sorry for the delayed reply. I forgot to set the push notifications in here. So much to learn about this online world, isn’t there? It’s like being a kid again!

    But I love it! … let’s binge away!


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