Every time I work on a new project at work I not only gain a lot of new knowledge but learn many lessons about how to handle certain things. Something I always try and do is make the most out of everything I’m learning by repurposing it in other ways. This also has the effect of really solidifying what I learned and experienced. If this is something you’re interested in doing, here are 5 tips on how to do it:
1.) Blog about it.
I’m a librarian so by nature I love sharing what I learn whether that’s discovering a new tool, implementing a new process, or hearing a great speaker. This is also one of the main reasons that I blog. So when I learn something that I think would be useful to others in the library community, I’ll write up a post about it such as: Create Your own Personal Knowledge Base, A Quick Guide to the Green Screen Effect, Create a Reference Statistics Database with Zoho Creator, Card Sorting from A–Z iLibrarian Series
2.) Create a workshop about it.
After going through the process of researching and selecting an ILS system for my previous library I learned a great deal about technology solutions planning. Not only did I learn about techniques such as gathering market intelligence, requirements gathering, and RFP writing, but also how to gain buy-in, form committees, and lead projects. I really wished that there had been a quick, one day workshop which could have taught me about all of those things at the beginning, so I went ahead and developed one myself that I’ve taught many times: http://techplanning.pbworks.com
3.) Publish an article about it.
I think that one of the most effective ways to teach people how to use new technology is through creating screencasts which are videos that record the actions that take place on the computer screen, most often including a narrative audio track. I was doing a lot of this while teaching a distance-learning class for San Jose State University, so I wrote an article on the topic that was published in School Library Journal here. Writing this article not only solidified what I was learning about at the time, but allowed me the opportunity to think about and refine my process for creaing the screencasts.
4.) Create an online presentation about it.
When I was learning about “open” topics for a course I was teaching at SJSU, I created a series of online presentations on Open Source, Open Access, Open Education, and Open Licenses which really helped organize my ideas about what I wanted to present for the course material. I’ve been told that they’ve been very helpful for others doing research on these topics and those presentations have been viewed over 30,000 times on Slideshare!
5.) Speak at a library conference about it.
Library conferences are such a great way to find out about new projects and trends that are happening in the field. Why not share what you’re working on or lessons you’ve learned? When I was teaching that distance learning course at SJSU, I built a private social network for my students to participate in using Drupal. It was a lot of work and I learned a TON of lessons that I wished I knew about beforehand. So I put in an abstract for the Computers in Libraries conference and spoke about it there. Once again, it really helped me organize my thoughts about the project and it also opened up a dialogue with many in the library community that I’ve since learned from.
BONUS: Do all 5!!!
Why not do all 5 of these? I actually try and do as many as possible after a very large project such as the Drupal one. For that I spoke about it at the conference, I created a Slideshare presentation with an audio narration track that has been viewed more than 30,000 times, and I wrote an article on the topic.
Why not use and repurpose what you’re learning?