18 Aug 2013

Why Slideshare is my second CPD tool

When it comes to online CPD, I have found that my own learning style is a lot more comfortable with flexible, informal and social learning than more structured programmes like elearning courses. At this stage I have probably signed up for 6 or 7 different MOOCs (some of which I am sure are excellent) but have never managed to get past the second week in any of them. This is not because I'm not interested in learning or I don't care about developing my skills, but rather I just find the format too restrictive; work and other things often get in the way, and once I fall behind it is all too easy to give up.

However, there are other more flexible tools out there that I find incredibly valuable for learning and CPD. Twitter is the obvious one, but Slideshare would definitely be my number 2. Firstly, it is a great source of inspiration for helping you create your own presentations for teaching or conferences. There are some exceptional examples on Slideshare that really show you how good Powerpoint can be when used correctly (here I will reference the many Prezi V Powerpoint debates I have had with librarians in the past :)).

However, it can even be a good idea to create a slidedeck on a topic that you are researching or upskilling in to cement and consolidate your own learning. I have found that putting together information in this format forces you to reflect on the key aspects in a much more active way than just passively consuming information from articles and other media. Also, by sharing it online you can help others too.

The archive of presentations on Slideshare is so extensive now that it includes a wealth of topics as well as many of the major LIS conferences. It makes a great source to dip in an out of for 'just in time' learning when you need a quick overview on a topic that you may not be very familiar with. The variety and richness in users' presentation styles also helps, and it can be interesting to compare and contrast two or more presentations on essentially the same topic.

Whilst tools like Slideshare are obviously no substitute for attending conferences in person, there are a couple of advantages. Firstly, you can just focus on the specific talks you are most interested in rather than the whole programme. This can be particularly useful for interdisciplinary conferences where some presentations may be less relevant. Secondly, a basic Slideshare account (which lets you do most things) is free, I have not yet upgraded to the Pro version in spite of being a regular user, so would be interested to hear from anyone who has, and if they think it is worth the investment.


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