My pick of the best posts of June 2016

Here are my favourite 10 posts from June 2016 taken from those I have shared on Twitter last month.

1 – We start with another great infographic from Arun Pradan: Work is Learning (how to burst the training bubble) – shown right – which summarizes a lot of the work from us in the Internet Time Alliance.

2 – In The Driving Test: the canary in the mine for formal training?, Charles Jennings compares learning to drive a car to other skills acquisition processes.

“We develop capability through experience, practice, and reflection (individual and shared) over time. Often this capability-building is carried out with others. At other times it is done alone. Sometimes we may be able to increase the speed of acquisition of skills, but simply making formal education experiences more compressed or concatenated or more ‘sexy’ with technology won’t necessarily improve outcomes. Formal education and testing isn’t the key to improving performance. It’s the ‘70’ and ‘20’ learning – learning in context with plenty of practice – that that has most impact.”

3 – In a similar vein, You Can’t Learn Everything from YouTube, Howard Tullman warns not to get the idea that all knowledge can be downloaded over a small screen and into your brain …

“In the real, grown-up world, we ultimately learn best by doing– first by listening; then by trying; and finally by succeeding and moving onward and upward.  And, interestingly enough, more and more of us are taking direct responsibility for this process and doing it ourselves (DIY). There are a variety of different reasons for the DIY approach. It could be because we’re cheap, or we’re impatient, or it’s because we want our ongoing “education” to be à la carte– when, where and how we want it. But whatever the drivers, it’s clear that today we’re totally engaged when we’re learning through “hands-on” activity and we’re totally turned off when we’re being lectured to. We all want to be in charge and in the driver’s seat.”

4 – Indeed, more and more professions are recognising the importance of informal and social learning, here it is nursing: Nurses should learn more ‘informally on the ward’  Professor Dewing sums it up

“It isn’t just about organising training, it should be about creating a dynamic learning environment with lots of different things happening for different people,” she said. “Leaders need to play an active role in making that happen.”

5 – But when it comes to planned learning, Michael Simmons explains, in Why Constant Learners All Embrace the 5-Hour Rule, how Benjamin Franklin did this 1 hour a day, 5 hours a week, and why you should do it too.

“Throughout Ben Franklin’s adult life, he consistently invested roughly an hour a day in deliberate learning. I call this Franklin’s five-hour rule: one hour a day on every weekday … Every time that Franklin took time out of his busy day to follow his five-hour rule and spend at least an hour learning, he accomplished less on that day. However, in the long run, it was arguably the best investment of his time he could have made.

6 – In What Are Your Employees Thinking? A Look Inside The Modern Workplace, Karsten Strauss reviews the PwC study which showed how employees in the modern workplace are feeling, what motivates them, what they feel is important and how they see their futures.  It produced some intrestng results, here are the headlines:

A third of workers are not satisfied.
Work flexibility is a key to contentment
Small businesses have happier employees
Women are less likely to rate themselves
as happy in their work
Employees have mixed feelings about breaking away from
larger organizations to work more independently

7 – Victor Lipman asks a good question, Why Do We Spend So Much Developing Senior Leaders and So Little Training New Managers?

“Most students of management agree that the transition from employee to manager is one of the most challenging in business. It brings new roles and responsibilities, new ways of looking at organizations, and new ways of relating to peers and multiple constituencies. Like many new managers, I floundered. I avoided conflict. I wasn’t firm enough when I should have been, and then I came on too strong to compensate for it. I was assisted largely by that great old teacher: trial and error. I made so many mistakes along the way that I can no longer remember the first 200 of them.”

In my view, it doesn’t require formal training, of course, but at least a supportive environment for new managers whether it be a coach, mentor or community of practice.

8 & 9 – In Organizational Learning Engineering, Clark Quinn produced a table representing just some of the tensions between what L&D (Old) practices and what we now know about learning (New) – see image left.

In a follow-up post, Tensions of Modern Learning, Harold Jarche appended these new practices with examples and elaborations taken from past posts, for example

Learning is a process

“Smart Work starts with an understanding of what is important for the 21st century workplace. It’s not content delivery. We are awash in content. Smart workers need ways to enhance their experience-performance-reflection processes, not have more information dumped into the pipeline. – http://jarche.com/2011/07/experience-performance-reflection/

10  – Finally, in this post, The smoke and mirrors of enterprise collaboration, Laurence Lock Lee explains why we are seeing such a serious mismatch between what the C-Suite is looking for in an Enterprise Social Network and what is currently being measured. He summarises clearly as follows

“By using analytics designed for media consumption and not collaboration, efforts to drive adoption are misplaced.”

This post reiterates a lot of my own writing: You can’t force participation and furthermore, activity does not equal engagement (or learning for that matter)!

Finally, here is a recap of my own posts in June 2016

Moving forward

So, I was chided that my last post was not helpful in moving people forward, as I was essentially being derogatory to those who weren’t applying the new understandings. And I’ve previously provided lots of ways to think anew about L&D, such as posts on the topics (both carrot and stick), pointed to readings that are relevant and can help, created a group to discuss the issues, and even written a book trying to point out the ways to move forward, so I’m not apologetic about also trying to point out the gaps (hey, let’s try all levers).  However, I’m happy to also weigh in positively as well.

The question may be where to start. And of course that will differ. Different organizations will have different starting situations, and contexts, that will mean a different approach will make sense for them.  But there are some overall guiding principles that will help.

One of the first steps is to move to a performance consulting approach. If you start talking to those who are requesting courses and start digging in deeper into the real problem, you’re likely to start investing in better solutions.  This is a relatively straightforward step that is a small change to what you’re doing and yet has the promise of both investing your resources in more relevant ways, and starting to demonstrate real contributions to organizational success.

Of course, your elearning should also start being serious.  We know what leads to effective learning, and we should be employing that deeper design. The nuances that make better learning aren’t obvious, but the details matter and distinguish between learning that has an impact and learning that doesn’t.

Another one is to start thinking about measurement. It’s been said before that “what’s measured, matters”, and this can and should be coupled with the aforementioned approach by looking for measurable improvements that come out of the performance conversation.

This naturally  means that the scope of operations also moves beyond just courses to performance support, but again that should be a small stretch from what is already being done: extending developing course content to also developing job aid content.

One other suggestion is to start looking at the culture picture.  While in the long term this should migrate to an organizational level concern, I suggest that it could and should start within the L&D organization.  L&D needs to start practicing those elements of valuing diversity and openness, making it safe to share, and experimenting as a precursor to taking it out.  The notion of starting small and scaling is a proven approach, and provides a chance to understand and leverage it as a basis for both internal improvement and to take it further.

It’s not easy.  But it’s doable, and desirable. There’re lots of ways to get help (hint hint), but it’s past time to get started.  Let’s get this going, and do it together. So, what barriers do you have and what questions can we assist with?

Moving forward

So, I was chided that my last post was not helpful in moving people forward, as I was essentially being derogatory to those who weren’t applying the new understandings. And I’ve previously provided lots of ways to think anew about L&D, such as posts on the topics (both carrot and stick), pointed to readings that are relevant and can help, created a group to discuss the issues, and even written a book trying to point out the ways to move forward, so I’m not apologetic about also trying to point out the gaps (hey, let’s try all levers).  However, I’m happy to also weigh in positively as well.

The question may be where to start. And of course that will differ. Different organizations will have different starting situations, and contexts, that will mean a different approach will make sense for them.  But there are some overall guiding principles that will help.

One of the first steps is to move to a performance consulting approach. If you start talking to those who are requesting courses and start digging in deeper into the real problem, you’re likely to start investing in better solutions.  This is a relatively straightforward step that is a small change to what you’re doing and yet has the promise of both investing your resources in more relevant ways, and starting to demonstrate real contributions to organizational success.

Of course, your elearning should also start being serious.  We know what leads to effective learning, and we should be employing that deeper design. The nuances that make better learning aren’t obvious, but the details matter and distinguish between learning that has an impact and learning that doesn’t.

Another one is to start thinking about measurement. It’s been said before that “what’s measured, matters”, and this can and should be coupled with the aforementioned approach by looking for measurable improvements that come out of the performance conversation.

This naturally  means that the scope of operations also moves beyond just courses to performance support, but again that should be a small stretch from what is already being done: extending developing course content to also developing job aid content.

One other suggestion is to start looking at the culture picture.  While in the long term this should migrate to an organizational level concern, I suggest that it could and should start within the L&D organization.  L&D needs to start practicing those elements of valuing diversity and openness, making it safe to share, and experimenting as a precursor to taking it out.  The notion of starting small and scaling is a proven approach, and provides a chance to understand and leverage it as a basis for both internal improvement and to take it further.

It’s not easy.  But it’s doable, and desirable. There’re lots of ways to get help (hint hint), but it’s past time to get started.  Let’s get this going, and do it together. So, what barriers do you have and what questions can we assist with?

Organizational Learning Engineering

Organizational learning processes – across L&D, Executive Development, Leadership Development, and more of the roles in HR and talent management – are largely still rooted in both industrial era models and myths. We see practices that don’t make sense, and we’re not aligned with what we now know about how we think, work, and learn. And this is a problem for organizational success. So what are some of the old practices compared with what we now know?  No surprise, I created a diagram (a table in this case) representing just some of the tensions:

OldNew2

I won’t elaborate on all of these, but I want to make two points.  The first is that I could’ve gone on; both in breadth and depth.  That is, each of these unpacks with many implications, and there are more ways organizations are not aligned with what’s know about how people work.  The second point is that there are known ways to address these problems.  Systemic ways to get the combined benefits of more effective output and more engaged people. Not surprisingly, treating people in ways that reflect their inner nature is more rewarding for them as well as more successful for the organization.

I’ve argued in the past that we should treat learning design seriously, with the depth of rocket science applied as a learning engineering. Similarly, we should be basing our organizational learning designs – our strategies, processes, and policies – on what’s known about people. That’s not being seen often enough.  It’s time for organizational learning to move into the information age, and start performing like professionals.  The action is at the coal face, not in the comfort zone. There’s good work to be done, and it’s time to do it.  Let’s go!

 

Language Learning – an Exemplar of a 70:20:10 Approach?

Ancient_Khmer_script_Petr_Ruzicka_CC_by_2.0

Humans are an incredibly inquisitive and extremely social species. The characteristics that helped us reach our dominant position on planet earth are intimately linked with our search for understanding and our social nature. These also drive our learning patterns. And our ability to learn continuously the way we do has underpinned our success and our creativity throughout history.

We are all life-long learners. There is no doubt about that - even more so than we may imagine. Recent research has demonstrated that we not only learn from cradle to grave but that we were all learning even as babies in the womb, too.

And the first thing we were learning was language.

The Amazing Phenomenon of Language Learning

Children usually learn to speak their parents’ or social group’s native language relatively easily. The experts tell us that our brains are naturally ‘wired’ to assimilate sounds and create meaning. The more we’re exposed to words and sounds the more likely we are to absorb and remember them. So most children develop effective verbal communication skills early in life.

But language learning has some very specific characteristics, including the fact that we all started this aspect of our learning journeys not at birth, but before we were born.

In one piece of recent research into language learning carried out by professor Christine Moon at the Pacific Lutheran University, Washington State USA, and her colleagues in institutions in Sweden, the researchers tested the different responses of unborn babies to vowel sounds of their mothers’ native tongue and to those of other languages. The babies responded differently when they heard the vowels of their mother’s language spoken. The research demonstrated that “unborn babies have the capacity to learn and remember elementary sounds of their language from their mother during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy”.

Another research project by cognitive neuroscientist Eino Partanen at the University of Helsinki showed that babies retain memories of sounds they have heard before birth. Partanen and his team fitted newborn babies with EEG sensors to look for neural traces of memories from the womb. "Once we learn a sound, if it's repeated to us often enough, we form a memory of it, which is activated when we hear the sound again," he explained. This memory speeds up recognition of sounds in the learner's native language and can be detected as a pattern of brain waves, even in a sleeping baby.

So what do these extraordinary insights, and others like them, tell us about learning in general?

Language Learning and 70:20:10

'RIP Steve Jobs' by Alec Couros. Licenced under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0All of the above research reinforces the fact that language learning seems to be an exemplar of the 70:20:10 approach.

Learning to speak a language is a continuous process and not just as part of a series of structured learning ‘events’. This becomes apparent if ever you’ve joined a language class as an adult. Without a lot of work outside the classroom you’ll never gain proficiency.

We learn language primarily through social interaction and experimenting (the ‘20’ and ‘70’).  Language learning is also integrally entwined in everyday living. We learn because it’s natural for humans to want to get better and to hone our skills. As Daniel Pink observed in his book ‘Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’, humans are ‘purpose machines’.

In all other respects, apart from its extremely early starting point, learning a language is very much like learning almost anything else. We do it to address a need. We achieve our learning through exposure to new experiences (sounds and other stimuli in the case of language learning), through taking every opportunity we can to practice (just observe a baby’s efforts to learn), through learning together with others (our parents,siblings and friends in the case of language learning), and by using reflective practice smartly.

Added to these fundamental principles there are some others that come into play. We have to possess a need and desire to learn (the ‘drive’).  And we need to understand the consequences of not learning. If you’ve ever found yourself in a foreign town or city you’ll know the consequences of not learning even some basic vocabulary. So we stretch ourselves and, where necessary, draw on help and look for resources to enable us to communicate better.  Morgan McCall (who’s 1988 book with Michael Lombardo and Ann Morrison ‘The Lessons of Experience: How Successful Executives Develop On The Job’ explored the ‘70’ and ‘20’ elements of learning) explained these principles clearly in this 3-minute video clip.

Starting with the ‘70’ and ‘20

The 70:20:10 framework helps extend our focus on where and how learning occurs. It isn’t a new interface for traditional training, nor a new learning theory. It is a reference model that describes the way people tend to learn.

One of the key elements of 70:20:10 is the principal that the learning which is most likely to be effective, and the learning that lasts, is the learning that occurs closest to the point of use. This is a simple principle, but a challenging one for many L&D professionals.

If we think about language learning, it is almost inconceivable that someone could learn a language without using it extensively (the ’70’) as part of the learning process and also continually learning from others who use it around them (the ‘20’). Of course some structured learning (the ‘10’) is extremely helpful to get started and also to provide some guidance along the way, but structured training in language learning, or in any other domain, will not alone produce high performance. 

High performance in language ability and in other fields is almost invariably associated with five common characteristics.

Five Characteristics of High Performers

High performers are often fast learners. They usually display the following characteristics:

1. They tend to quickly master the basics. Usually, but not always, using some structured support.  (this is the ‘10’ part)

2. High performers have usually spent hundreds of hours in practice, with trial-and-error, and often self-testing to hone their new abilities. Again, this is often in a structured way (the ’10’), but also through self-directed activities and with colleagues, coaches or using technology to provide feedback and guidance (this is the ‘70’ and ‘20’).

3. High performers are invariably embedded in their professional communities both within and outside their organisation. They regularly share their expertise across their network and also call on others when they need advice and help. (this is part of the ‘20’)

4. High performers will have on-the-job performance support at fingertips. They know where to find the answers to the challenges-at-hand, whether the solution comes via their own PKM (personal knowledge mastery) systems, workplace resources, other tools and systems (the ‘70’) or simply by knowing who will be best able to help them (the ‘20’). 

5. All high performers will have been exposed to many hours of experience, practice and reflection, sometimes alone, sometimes with their manager and team, and sometimes with their professional network (more ‘70’ and ‘20’ learning)

The Right Mindset

High performance also goes hand-in-hand with growth and development mindsets. The belief that learning is an important part of everything we do is a critical element in reaching high performance.

Having a mindset that focuses on striving to do better, whether it’s in language learning or any other endeavour, is critical to achieve mastery and, especially, maintain it.

Images:  Ancient Khmer Script. Petr Ruzick. CC by 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/80808717@N00/538287056
              'RIP Steve Jobs' by Alec Couros. Licenced under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Posted in Uncategorized

Ambiguity Denial Syndrome?

I was talking with a colleague at an event one of the past weeks, and I noted down the concept of ambiguity denial syndrome. And I’m retrospectively making up what we were talking about, but it’s an interesting idea to me.

FractalSo one of the ways I start out a talk (including later today for a government agency) is to talk about chaos. I use a fractal, and talk about the properties a fractal has.  You know, that it’s a mathematical formulation that paints an image from which patterns emerge, yet at any point you really don’t know where it’s going to go next.

I use this to explain how our old beliefs in an ability to plan, prepare, and execute were somewhat misguided.  What we did was explain away the few times it didn’t work. But as things move faster, the fact that things are not quite as certain as we’d believe means we have to become more agile, because we can less tolerate the mistakes.

The point I’m making, that the world increasingly requires an ability to deal with ambiguity and unique situations. And our learning designs, and organization designs, and our cultures, need to recognize this. And yet, in so many ways, they don’t.

At the individual level, we’re not equipping folks with the right tools. We should be providing them with models to use to interpret and adapt to situations (explain and predict). Our learning designs should have them dealing with a wide variety and degrees of certainty in situations.  And we should be testing and refining them, recognizing that learners aren’t as predictable as concrete or steel.  Instead we see one-shot development of information dumps and knowledge tests, which aren’t going to help organizations.

At the interpersonal level, we should be facilitating people to engage productively, facilitating the development of viable processes for working and learning together. We know that the room is smarter than the smartest person in the room (if we manage the process right), and that we’ll get the best results when we empower people and support their success. We need them working out loud, communicating and collaborating, to get the best. Instead, we still see top-down hierarchies and solo work.

In short, we see people denying the increasing complexity that the world is showing us.  Implicitly or explicitly, it’s clear that many folks believe that they can, and must, control things, instead of looking to adapt on the fly.  We have new organizational models for this, and yet we’re not even seeing the exploration yet.  I acknowledge that change is hard, and navigating it successfully is a challenge. But we have lots of guidance here too.

Too many processes I see reflect industrial age thinking, and we’re in an information age. We have greater capacity amongst our people, and greater challenges to address, with less tolerance for mistakes.  We need to address, even embrace ambiguity, if we are to thrive. Because we can, and we should.  It’s the only sensible way to move forward in this increasingly complex world. So, are you ready?

eLearning Process Survey results!

So, a few weeks ago I ran a survey asking about elearning processes*, and it’s time to look at the results (I’ve closed it).  eLearning process is something I’m suggesting is ripe for change, and I thought it appropriate to see what people thoughts.  Some caveats: it’s self-selected, it’s limited (23 respondents), and it’s arguably readers of this blog or the other folks who pointed to it, so it’s a select group.  With those caveats, what did we see?

SQ1The first question was looking at how we align our efforts with business needs. The alternatives were ‘providing what’s asked for’ (e.g. taking orders), ‘getting from SMEs’, and ‘using a process’.  These are clearly in ascending order of appropriateness. Order taking doesn’t allow for seeing if a course is needed and SMEs can’t tell you what they actually do. Creating a process to ensure a course is the best solution (as opposed to a job aid or going to the network), and then getting the real performance needs (by triangulating), is optimal.  What we see, however, is that only a bit more than 20% are actually getting this right from the get-go, and almost 80% are failing at one of the two points along the way.

SQ2The second question was asking about how the assessments were aligned with the need. The options ranged from ‘developing from good sources’, thru ‘we test knowledge’ and ‘they have to get it right’ to ‘sufficient spaced contextualized practice’, e.g. ’til they can’t get it wrong.  The clear need, if we’re bothering to develop learning, is to ensure that they can do it at the end.  Doing it ‘until they get it right’ isn’t sufficient to develop a new ability to do. And, we see more than 40% are focusing on using the existing content! Now, the alternatives were not totally orthogonal (e.g. you could have the first response and any of the others), so interpreting this is somewhat problematic.  I assumed  people would know to choose the lowest option in the list if they could, and I don’t know that (flaw in the survey design).  Still it’s pleasing to see that almost 30% are doing sufficient practice, but that’s only a wee bit ahead of those who say they’re just testing knowledge!  So it’s still a concern.

SQ3The third question was looking at the feedback provided. The options included ‘right or wrong’, ‘provides the right answer’, and ‘indication for each wrong answer’.  I’ve been railing against one piece of feedback for all the wrong answers for years now, and it’s important. The alternatives to the wrong answer shouldn’t be random, but instead should represent the ways learners typically get it wrong (based upon misconceptions).  It’s nice (and I admit somewhat surprising) that almost 40% are actually providing feedback that addresses each wrong answer. That’s a very positive outcome.  However, that it’s not even half is still kind of concerning.

SQ4The fourth question digs into the issue of examples.  There are nuances of details about examples, and here I was picking up on a few of these. The options ranged from ‘having’, thru ‘coming from SMEs’ and ‘illustrate the concept and context’, to ‘showing the underlying thinking’.  Again, obviously the latter is the best.  It turns out that experts don’t typically show the underlying cognition, and yet it’s really valuable for the learning. We see that we are getting the link of concept to context clear, and together with showing thinking we’re nabbing roughly 70% of the examples, so that’s a positive sign.

SQ5The fifth question asks about concepts.  Concepts are (or should be) the models that guide performance in the contexts seen across examples and practice (and the basis for the aforementioned feedback). The alternatives ranged from ‘using good content’ and ‘working with SMEs’ to ‘determining the underlying model’.  It’s the latter that is indicated as the basis for making better decisions, going forward.  (I suggest that what will helps orgs is not the ability to receive knowledge, but to make better decisions.)  And we see over 30% going to those models, but still a high percentage still taking the presentations from the SMEs. Which isn’t totally inappropriate, as they do have access to what they learned. I’m somewhat concerned overall that much of ID seems to talk about practice and ‘content’, lumping intros and concepts and examples and closing all together into the latter (without suitable differentiation), so this was better than expected.

SQ6The sixth question tapped into the emotional side of learning, engagement. The options were ‘giving learners what they need’, ‘a good look’, ‘gamification’, and ‘tapping into intrinsic motivation’.  I’ve been a big proponent of intrinsic motivation (heck, I effectively wrote a book on it ;), and not gamification. I think an appealing visual design, but just ‘giving them what they need’ isn’t sufficient for novices: they need the emotional component too. For practitioners, of course, not so much.  I’m pleased that no one talked about gamification (yet the success of companies that sell ‘tart up’ templates suggests that this isn’t the norm). Still, more than a third are going to the intrinsic motivation, which is heartening. There’s a ways to go, but some folks are hearing the message.

SQ7The last question gets into measurement.  We should be evaluating what we do. Ideally, we start from a business metric we need to address and work backward. That’s typically not seen. The questions basically covered the Kirkpatrick model, working from ‘smile sheets’, through’ testing after the learning experience’ and ‘checking changes in workplace behavior’ to ‘tuning until impacting org  metrics’.  I was pleasantly surprised to see over a third doing the latter, and my results don’t parallel what I’ve seen elsewhere. I’m dismayed, of course, that over 20% are still just asking learners, which we know in general isn’t of particular use.

This was a set of questions deliberately digging into areas where I think elearning falls down, and (at least with this group of respondents), it’s not good as I’d hope, but not as bad as I feared.  Still, I’d suggest there’s room for improvement, given the constraints above about who the likely respondents are.  It’s not a representative sample, I’d suspect.

Clearly, there are ways to do well, but it’s not trivial. I’m arguing that we can do good elearning without breaking the bank, but it requires an understanding of the inflection points of the design process where small changes can yield important results. And it requires an understanding of the deeper elements to develop the necessary tools and support. I have been working with several organizations to make these improvements, but it’s well past time to get serious about learning, and start having a real impact.

So over to you: do you see this as a realistic assessment of where we are? And do you take the overall results as indicating a healthy industry, or an industry that needs to go beyond haphazard approaches and start practicing Learning Engineering?

*And, let me say, thanks very much to those respondents who bothered to take the time to respond.  It was quick, but still, the effort was completely appreciated.

 

Designing Learning Campaigns and Learning Challenges

jigsaw-305576_640Next public online workshop runs: 4 – 29 JULY 2016

Many believe that traditional classroom training as well as “click-next” e-learning courses are both ineffective and unappealing. Learning Campaigns and Learning Challenges are two new approaches to training that take place over an extended period of time and involve a mix of resources and/or real-world activities.

In this four week workshop we will look at the different aspects of planning, designing and running a learning campaign or challenge, and you will have the opportunity to start the design of your own challenge or campaign, and share it with the other participants.

  • Week 1: Understanding the differences and similarities between learning campaigns and challenges, and how to plan one
  • Week 2: How to design a learning campaign or challenge
  • Week 3: How to run a learning campaign or challenge
  • Week 4: Showcase your own campaign or challenge

All participants will receive a free copy of the PDF version of the MWL book and membership of the MWL Association.

About this workshop

  1. This is not a traditional course, where I provide all the content and then test you on it – this is a (social) learning challenge, and it is hosted in a private Yammer group.
  2. Nothing is compulsory, but you will find that the more you “work out loud” with the other participants, the more you will get out of the workshop. Even showing “raw” examples of your work is valuable for others to see, it doesn’t have to be a perfect product. And of course, it is also helpful to comment on each others work as well as consider how their ideas might work within your own organization.
  3. You will probably want to commit a couple of hours a week for this workshop, but once again it is up to you how much time you devote to it, and also when you do the work. The workshop is totally asynchronous.

Feedback

“Thank you so much Jane for facilitating this. I have learned so much from you and the other participants. I look forward to implementing these great ideas at my company and feel inspired!”

Workshop fee

  • £99 for payment by credit card or PayPal. Please use the payment instructions below
  • £129 for payment by inter-bank transfer. Contact Jane.Hart@C4LPT.co.uk for more information

Payment instructions

Click on the Buy Now button below, and you will be taken to a page at the PayPal site to pay.

  • Select the number of participants, and click Update to generate the new payment amount.
  • You can pay in two ways:
    • By credit card: select Pay with a debit or credit card in the right-hand column, and complete the form with your credit card details. You can also print a receipt here too. Note: our merchant name is Tesserae Ltd, and this is the name that will appear on your credit card statement.
    • By PayPal: enter your PayPal details in the box shown.
  • Where there is more than one participant, please provide the name and email address of each participant in the space provided.
  • Click Return to Tesserae Ltd to return to this site.
  • You will then receive an email from us with your joining details.
  • If you do not receive the email within 24 hours, please contact jane.hart@c4lpt.co.uk



John Black #ICELW Keynote Mindmap

Professor John Black of Columbia Unveristy gave a fascinating talk about how games can leverage “embodied cognition” to achieve deeper learning. The notion is that by physical enaction, you get richer activation, and sponsor deeper learning.  It obviously triggered lots of thoughts (mine are the ones in the bubbles :). Lots to ponder.

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What’s Your Learning Tool Stack?

I woke up this morning thinking about the tools we use at various levels.  Yeah, my life is exciting ;).  Seriously, this is important, as the tools we use and provide through the organization impact the effectiveness with which people can work. And lately, I’ve been hearing the question about “what’s your <x> stack” [x|x=’design’, ‘development’, …].  What this represents is people talking about the tools they use to do their jobs, and I reckon it’s important for us to talk about tools for learning.  You can see the results of Jane Hart’s annual survey, but I’m carving it up into a finer granularity, because I think it changes depending on the ‘level’ at which you’re working, ala the Coherent Organization.  So, of course, I created a diagram.

Learning stack: personal, team, community, organizationWhat we’re talking about here, starting at the bottom, are the tools you personally use for learning. Or, of course, the ones others use in your org. So this is how you represent your own understandings, and manipulate information, for your own purposes.  For many people in organizations, this is likely to include the MS Office Suite, e.g. Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Maybe OneNote?  For me, it’s Word for writing, OmniGraffle for diagramming (as this one was created in), WordPress for this blog (my thinking out loud; it is for me, at least in the first instance), and a suite of note taking software (depending on type of notes) and personal productivity.

From there, we talk about team tools. These are to manage communication and information sharing between teams.  This can be email, but increasingly we’re seeing dedicated shared tools being supported, like Slack, that support creating groups, and archive discussions and files.  Collaborative documents are a really valuable tool here so you’re not sending around email (though I’m doing that with one team right now, but it’s only back forth, not coordinating between multiple people, at least on my end!). Instead, I coordinate with one group with Slack, a couple others with Skype and email, and am using Google Docs and email with another.

From there we move up to the community level. Here the need is to develop, refine, and share best principles. So the need is for tools that support shared representations.  Communities are large, so we need to start having subgroups, and profiles become important. The organization’s ESN may support this, though (and probably unfortunately) many business units have their own tools. And we should be connecting with colleagues in other organizations, so we might be using society-provided platforms or leverage LinkedIn groups.  There’s also probably a need to save community-specific resources like documents and job aids, so there may be a portal function as well. Certainly ongoing discussions are supported.  Personally, without my own org, I tap into external communities using tools like LinkedIn groups (there’s one for the L&D Revolution, BTW!), and Facebook (mostly friends, but some from our own field).

Finally, we get to the org level. Here we (should) see organization wide Enterprise Social Networks like Jive and Yammer, etc. Also enterprise wide portal tools like Sharepoint.  Personally, I work with colleagues using Socialcast in one instance, and Skype with another (tho’ Skype really isn’t a full solution).

So, this is a preliminary cut to show my thinking at inception.  What have I forgotten?  What’s your learning stack?

The Evolution of Workplace Learning in a SlideShare Timeline

janespeaking

Jane talking about informal learning at the e-Learning Innovations Symposium held at George Mason University, Washington in June 2012

I am often asked about the keynotes, presentations and workshops I give at different events around the world – either in person or online. Wherever possible I upload them to SlideShare, so that others can benefit from them too – although as I try to avoid lots of text on the slides themselves, this means it is sometimes difficult to understand them without the context.

Embedded below is the SlideShelf of the slidesets I have shared – 78 presentations that go back 8 years. It is interesting to see that 7 years ago I was talking about social media to support learning and performance, and this topic has only recently become popular in mainstream L&D! I wonder how long it will be before what I am talking about nowadays – how to broaden the scope and breadth of L&D not just to organise learning interventions but to support all the ways we learn at work – will become commonplace. Want to find out more about my speaking engagements?

Soraya Darabi #FocusOnLearn Keynote Mindmap

Soraya Dorabi opened the second day of the FocusOn Learning conference with a presentation on how data is changing learning and performance. Hampered by technology hiccups, Soraya talked about the ways in which all digital platforms generate data and how that data could be leveraged to support personalized education. She also raised the issue of the ethical entailments.

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Scott Dadich #FocusOnLearn Keynote Mindmap

Scott Dadich, editor-in-chief at Wired, opened the eLearning Guild’s FocusOn Learning conference with a keynote on Designing the Future. He presented three meta-narratives – stories that emerge and transcend an individual article – that he said define the future. Transportation is being fundamentally being transformed by applying network thinking. Virtual reality is growing, but the disappearance of the ‘device’ can transform our experience of presence. And machine learning means we may not comprehend the intelligent behavior that emerges.  Interesting stuff!

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The 3 Social Media Things You Ought to Avoid

At least, that is, with me. Frankly, I wonder if you even bothered to read this after a title like that! Or at least are highly suspicious at this point. It (should) be just the type of thing you would not expect from me. And there’s a reason for that. There are 3 egregious social media things you shouldn’t do, and the title is related to one of them.

As context, because of this blog, I get occasional emails offering to write guest posts for me. Now, these aren’t really learning folks, these are marketing folks who would want to put  in links to their site.  This used to happen a lot, so much so I even wrote a post about it.  And I point people to it when they get it (for a number of certain types of requests I’ve made up canned responses I just cut and paste).

So I just got one, and it was nice, because it actually listed the company, pointed to examples of their work, and listed some sample titles.  However, the titles just didn’t sound like me:

The Four Social Media Perversions You Should Capitalize On

7 Tips to Clickbait That Will Guarantee Results

Posts That Generate Revenue: Using the Words You Can’t Say On Television

(Ok, I’m exaggerating a wee bit :).  However, this leads to the first thing to avoid:

1. Don’t offer guest posts that don’t match the tenor of the blog

Now the second case is implied by a bit of the above. Recently I’ve gotten requests about placing links that are much more, er, mysterious. To paraphrase: I work for a client that works in a related area and I’ve written lots of posts and I’d like to do some for you, and there might even be a small bit of money available.  Read: I’m too ashamed to admit who I work for, I won’t show you an example of my work, and I’ll try to entice you with a mention of money.  Somehow these folks haven’t heard about what builds trust on the net (hint: it’s spelled ‘transparency’).  So:

2. Don’t give  vague offers with unsubstantiated particulars

I’m more susceptible to people who actually do inquire what it would take to place an ad, but so far I haven’t gone there (I once asked and folks seemed to prefer it without).

Along with this, there are always people who want to show me their product (because it’s in my space) and give them my feedback.  That is, they want me to give them my years of expertise for free. On top of that, they need enough of my time to present their product first.  My response is always “I talk ideas for free, I help someone personally for drinks/dinner*, but if someone’s making a quid, I get a cut”. The point being, I’m not giving my free time and expert opinion (hey, that’s how I feed the family). I’ll offer them my services, and a time or two that’s actually happened. But mostly they plead poverty and move on.

This is a well-known problem. There are other examples as well: “can I pick your brain”, offers of ‘exposure’ in return for speaking, and it’s not on. In fact, it’s ripe for parody.  Thus:

3. Don’t try to get free work

There’re more, I’m sure, but these seem to be the most frequent. It’s really bad social media behavior. If you want something, tell me what it is, and make the value proposition clear.

And let’s be clear: there are offers I do take up, but these are clear about what is required as well as the benefit is to me as well as to them, and I can make a conscious evaluation.

So please, feel free to hire me, but don’t expect me to work for free. Fair enough?

(*Sometimes I just request they pay it forward, if they’re a young person, since I benefited so much from intellectual generosity when I was a neophyte.)

1,000+ Learning & Performance Tools

Looking for some new ideas for tools to support your work? Here are the links to the pages in my Directory of Learning & Performance Tools, which lists over 1,000 tools  in 4 main categories as shown below.

Want to add or amend a tool’s details? You can do so here.

What are your favourite tools for learning? Voting is now open in this year’s Top Tools for Learning survey. Please share your own.

INSTRUCTIONAL TOOLS


CONTENT TOOLS

SOCIAL TOOLS


PERSONAL TOOLS