How I Blog – Kevin Thorn

At this year’s DevLearn, we’re putting a spotlight on the power of blogging for learning via the DevLearn Bloggers program. We’ve invited members of the DevLearn Bloggers team to write a post exploring how they approach blogging, and how it enhances their personal learning.

In this post we hear from Kevin Thorn, Chief NuggetHead and Owner of NuggetHead Studioz, whose sketchnotes of what he’s learned at conferences are a unique resource to extend and revisit conference learning.

thornOn June 26, 2008 I entered the world of blogging. A little over seven years and 104 posts later, that equates to about 1.2 posts per month. In the big scheme of the blogosphere that number can be embarrassing as a self-proclaimed blogger, or respectable for actually sticking with it for that long.

I started blogging as way to journal my own work and a place to express thoughts. While I love to read, I’ve never been a good “writer” so I thought a blog would be a way to practice and generate a new habit. I still struggle with being a writer, but if you know me you know that I would much rather draw or sketch an idea or thought than actually write. In fact, I got in trouble once in the 5th grade for drawing my notes on a homework assignment and my punishment was to write 100 times, “I will not draw on my homework.” When I got home that afternoon my dad added 500 more times to that punishment. I saw this as an opportunity to practice drawing block letters and spent the evening at my little drawing table drawing the punishment phrase.

I never set out to light the interwebs on fire with my blog, rather like most, a place to jot down ideas, share thoughts, offer opinions, or teach. While most blogs focus on one or the other I’d like to think my blog is a learning blog – hence its original name, LearnNuggets. I joined Twitter about the same time with the same name, @learnnuggets and used both to share my world.

In the Learning & Development industry we are all inundated with a massive amount of information through various blogs from learning theories, design methodologies, visual design and creativity to the tools and technology to keep it all afloat. With an interest in all those areas I tend to wander in all those areas with my blog all over the place in terms of content. From a thought or opinion to promoting a workshop I’m teaching, or to a tutorial on how create something or sharing a project I worked on. Or, my favorite thing to write about is sketching and communicating visually. I know, writing about drawing is an oxymoron, right?

A few years ago this thing called “Sketchnoting” became popular. Yet it was something I had been doing most of my life but never tied a buzzword to the style. Following the rise of the trend and realizing how sketchnotes would benefit others, I started live sketchnoting conferences and sharing them or by blogging about how to sketch your own notes. I don’t recall the first time I live sketchnoted a conference keynote, but I do recall my most memorable – DevLearn 2014 with Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Tyson SketchDevLearn being the industry’s premiere annual conference & expo event, I’ll have a few sketchbooks and my trusty pen/pencil bag at the ready to record and share. I have a new sketch idea I want to explore this year, too. Can’t say yet, but follow @learnnuggets and the #DevLearn hashtag the week of the conference and you’ll see!

tyson signingI’m still inspired about my blog. Through blogging I’ve learned that while it started out intending to be a personal journal, the educational nature of the content has as much if not more value for your audience from what you share. As with most ventures, they will evolve over time and while I would not recommend setting your clock to my editorial calendar, the future of my blog will continue to be an array of everything I get myself into. In the end, I hope at a minimum it will inspire or educate others.

Want to share how you use your blog for learning and at conferences? Contact David Kelly to learn how to contribute to the “How I Blog” series.

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