Learning and Working within a Learning Network

Military Families

The Military Families Learning Network thrives on a culture of dynamic collaboration and connected learning. We spend our days (and sometimes our nights) coordinating what may look like disparate resources, research, expertise, and emerging technologies to holistically support military family service professionals and the service members, families, and communities they serve. But this isn’t just a collaboration and learning model that works well for our constituents—it is how we as the core MFLN team operate daily.

What does this look like? Here are a few examples of items on our agendas for the next several months. Bob Bertsch, Terrence Wolfork, and Steve Judd (Network Literacy) are using their expertise to support Rachel Brauner (Military Caregiving) and Kacy Mixon (Family Development) in developing social media reach and engagement for these new concentration areas. Rachel, Kacy, and Molly Herndon (Personal Finance) are pooling their experiences with the National Association of Social Workers and the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning, and Education to develop a smooth process for granting continuing education units for webinar participants. Karen Jeannette (professional development coordinator) relentlessly pursues her own professional development in distance learning and nonprofit social networking while supporting and innovating the MFLN’s professional development offerings. Karen practices what she preaches, continually sharing her insights and experiences to help us all grow (yeah, she’s a master gardener, too).

Brigitte Scott (evaluator) and Anne Adrian (social media strategist) are holding bimonthly reflective discussion groups with Rachel, Kacy, Molly, Karen, Bob, and Steve to create ongoing and real-time action plans for continual network development and evaluation. We rely on Terry Meisenbach (communications and marketing guru) to keep us grounded in our mission to ensure MFLN professional development is accessible and meaningful while remaining distinctive and timely. Karen and Anne share social media expertise; Molly is a Moodle queen and sage social media specialist; Rachel puts together amazing marketing plans; Kacy is a blogging expert and seasoned writer; Steve, Terrence and Bob patiently coach us in all things tech-y; Brigitte helps us with continued improvement and supports the network’s evolving teaching and learning processes. Kyle Kostelecky (fearless leader) constantly engages with DoD and USDA partners to ensure our efforts are meeting their ongoing needs.

Why does all this matter? It allows us as a team to capitalize collectively on our diverse skills and experiences. And, because we as individuals value continual learning personally as well as professionally. And because, when we put into practice as a team what we advocate for as a learning network, it ensures the efficacy and relevance of the MFLN from the inside out.

What have we accomplished? We’re proud to show it all off in the following graphic, and look forward to sharing more at the National eXtension Conference in Sacramento. See you there!

MFLN Graphic_to 2014