The Theory Behind Mastering LSL Knowledge

By Hearing First Team April 26, 2016

LSL Day by Day, LSL Intervention Practice | LSL strategies, listening and spoken language, parent-professional partnerships, parent advice, professional advice, professional home, professional perspective

(PKM Series: Part 2 of 4) Personal Knowledge Mastery is a model for managing information and maximizing your personal growth in the Listening and Spoken Language world. Learn what you need to master all the knowledge available in the digital space, and discover why this learning model can help you improve the lives of children with hearing loss.

Welcome to Part 2 of the “Learning LSL” blog series!

If you’re just now tuning in, start reading with Part 1: Personal Knowledge Mastery through Seek-Sense-Share.

Imagine an average Tuesday afternoon...

The week has barely begun and you’re already feeling behind. It seems like you’ve spent most of the day in the car or running between meetings, appointments or intervention sessions. You pause for a moment to scan your inbox for urgent messages and see a few articles you’ve been saving to read when you have time. They’re really starting to pile up in there. You wonder if you’ll ever dig out –let alone feel on top of things.

Later on in a staff meeting, someone brings up a problem to be solved or a topic to be discussed. You vaguely remember seeing or saving something relevant to the conversation, but you can’t remember what it was or how to find it.

Sound familiar? For most of us, this is a regular occurrence.

On top of the demands the average professional or parent faces, we have so much information coming at us every single day. Much of it seems like great material we’d love more time to absorb and engage with. In the LSL world alone, there are trends to be explored, studies being released, articles about the newest science and blogs about latest techniques. It’s a lot to stay on top of. Ultimately, it’s too much to keep up with if you’re hoping to balance ongoing study with your job - or your life! In this day and age, the limitless access to information can feel like both a blessing and a curse.

The key question becomes: How am I going to organize and interact with this information so I can make sense of it?

Personal Knowledge Mastery (PKM) is one answer to that question. PKM is the idea that everyone can use digital tools to create a system to manage their information and develop a plan to follow through, so all of that great content is able to change our behavior toward personal and professional development. This model was made famous by Harold Jarche, who is described as “one of the best thinkers out there on things relating to learning and work.

Managing the steady stream of new content online requires a systematic approach. It’s tempting to haphazardly use our inboxes to hold onto things to read “when there’s time.” To avoid a backlog of blogs to read later, it’s better to create a plan to harness the information flow and actually learn something. For example, instead of retweeting something to track what we like, we're retweeting it as the first step in a master plan for organizing and applying all that information to our daily practice. If managed well, all that information can be empowering rather than overpowering.

PKM helps you make time to read, absorb the information, make sense of it and form an opinion.

  • to ask, "So what? What does it look like offline, in the real world?"
  • to consider how a piece of research impacts what you’re doing in your practice.
  • to decide what you think about a new approach that’s being discussed.
  • to determine implications for your parent-professional partnerships and daily LSL practice.

So what might PKM look like? It’s a lot like those old Trapper Keepers® children used to carry around with different categories for different classes or areas of life. PKM involves using different digital “buckets” to organize and apply content as it comes to you. An example of the information flow might look like this:

1. You gather everything you have in Feedly, and as a daily practice, scan through it just as you would check your email. While scanning through the content, you may ask yourself: What am I going to do with it? What are the most relevant articles? How can I make sense of this information to impact my learning?  

2. You move the post into Evernote, which you’re using as a notebook or workspace. You might be scheduled to work on a related project, and you can use this notebook to easily access that resource later in the day as a part of your preparation. Plus, with a tool like Evernote, you can make notes and comments on the article or resource to make the information actionable.

3. Then you’ll begin to utilize other approaches, like starting a Pinterest board for each “bucket” or topic that interests you. This part would be unique to your learning style. Pinterest, for example, is a very visual way to organize information.

Each step in the example above demonstrates how you might organize the information you find and how you might engage with it. Personal Knowledge Mastery isn’t just about creating resource repositories to organize lots of information. To make this process work and get the most benefit, the information you choose to engage with also needs to be applied and shared. And there are so many ways you could do that:

  • Regular presentations at your staff meetings
  • Creating a community discussion
  • Sharing digitally through social settings, such as blogs, twitter chats or LinkedIn group posts
  • Leading a workshop or discussion with staff members
  • Utilizing new techniques in your daily work

How will you incorporate this into your daily life? Now that you understand what it is, take a moment and reflect on your approach. Ask yourself: What system am I using to process all the information that comes my way? Where could I use suggestions and support in creating a plan?

This learning system needs to be specific to you. Everyone’s content management method is their own. It’s not one size fits all. You may consider your schedule, the way you learn or the things you have on your plate. Think about your areas of professional need or interests.

With so much content on every possible topic, it’s important to be discerning about what you follow and don’t follow. One person may want to keep up with cochlear implant research and development and the newest technology, while someone else may be more interested in practical LSL strategies. This means you need a unique plan for blending this into your professional behavior and daily life. Developing a PKM plan can help you prioritize resources and tackle whatever is on your plate.

We want to make PKM more achievable for LSL professionals and families. has been developed with PKM in mind — for people just like you. We know that in order to see children who are deaf or hard of hearing reach their full potential, we’ll need to work together and share the ways we’re learning and growing. It’s difficult to share if we aren’t implementing processes that allow the information piling up in our inboxes to be accessed — and it’s impossible for others to learn from you if you’re too buried to communicate what’s working well in your context.

For these reasons, Hearing First works to develop LSL content and resources that are:

  • Practical (alerts come to Feedly or emails are sent on key topics — making it easy for you to stay up to date)   
  • Sharable (content is easy to print or pass along through pins, tweets and posts — which helps you connect with the rest of the LSL world)
  • Understandable (infographics and images make the content digestible — Which can be shared during parent-professional interactions in LSL sessions.)
  • Tangible (find lesson plans and activity ideas — maybe for times when your caseload hasn’t allowed you to come up with fresh intervention activities)

We’re working to make this learning process a whole lot easier for all kinds of LSL practitioners. We want LSL professionals and parents to have a space for connecting, learning and collaborating with each other while on the LSL journey. Here are just a few of our most important features:

Stay tuned for our next post, where we’ll talk about how to build your own personal learning plan and guide readers through putting together a model that embeds learning in their busy day.

Try it!

Remember the digital tools we used in the example above? (Feedly, Evernote and Pinterest?) Start using one (or all three) today. Even if you just sign up for their free accounts, you’re taking an important step toward creating your own Personal Knowledge Mastery Plan.

LSL Day by Day, LSL Intervention Practice | LSL strategies, listening and spoken language, parent-professional partnerships, parent advice, professional advice, professional home, professional perspective

About the Author

Hearing First Team At Hearing First, we want all children to benefit from the availability of newborn hearing screening, the advances in technology, and the early learning services in their communities. We want all children to have the opportunity to take advantage of access to sound – a critical building block for future success.