Lara Newman FM17

Swarm Learning

In your opinion, what is Swarm Learning?

Swarm learning is a learning style that allows individuals to study concepts at different levels of understanding. We may look at some topics at the most basic level, but swarm learning pushes individuals to dive deeper into the logical structure of a concept.

What are its Strengths?

Strengths are the positive attributes that can be included within a SWOT analysis. These positive attributes are internal to the organization. These can typically be physical assets, competitive advantages, or different aspects of the organization and team that makes the business successful.

What are its weaknesses?

Weaknesses are the negative factors that can take away from the success of one’s organization. They detract from strengths. Although weaknesses are negative, it is still extremely important for an organization to understand what their weaknesses are so they can continue to improve upon.

What are the opportunities that exist that I should take advantage of and use in the course to improve the Swarm Learning method?

I don’t necessarily know if I have any ideas on opportunities to improve the swarm learning method. I think the only thing I would point out is something outside of swarm learning. I wish there was more structure around assignments. It became difficult at times to really engage with classmates when others would turn in assignments at the end of the month or later. So maybe an opportunity to open up more communication with other classmates. Similar to what we did with the swarming the map assignment!

What are the threats that I should be aware of that could hurt the class because of how I am using Swarm Learning?

Unknown and hesitation from students at the beginning of the semester due to them not understanding what swarm learning is. There is potential that some people may become so overwhelmed that they drop the course.

If you had to list one overarching principle for Swarm Learning (the principle of thing that succinctly describes it), what would it be?

Embracing conceptual structure when learning a new concept.

Using an analogy, how would you describe the form of Swarm Learning (i.e. whats the structure)?

Swarm Learning reminds me of an apartment complex. They look so simple on the outside, but there is so much going on in the inside. Some apartments are simple, while others are extremely complex depending on the resident. Different levels of understanding can be used to understand the structure of the complex. This same analogy would work with a medical office if there are different clinics located in the one building.

Using an analogy, how would you describe the function of Swarm Learning (e.g. think of a door, its form is the physical structure, its function is to be able to open and close to allow passage)?

The function of Swarm Learning is like turning on a computer to complete homework assignments.


Using an analogy, how would you describe the logic of Swarm Learning (i.e. the idea behind it)?

It helps people understand how turning on a computer ultimately impacts the grade students receive on their homework assignments. There are numerous concepts involved in the process!

Mechanisms of Swarm Learning

What did you think of creating concept maps? Did the CM’s help you understand the concept you were looking at?

I enjoyed creating concept maps and feel like they helped connect some of the concepts with one another. They helped paint a bigger picture on what it was we were learning/focusing on for that week.

What did you think of creating essay maps? Did the EM’s help you develop a logical essay?

I thought the essay maps were helpful. I honestly believe I would have procrastinated putting together an idea for my blog if we didn’t have the EM assignments to help us put together our ideas for the blog.

Was I able to convince you to write a blog instead of an essay? If so, how? If not, what could I have done to convince you? Did the video where I demonstrated how to write a blog help?

Yes, the extra points were enough to convince me to write a blog! I thought the video was helpful. Writing a blog is something that is uncomfortable to me, so the video and EM assignments were helpful guides to get started on the blog.

What did you think of the essay/blog topics? Were they new to you?

Some of the topics were new to me. I chose the Red Team because I had never heard about it and thought that would be a good way to learn about the topic.

Did you connect with an expert to assist you with writing your blog/essay? If so, what was your experience? If not, why not?

No, I just ran out of time!

What did you think of the warming the canvas assignment? How can I improve on this idea?

I liked it. I tend to like a little more structure. Maybe a better idea of what the expectation is out of the assignment prior to having everyone hop in. It took me like 10 minutes to realize what we were doing since there were no verbal instructions/expectations communicated to us. I know some people prefer that.

What did you think of the feedback maps? Do you think they were useful? How can I improve on these?

I thought they were good. It gave us some time to reflect on what we learned during that month, as well as give our opinion on some of the assignments.

What did you think of the syllabus (specifically, the syllabus in blog format)? How can I improve this? Was it a good idea to write in a blog format?

I found it to be a little overwhelming and complex! I think it is something that is good to continue, but maybe adjust the content a little to help ease people into this class.

What did you think of Tableau and how I used it to show grades?

I love Tableau, but don’t think it was necessary to share everyone’s grades with the whole class. Grades are something I think are private. We at least didn’t have any exams in this class. It would really bother me if we had exams in the class. I could also just feel like they are private because grades are never shared with classmates in other classes. That has just become the norm.

What did you think of the WordPress learning community?

I enjoyed the WordPress learning community and are glad we were all given the opportunity to learn how to use it! Sometimes it is fun to get out of Blackboard.

What are your thoughts on the Facebook group? Was it helpful? Will you continue to use it and interact?

I thought the Facebook group was great at the beginning of the class when there was more participation from some of the previous students. I don’t feel like there has been much engagement recently. That could potentially change as we roll out our blogs! I did like that it was easier to communicate with classmates on there. Not sure if I will continue to use it or not after this class. I may stay in there for a semester to see what it is like being on the outside looking in!


What did you think of Plectica? Will you continue to use it?

Yes, I will continue to use this. I like the idea behind Plectica and what you can do with concept maps within this tool.

What did you think of Thinkquiry? Will you continue to use it?

I briefly touched thinkquiry, so I most likely won’t continue to use it.

What did you think of Thortspace? Will you continue to use it?

No, I don’t believe I will still use thorspace after this class. I enjoyed using it within our assignments, but it isn’t something I plan on continuing to use.

What did you think of Rationaleonline? Will you continue to use it?

No, I will not continue to use this. This tool could have been so useful if we didn’t have to pay extra to use it.

What other programs or resources did you use from this class that were beneficial?

I enjoyed reading our textbook because it applied healthcare related concepts to what we were learning. I also found the thesis generator to be extremely beneficial. This is something that I will continue to use outside of this class!

Simple Rules for this Class

If I were to outline 4-5 specific rules (think boundaries) for you as a student in Swarm Learning, what would they be?

  1. Log into WordPress
  2. Listen to assignment videos
  3. Answer questions to weekly assignments
  4. Create a concept map that includes the answers to your assignment questions
  5. Don’t be afraid to be creative!

Instruction Delivery and Methods

What was your favorite topic or concept to learn about? Could I have delivered it better?

I enjoyed learning about systems thinking. Sometimes it is easy to look at a concept from a simple level and understanding. Systems thinking pushes use to understand the process of how different things influence the whole of something.

What were your thoughts on the structure of the class? What were your thoughts on the structure of the Learning Community (WordPress)?

I thought it was nice to change the pace a bit and get out of Blackboard. WordPress was a neat tool to use. It was easier for use to collaborate via WordPress than through Blackboard posts.

What were your thoughts on the assignment how-to video’s? How can I improve on them?

I thought they were extremely useful. Keep posting them for all assignments!

How could I have structured the class to help you embrace the idea of ambiguity? Does this class help you embrace this (being comfortable with the uncomfortable)?

Your videos are what helped me a lot with some of the ambiguity of the course. This class helped me realize it’s okay to color outside of the lines a little bit. We were graded on our efforts and if we could share our opinions. We weren’t graded on if we got an answer right or wrong. There was never really a wrong answer. I think this class helps encourage people to be more confident.

What was your favorite article and/or video (i.e. Scout mindset, General Semantics, etc.)?

Not just saying this because its an example in the question, but I really enjoyed the scout mindset, as well as the personality test, we just did on our last assignment. Those helped me understand and open my eyes to who I am as a person. They gave me opportunities on things I could watch out for and improve on.

What did you think of DSRP?

DSRP is a good concept that forces one to think outside of the box. It helps people seek a pattern of connections. It teaches us how to know and not what to know.

What did you think of Red Teaming?

I like the concept so much I decided to make it my blog topic so I could learn more about it! This also gives me the opportunity to apply it to a healthcare setting.

What were your thoughts on the textbook? Was it useful? Is it needed?

I like the textbook! I felt like I got more out of our assignments when using the textbook within some assignments. My interest is in healthcare, so I thought it was nice to focus on some of the concepts that were shared in that textbook. The textbook shared healthcare related examples that helped me apply some of the concepts to the industry.

What do you think of Systems thinking?

As mentioned above, I love systems thinking. It is one of the concepts that comes to my mind first when I think about this class.

Key Takeaway

How would you describe this class to students taking this class in the Spring?

There may be some fear from the unknown in the beginning but stick it out. You will eventually grasp the idea behind the assignments and have fun!

What advice would you give a student who is thinking of dropping this course?

Don’t drop the course. Reach out to your classmates if you are feeling overwhelmed and need some more insight/opinions on the assignments. It will get easier!

What can I do to improve this class?

Maybe simplify it at the beginning. I think it helps that you offer extra credit to the individual that posts first. That will always motivate individuals to get their assignments completed. It can be a little intimidating being the first to post!

Did this class prepare you for working in healthcare administration or in any other area? Please explain.

Yes, there were some good leadership concepts that were discussed, as well as some good healthcare concepts that were covered in our assignments. Learning these concepts does make me question some people that are currently in leadership roles in my organization, as well as question why we do things certain ways.

Did this class make you think?

Yes! It also made me question myself at times, but it was a good class that forced me to push myself at times.

If you had to list one thing, what is the most important think you took away from this class?

Don’t be afraid to share your opinion!

What was your least favorite part of this class?

Not sure why this keeps sticking with me, but I did not like our assignment that was about gun control. I just felt like we were dabbling in politics a little and didn’t necessarily understand why we needed to discuss that video in one of our assignments. I’d rather focus on healthcare related topics.

What did you enjoy the most?

I enjoyed making the concept maps!

Would you consider using Swarm Learning in teaching, life, or in your job?

Yes, I would consider using pieces of it. Not sure if I will ever be in a setting where I can fully apply Swarm Learning, but there are pieces of it I would apply to teaching new associates! I like that it allows people to dive deeper into concepts without being judged for their thoughts and ideas.

Were you aware of my class and the Swarm Learning method prior to this semester? Please explain (i.e. if you were aware, how?). What were you told by other students, your advisor, or others, prior to taking this class?

No, I knew nothing about the class or Swarm Learning when I signed up for this course!

Have you ever had a class similar to this? Please explain.

No, most of my classes are MBA courses. I feel like most of those are rigid and rely on taking exams and writing papers. I was getting a little unmotivated to finish up my next year, but this class helped give me a break from what I have been experiencing thus far in my graduate program.

Did you feel as though you could be candid and honest with your feedback? Did you think your grade would be negatively impacted if you were honest? Please explain.

Yes, I felt like I could be honest. I was a little hesitant on the first feedback map because it almost doesn’t feel real that we could provide honest feedback. It’s like when someone says you can wear jeans to work and you are hesitant to actually do so on your first day!

Finally, what is one thing I can add to this class (or take away) right now, immediately?

Earlier due dates on assignments to help keep students stay engaged. I had trouble at times keeping up with comments on assignments because it would take a month or so for some people to post their assignments.

2 thoughts on “Lara Newman FM17

  1. I’m totally with you on the topic of other resources you found helpful. I think I’ll constantly refer back to our text book and the Thesis generator is a tool I wish I’d have had when I started. This is my final class of my graduate degree, and I could have used the Thesis generator over and over!

  2. Awesome job! I had a good laugh with this comment: Yes, I felt like I could be honest. I was a little hesitant on the first feedback map because it almost doesn’t feel real that we could provide honest feedback. It’s like when someone says you can wear jeans to work and you are hesitant to actually do so on your first day!

    I loved your analogy as well!

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