Organising Modern Learning & Networking Events

IMG_3716Next public social online workshop runs: 1 – 26 August 2016

Although there is a focus on moving classroom training online, there is still a very good reason to offer in-person face to face events for knowledge building and sharing, collaborative problem solving and relationship building. It’s just they will look very different from traditional training!

This workshop looks at how to organise 4 different types of learning and networking events that use experiential, participative, collaborative and technology-supported approaches.

Week 1: World Cafes, Knowledge Cafes and Learning Cafes
Week 2: Innovation Workshops and Ideation Challenges
Week 3: Networking Events
Week 4: Unconferences and Open Space meetings

All participants will become automatic members of the MWL Association.

About this online workshop

This is not a traditional course, where I provide all the content and then test you on it! It is a social experience hosted in a private Yammer group. Each week you are invited to work on a practical activity and then share your thoughts and your work with the rest of the group.

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 organisation.

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 completely asynchronous – so is suitable for any timezone

Workshop fee

  • £99 – for payment by credit card or PayPal using the payment instructions below.
  • For payment by inter-bank transfer or invoice, contact Jane.Hart@C4LPT.co.uk for more information. Please note, this will incur admin fees, and full payment needs to be made in advance.

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



The wrong basis

Of late, I’ve been talking about the approach organizations take to learning.  It’s come up in presentations on learning design, measurement, and learning technology strategy.  And the point is simple: we’re not using the right basis.

What we’re supposed to be doing is empirically justifiable:

  • doing investigations into the problem
  • identifying the root cause
  • mapping back to an intervention design
  • determining how we’ll know the intervention is working
  • implementing our intervention
  • testing to see if we’ve achieved the necessary outcome
  • and revising until we do

Instead, what we see is what I’ve begun to refer to as ‘faith-based learning’: if we build a course, it is good!  We:

  • take orders for courses
  • document what the SME tells us
  • design a screen-friendly version of the associated content
  • and add a knowledge test

Which would be well and good except that this approach has a very low likelihood of affecting anything except perhaps our learners’ patience (and of course our available resources). Orders for courses have little relation to the real problems, SMEs can’t tell you what they actually do, content 0n a screen doesn’t mean learners know how to or will apply it, and a quiz isn’t likely to lead to any meaningful change in behavior (even if it is tarted up with racing cars).

The closer you are to the former, the better; the closer to the latter, the more likely it is that you’re quite literally wasting time and money.

Faith may not be a bad thing for spirituality, but it’s not a particularly good basis for attempting to develop new skills.  I’ve argued that learning design really is rocket science, and we should be taking an engineering approach.  To the extent we’re not – to the extent that we are implicitly accepting that a course is needed and that our linear processes are sufficient – we’re taking an approach that very much is based upon wishful thinking. And that’s not a good basis to run a business on.

It’s time to get serious about your learning.  It’s doable, with less effort than you may think.   And the alternative is really unjustifiable. So let’s get ourselves, and our industry, on a sound basis.  There’s a lot more we can do as well, but we can start by getting this part right.  Please?

‘Form’ing learning

Last week I ran a workshop for an online university that is working to improve it’s learning design.  Substantially.  They’re ramping up their staff abilities, and we’d talked about how I could help.  They have ‘content’, but wanted to improve the learning design around this.  While there are a number of steps to take (including how you work with SMEs, the details you attend to in your content, etc), their internal vocabulary talks about ‘knowledge checks’ and the goal was to do those better as they migrate existing courses to a new platform with a suite of assessment types.

So, first of all, my focus was on formative evaluation.  If we take activity-based learning seriously, we need to ensure that there are meaningful tasks set that can provide feedback.  They are fans of Make It Stick (mentioned in my Deeper eLearning reading list), so it was easy to help them recognize that good activities require learners retrieve the information in context, so each formative evaluation should be a situation requiring a decision.

Ok, so not every formative evaluation should be such a situation. But for things that need to be known by rote, I recommend tarted-up ‘drill and kill’. And it became clear, they’re fine at developing standard knowledge checks, it’s the more important ones that needed work.

I started out reviewing the principles, not least because they had a larger audience they wanted to appreciate the background being applied.  Then we moved on to more hands-on work.  First we worked through the different types of assessment types (moving from true/false to more complex assessments like ‘submit and compare’).  We then proceeded to review a first pass to understand the overall course requirements and likely important milestone assessments. We concluded by working through some examples of tough challenges (they’d submitted) and workshopping how to revise them.

There was more behind this, including my understanding more of their context and task, but overall it appeared to develop their understanding of how to take formative evaluation and turn it into an opportunity to truly develop learners in ways that will benefit them after the learning experience.

Of course, focusing on decisions was a key component, and we visited and revisited the issues of working with SMEs. This included getting contexts, and how exaggeration is your friend.  The result is that they’re much better equipped to develop ‘knowledge checks’ that go far beyond knowledge, and actually develop skills that are critical to success after graduation.

This is the type of thinking that organizations from K12 through higher ed and workplace learning (whether corporate, not-for-profit, or government) need to adopt if they’re going to move to learning experiences that actually develop meaningful new abilities.  It’s also about good objectives and more, but what the learner actually does, how they are required to use the knowledge, is critical to the outcome. So, are you ready to make learning that works?

100 Twitter accounts for Philomaths (Lovers of Learning)

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A philomath is a lover of learning.  A philomath is not synonymous with a polymath; a philomath is a seeker of knowledge and facts, while a polymath is a possessor of knowledge in multiple fields. (Wikipedia)

Here are 100 Twitter feeds to follow for philomaths, the curious and those who would like to improve their general knowledge – from both institutions and individuals – some with a twist and many that will bring you a daily dose of learning! Listed in alphabetical order, you probably won’t want to follow them ALL – but if you do, here is my ForPhilomaths Twitter list. Suggestions welcome for additions to the list. Please leave in the comments below.

  1. 100 years ago today@100YearsToday Remembering the people, places & happenings of this date 100 years ago.
  2. About.com@aboutdotcom We help people answer questions, solve problems, learn something new and get inspired.
  3. About World Languages@aboutworldlangs Providing information and cultural awareness about languages around the world
  4. Albert Einstein@AlbertEinstein  Official Twitter account of the World’s Favorite Genius.
  5. Art Daily@artdaily The First Art Newspaper on the Net
  6. Asap SCIENCE : @AsapSCIENCE Your daily dose of fascinating science.
  7. Astronomy News@astronomy The latest astronomy news, curated by the [Inside] team
  8. A Word A Day@Awad A daily newsletter about unusual words and their origins
  9. BBC iWonder@BBCiWonder Stories to make you think. From BBC TV, radio, online and beyond.
  10. Big Think@bigthink Get smarter, faster, for success in the knowledge economy
  11. Biography.com@Bio People. Nostalgia. History & Culture. Crime & Scandal
  12. Book Nerd@booknerdfession Confessions Of A Book Nerd!
  13. BrainCraft@Brain_Craft A web series exploring psychology, neuroscience and why we act the way we do.
  14. Brain Pickings@brainpickings This is the Brain Pickings bot – daily blog posts, automated
  15. British Pathe@BritishPathe The world’s finest collection of newsreels and cinemagazines.
  16. Curiosity@curiositydotcom Curiosity Makes You Smarter! Get informed with 5 new amazing topics, delivered daily.
  17. Daily Art@dailyartapp  serving espresso shot of art every day, straight to your phone – here also on Twitter.
  18. Daily Writing Tips@writing_tips Daily tips on grammar, spelling, punctuations, freelance writing and more!
  19. Daily Zen@dailyzen Enlighten yourself.
  20. Damn Interesting@DamnInteresting Legitimately fascinating true stories from history, science, and psychology.
  21. Did you know@Know Feed your brain with things to know
  22. Discovery@Discovery Grab life by the globe!
  23. Dose@dose Stories Worth Sharing
  24. Electric Literature@ElectricLit Saving literature one reader at a time:
  25. eHow@eHow Discover the expert in you.
  26. Fact : @Fact Interesting facts about the world we live in.
  27. Five Books : @five_books The best 5 books on everything
  28. Genius brain teasers@GBrainTeasers puzzles, riddles, mathematical problems, mastermind, music, word puzzles, stereograms, cinemania …
  29. Google Maps@googlemaps Photographic dispatches from Planet Earth.
  30. Google Facts@Google Facts Learn new things every day. When you doubt our facts, Google is your friend.
  31. Great Minds Quotes@greatestquotes A collection of quotes that will challenge, motivate and inspire you.
  32. Groovy Historian@GroovyHistorian All kinds of odd, old and fun historical facts (anything to do with history)
  33. Harvard Press : @Harvard_Press  Offering nonfiction in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.
  34. History in Pics: @HistoryInPics Sharing the most powerful and entertaining historical photographs ever taken.
  35. How stuff works@HowStuffWorks Find out how the world works.
  36. How things work@ThingsWork Satisfy your curiosity with amazing new perspectives on how things work.
  37. Hubble@NASA_Hubble The official Twitter account for the NASA Hubble Space Telescope.
  38. Inspirational Quotes@inspire_us The BEST Inspirational Quotes out there!
  39. Interesting Facts@neverknownfacts General Knowledge, Interesting Facts, Amazing facts, Latest facts. Known is a drop and Unknown is an Ocean.
  40. Internet Archive@internetarchive digital library offering access to millions of free books, movies, and audio files, plus an archive of 450+ billion web pages.
  41. Learn Everyday : @coolestlifehack Posting mind blowing information. Learn Something daily with us.
  42. Learning : @factsguide  The most unimportant things you’ll never need to know.
  43. Library of Congress@librarycongress World’s largest library
  44. Life Hacks@LifeHacks Daily hacks, tips and tricks to optimize your life!
  45. Life Hacks@TipsForYouDaily Life hacks, life tips, and information to help you organize your life and make it a breeze.
  46. List25@list25 Daily Top 25 Lists about science, animals, sports, politics, entertainment, humor, trends and more
  47. Listverse@listverse Ultimate Top 10 Lists
  48. Love Archeology : @lovearchaeology We Love Archaeology, History, Museums, Classics, & Archives!
  49. J. Paul Getty Museum @GettyMuseum : Seeks to inspire curiosity about, and enjoyment and understanding of, the visual arts.
  50. Maths History@mathshistory History of maths (math to some) tweets from the British Society for the History of Mathematics
  51. Mental floss@mental_floss Amazing facts from the people at Mental Floss magazine.
  52. Merriam-Webster@MerriamWebster Word of the Day, facts and observations on language, lookup trends, and wordplay from the editors at Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
  53. Mind Facts : @mindfacts Fascinating Facts About the Human Mind!
  54. Minute Earth@MinuteEarth Science and stories about our awesome planet.
  55. Minute Physics@minutephysics minute physics as soon as possible
  56. Missed in History@MissedinHistory Holly and Tracy splash around in the depths of history.
  57. Museum of Modern Art@MuseumModernArt Victor Samra & Gretchen Scott at the easel, for MOMA, New York
  58. National Book@nationalbook National Book Foundation, Presenter of the National Book Awards
  59. National Day Calendar@nationaldaycal Celebrate Every Day with National Day Calendar.
  60. National Geographic@NatGeo Since 1888, we’ve traveled the Earth, sharing its amazing stories with new generations.
  61. Numberphile@numberphile Loving the world of numbers…
  62. OMG Facts :  @OMG Facts Facts worth sharing
  63. One’s Knowledge : @Must_known Knowledge knocks on the door of action. If it receives a reply it stays, otherwise it departs.
  64. OnThisDay & Facts@NotableHistory Historical Pictures & other Interesting Facts….
  65. Oxford Academic@OUPAcademic Oxford University Press’s academic news and insights for the thinking world.
  66. Oxford Classics : @OWC_Oxford Bringing readers closer to the world’s greatest literature.
  67. Quick and Dirty Tips@quickdirtytips A podcast network & website helping you do things better. Tips on grammar, nutrition, fitness, health, psychology, productivity, money & more
  68. Quotes : @quotes Inspirational quotes from the world of books, history and popular culture.
  69. Philosophy Tweets@philosophytweet Philosophy Tweets — Be a Good Genius.
  70. Pubic Domain Review@PublicDomainRev Online journal and cabinet of curiosities dedicated to showcasing the most beautiful and unusual out-of-copyright works available on the web.
  71. Random Facts@factsandtrivia A collection of interesting facts and historical trivia about a variety of fun topics.
  72. Science Channel@ScienceChannel Thought-provoking updates, news, videos, and more from Science Channel.
  73. Science Daily@ScienceDaily Read breaking news about the latest discoveries in science, health, the environment, and technology.
  74. Seeker@Seeker We are all Seekers. We dare to act on our curiosity with an instinctual belief that wisdom is gained by experiencing, observing and exploring.
  75. Seeker Daily@seekerdaily A network for the young-at-mind where it’s cool to be smart and curiosity is the fuel
  76. Sketch Dailies@sketch_dailies Daily character inspiration posted before 11am PST.
  77. Smithsonian@smithsonian We’re not a museum. We’re 19 of them! (plus a zoo & 9 research centers)
  78. TED Talks@TEDTalks Ideas worth spreading.
  79. The British Library@britishlibrary Keep up to date with all the news from the British Library.
  80. The Nobel Prize@NobelPrize The official Twitter feed of the Nobel Prize
  81. The Ocean Portal@OceanPortal Join the Smithsonian Ocean Portal in exploring the ocean and its life.
  82. The OED@OED The Oxford English Dictionary is the definitive record of the English language, featuring 600,000 words, 3 million quotations, and over 1,000 years of English.
  83. The QI Elves @Qikipedia Quite Interesting bits and pieces from the mythical creatures behind BBC TV’s QI.
  84. The School of Life@TheSchoolOfLife We develop emotional intelligence through the help of culture
  85. The Quote@thequote Great quotes, verified, words of inspiration, words of wisdom, throughout the day, every day.
  86. Today I learned@TodayILearnd A Twitter feed of posts from /r/TodayILearned from reddit.
  87. Today in History@Yesterday_Today So, what happened on this day in the past?
  88. Today’s Document@TodaysDocument Today in History & Daily Historical Documents from the US National Archives.
  89. Treehugger@TreeHugger Links, Ideas and Conversation from the TreeHugger hive mind, the latest in modern green.
  90. Tweets of Old@TweetsofOld Real one-line brevities from old newspapers, as they appeared–or close.
  91. Uberfacts@Uberfacts The most unimportant things you’ll never need to know.
  92. Vocabulary@VocabularyCom Helps you learn new words, play games that improve your vocabulary, and explore language
  93. Weird Science@weird_sci Weird & Wonderful Science
  94. What the F*** Facts : @whattheffacts All (& only) things that make you say WTF.
  95. Wikipedia@Wikipedia The official Twitter account for the sum of all knowledge, Wikipedia.
  96. WIRED : @wired WIRED is where tomorrow is realized.
  97. Word of the Day@Word of the Day Expanding your vocabulary one word at a time.
  98. Wordspy@wordspy The word lover’s guide to new words.
  99. Words@selfamused All the words you didn’t know you needed.
  100. World Museum : @world_museum From Japanese Samurai armour to bugs galore, from ancient Egyptian mummies and dinosaurs, to outer space

‘Checking’ In

As a personal reflection, the value of checklists and forcing functions can definitely be understated.  As I mentioned, last week I went into the woods for a few days.  And while the trip didn’t live up to our plans, it was a great experience.  However, there was a particular gap that points out our cognitive limitations.

So, I have a backpacking checklist. And I look at it from time to time. What I didn’t do this time was check it before the trip.  And I found out once I got away from home was that I’d forgotten both my bandana and my towel!  Both are useful, and while I was able to purchase a bandana ($15! but it is microfiber and large, so I’ll keep using it), I had to do without the towel (which the bandana was a poor but necessary substitute for).

We often swim or wade in the river (and did this trip too), and a towel’s handy to get dry before the breeze chills you or the horseflies descend. The bandana, well it served as a sun cover, mosquito deterrent, towel (see above), and glasses wipe. Amongst others.

Let me add that I almost left on today’s overnite biz trip without my sleep clothes!  Fortunately, I had one of those middle-of-the-nite epiphanies, and remedied this morning.

And this just isn’t a consequence of advancing age (hey, I’m still [barely] < 60!).  It’s a natural consequence of our cognitive architecture, and we have well-established processes/tools to support these gaps.  These include checklists to help us remember things, and forcing functions whereby we place things in ways that it’s hard to forget things.

As a consequence, I’m going to do two things going forward. One is to make sure I do check my checklist. I’ll review it for comprehensiveness in the meantime, and have developed it in conjunction with another list from an experience colleague. I have another wilderness trip, and I’ll definitely check it beforehand.  Second, I’ve now put the bandana and a towel in my backpack. So I’d actually have to take it out to forget it!

Here’s to knowing, and applying, tools to help us overcome our cognitive deficits.  What are you doing to help not make mistakes?  And what could you do similarly for your learning design processes?

Web trust

I get asked to view a lot of things. And sometimes, particularly when there’s a potential tangible relationship, I will actually go visit sites. (BTW, I tend to avoid what comes unsolicited, and instead trust to what comes through my social network.) And one of my strategies often fails, and that, to me, is a warning sign.

When I go to sites (not from familiar companies, but new ones), one of the places I’m very likely to visit is the ‘About Us’ page or equivalent. There’s a reason I do that: I want to know something about who is behind this, and why. They’re linked, but separable.

There’re a couple of reasons to be clear about who’s behind this. One is for authenticity: is there someone willing to put their name to what this is and what it’s about?  And why them?  What background do they have that makes them credible to be the ones behind this endeavor?

And the why is about what motivates them? Are they doing this because of a passion, or because they think it’s a good business opportunity?  Either’s acceptable, but what you want is coherence between the people and what they’re doing.  Ideally, it’s a good story that links them.

There are sites that are clearly out to make money, and some that are out to meet a real need. There are some that have been created by folks who have an idea but not necessarily a clue, and then there are those created by those who should be doing it. And when you get both together, need and clue, you have a site you are willing to investigate further.

It may seem overly harsh or naive, and I’m sure someone could spin a good story and fool me (and has ;), but I think this is a good heuristic, a good reality check, on any site that’s looking to interact with others.  If my search fails to find the requisite information, my antennas start quivering, and my defenses go up.  A personal opinion, of course. Do you agree? Do you have other checks that you like better?  Eager to hear your thoughts.

Wild thinking

Our everyday lives are decreasingly connected to nature. We’re increasingly separated from the context we evolved in. Is that a good thing?

Yosemite National Park

Now, our relationship with nature hasn’t always been one of benevolent protection, as Roderick Nash has let us know. We lived dangerous lives until we developed the means to defend ourselves, and then the wilderness became an opportunity to expand and profit.  Now, however, with wilderness diminishing, and a growing awareness of the value of wildness for serendipitous diversity, we are beginning to view wilderness as a precious resource.

But are there reasons to consider wilderness benefits for our thinking and learning? The evidence appears to say yes. When we’re in wilderness with minimal risks, at least, the proximity to natural sounds and scenes seems to stimulate areas of the brain. It may take just a walk, or three days, but there are apparent benefits to heart and mind.

I’ve tried to get out in the wilderness at least once a year. I like to hike, and in particular to get backpacking, of late with trips to Yosemite National Park.  A friend/colleague/mentor has regularly organized these trips, and several of us will hike off with our tents, stoves, sleeping bags, water filters, bear cans, and everything else for 3-7 days and get above timber line, sweaty, dirty, and happy. It was on just such a trip where ‘Quinnovation‘ emerged as a branding!

I’ve taken the family, too, to share my love of the outdoors.  So, I’m off again, and we’ll see whether I come back charged with creativity (or just exhausted ;).  Happy trails!

The Inaugural Jay Cross Memorial Award winner is…

Reposted from the Internet Time Alliance website:

The Internet Time Alliance Jay Cross Memorial Award is presented to a workplace learning professional who has contributed in positive ways to the field of Real Learning and is reflective of Jay’s lifetime of work. Recipients champion workplace and social learning practices inside their organisation and/or on the wider stage. They share their work in public and often challenge conventional wisdom. The Jay Cross Memorial Award is given to professionals who continuously welcome challenges at the cutting edge of their expertise and are convincing and effective advocates of a humanistic approach to workplace learning and performance.

We are announcing this inaugural award on 5 July, Jay’s birthday. Following his death in November 2015, the partners of the Internet Time Alliance (Jane Hart, Harold Jarche, Charles Jennings, Clark Quinn) resolved to continue Jay’s work. Jay Cross was a deep thinker and a man of many talents, never resting on his past accomplishments, and this award is one way to keep pushing our professional fields and industries to find new and better ways to learn and work.

The Internet Time Alliance Jay Cross Memorial Award for 2016 is presented to Helen Blunden. Helen has been an independent practitioner at Activate Learning since 2014. Her vision is to help people stay current in a constantly changing world of work and do this by working and sharing their work and learning in a generous, open, and authentic manner. Helen started her career within the Royal Australian Navy across two branches (Training Development and Public Relations) as well as working within Service and external to Service (with Air Force and Army and Defence civilians), then with the Reserves. Helen later worked as a Learning and Development Consultant for Omni Asia Pacific, and subsequently with National Australia Bank as a Social Learning Consultant. Helen is an active blogger and is engaged professionally on various social media platforms.

Here is Helen in her own words: “In my observations, it’s not only learning teams in organisations or institutions that need to change and recreate the traditional ways of training into learning experiences. It’s wider than that. I have smaller businesses, some of whom are vendors who offer training products and services to the public or to organisations who are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to get ‘into the 21st century’ as their clients ask for more blended programs – shorter programs – but still achieve the same outcomes. Dare I say it, the tools that Jane Hart offers as tools for professional development are not for learning people alone – they’re for everyone. This is where I’m grappling to understand the enormity of the change and how, for the first time, you’re not only helping a client design and develop the learning experience – but you need to teach them how to use the tools so it becomes part of their social behaviour to build their own business, brand and reputation.”

Helen will be formally presented with the award in her home city of Melbourne by Simon Hann, CEO of DeakinPrime, the corporate education arm of Deakin University.

It is with great pleasure that the partners of the Internet Time Alliance present the first Jay Cross Memorial Award to Helen Blunden.

helenblunden

Inaugural Jay Cross Memorial Award

Reposted from the Internet Time Alliance website.

The Internet Time Alliance Jay Cross Memorial Award is presented to a workplace learning professional who has contributed in positive ways to the field of Real Learning and is reflective of Jay’s lifetime of work. Recipients champion workplace and social learning practices inside their organisation and/or on the wider stage. They share their work in public and often challenge conventional wisdom. The Jay Cross Memorial Award is given to professionals who continuously welcome challenges at the cutting edge of their expertise and are convincing and effective advocates of a humanistic approach to workplace learning and performance.

We are announcing this inaugural award on 5 July, Jay’s birthday. Following his death in November 2015, the partners of the Internet Time Alliance (Jane Hart, Harold Jarche, Charles Jennings, Clark Quinn) resolved to continue Jay's work. Jay Cross was a deep thinker and a man of many talents, never resting on his past accomplishments, and this award is one way to keep pushing our professional fields and industries to find new and better ways to learn and work.

The Internet Time Alliance Jay Cross Memorial Award for 2016 is presented to Helen Blunden. Helen has been an independent practitioner at Activate Learning since 2014. Her vision is to help people stay current in a constantly changing world of work and do this by working and sharing their work and learning in a generous, open, and authentic manner. Helen started her career within the Royal Australian Navy across two branches (Training Development and Public Relations) as well as working within Service and external to Service (with Air Force and Army and Defence civilians), then with the Reserves. Helen later worked as a Learning and Development Consultant for Omni Asia Pacific, and subsequently with National Australia Bank as a Social Learning Consultant. Helen is an active blogger and is engaged professionally on various social media platforms.

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Here is Helen in her own words, “In my observations, it’s not only learning teams in organisations or institutions that need to change and recreate the traditional ways of training into learning experiences. It’s wider than that. I have smaller businesses, some of whom are vendors who offer training products and services to the public or to organisations who are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to get ‘into the 21st century’ as their clients ask for more blended programs – shorter programs – but still achieve the same outcomes. Dare I say it, the tools that Jane Hart offers as tools for professional development are not for learning people alone – they’re for everyone. This is where I’m grappling to understand the enormity of the change and how, for the first time, you’re not only helping a client design and develop the learning experience – but you need to teach them how to use the tools so it becomes part of their social behaviour to build their own business, brand and reputation.”

Helen will be formally presented with the award in her home city of Melbourne by Simon Hann, CEO of DeakinPrime, the corporate education arm of Deakin University.

It is with great pleasure that the partners of the Internet Time Alliance present the first Jay Cross Memorial Award to Helen Blunden.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Inaugural Jay Cross Memorial Award goes to ….

Reposted from the Internet Time Alliance website.

The Internet Time Alliance Jay Cross Memorial Award is presented to a workplace learning professional who has contributed in positive ways to the field of Real Learning and is reflective of Jay’s lifetime of work. Recipients champion workplace and social learning practices inside their organisation and/or on the wider stage. They share their work in public and often challenge conventional wisdom. The Jay Cross Memorial Award is given to professionals who continuously welcome challenges at the cutting edge of their expertise and are convincing and effective advocates of a humanistic approach to workplace learning and performance.

We are announcing this inaugural award on 5 July, Jay’s birthday. Following his death in November 2015, the partners of the Internet Time Alliance (Jane Hart, Harold Jarche, Charles Jennings, Clark Quinn) resolved to continue Jay’s work. Jay Cross was a deep thinker and a man of many talents, never resting on his past accomplishments, and this award is one way to keep pushing our professional fields and industries to find new and better ways to learn and work.

The Internet Time Alliance Jay Cross Memorial Award for 2016 is presented to Helen Blunden. Helen has been an independent practitioner at Activate Learning since 2014. Her vision is to help people stay current in a constantly changing world of work and do this by working and sharing their work and learning in a generous, open, and authentic manner. Helen started her career within the Royal Australian Navy across two branches (Training Development and Public Relations) as well as working within Service and external to Service (with Air Force and Army and Defence civilians), then with the Reserves. Helen later worked as a Learning and Development Consultant for Omni Asia Pacific, and subsequently with National Australia Bank as a Social Learning Consultant. Helen is an active blogger and is engaged professionally on various social media platforms.

Here is Helen in her own words: “In my observations, it’s not only learning teams in organisations or institutions that need to change and recreate the traditional ways of training into learning experiences. It’s wider than that. I have smaller businesses, some of whom are vendors who offer training products and services to the public or to organisations who are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to get ‘into the 21st century’ as their clients ask for more blended programs – shorter programs – but still achieve the same outcomes. Dare I say it, the tools that Jane Hart offers as tools for professional development are not for learning people alone – they’re for everyone. This is where I’m grappling to understand the enormity of the change and how, for the first time, you’re not only helping a client design and develop the learning experience – but you need to teach them how to use the tools so it becomes part of their social behaviour to build their own business, brand and reputation.”

Helen will be formally presented with the award in her home city of Melbourne by Simon Hann, CEO of DeakinPrime, the corporate education arm of Deakin University.

It is with great pleasure that the partners of the Internet Time Alliance present the first Jay Cross Memorial Award to Helen Blunden.
helenblunden

What will be the Top Tools for Learning in 2016?

thumb-489549_640Voting is now underway in my popular annual survey of Learning Tools and already a large number of votes have been submitted.

This year, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the list, I will be producing a massive Top 200 Tools for Learning 2016.

Additionally, in order to understand how these tools are being used in different contexts, I will generate three separate lists.

  1. Top Tools for Education 2016 (tools for K-12, University, College & Adult Ed)
  2. Top Tools for Workplace Learning 2016 (tools for Training, Performance Support & Social Collaboration)
  3. Top Tools for Personal Learning & Productivity 2016 (tools selected for personal or professional use)

A learning tool is defined as any software or online tool or service that can be used for your own personal learning or for teaching or training.”

VOTING PAGE IS HERE
Voting closes Friday 30 September 2016.

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

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