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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Perspective in Blogs (or how Guy Kawasaki almost ruined my blogging experience)

The other day I ran across Guy Kawasaki's Signum sine tinnitu blog. I've always enjoyed Guy's speaking so I spent some time on his blog (really good stuff), but then I ran across The First 100 Days: Observations of a Nouveau Blogger where he says:
The more a blogger uses the pronoun “I,” the less he has to say. Many
bloggers apparently believe that people not only give a shiitake about
everything they say, but that these people are hanging on to every word.

If you notice my first paragraph (which is fairly standard in my blog) it contains four "I"s. Uh oh. So, for a couple of days, I've been self-conscious about the number of "I"s in my blog. My experience has been a little like an experience in college when a we challenged a student who used his hands a lot to try to go through our after dinner conversation sitting on his hands. He could barely get a thought out of his head.

Damn you Guy!

The good news is that I've been able to rationalize the word "I" in blogs. Much of what I look for in other writers' blog posts is their experience and their perspective/opinion. In fact, one CEO group that I was part of drilled into your head to never give advice directly, but rather provide relevant personal experience that might help you draw your own conclusion.

In fact, I'm happy to read Guy's opinion about using the word "I" ... and his experience that people like me who use it a lot may not have much to say ... Luckily, I've come to ignore this advice ... but that's just "I" (dang if only that was grammatically correct).

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

First Time Visitor Guide

Updated 12/03/2009 ... based on 2009 Top Posts and Topics
Update 12/03/2008 ... based on 2008 2009.

It can be daunting to visit a blog for the first time. The author(s) have been writing individual articles for months or years. This is my attempt to help you get a sense of topics of my blog and find some of the more interesting past articles.

Managing your RSS Feeds - If you are considering subscribing to this blog, you might want to read this.

Blog Description

This blog covers trends in eLearning and more broadly the use of technology that aims to improve human performance. This is fairly wide ranging from traditional courseware kinds of issues to specialized kinds of tools and sites. My background includes things like being the acting CTO of eHarmony (online marriage matching based on personality profiles and controlled communication) from its launch through their $110M venture round to working on interesting eLearning and tools for companies like Lexus, HP, IBM, etc. Thus, the blog has a tendency to jump into a wide range of technology types and solutions. I do generally focus from a corporate standpoint (not as much in the education realm). Of course, you'll get a better sense of this as you read through various post.


I write this blog because it helps me think through and learn about the topics I write about. Interacting with readers and other bloggers on these topics really helps to expand and/or clarify my thinking. What I want (and what most bloggers want) is for readers to engage with me. Please Leave Comment - they are very much welcome.

In fact why don't you start interacting right now by briefly introducing yourself in the comments below.

You could also engage with me via your blog and respond to Conversation Topics. I will do my best to respond to you and link to your blog. Of course, that assumes you've decided to blog. If you are still thinking about it, take a look at Top Ten Reasons To Blog and Top Ten Not to Blog.

You should also take an opportunity to link to me on LinkedIn. Read why in my post: LinkedIn Connection Approach Rethought. You might also want to look at my LinkedIn Guide for Knowledge Workers.


eLearning 2.0

Starting Point:

Practical Suggestions:

Informal Learning

Personal Learning
eLearning Trends

eLearning Resources

Learning Management Systems


Work Skills and Knowledge Work and Work Literacy


Long Tail

Other Popular Articles

Other Topic Pages

Managing your RSS Feeds

Coming back from my vacation, I realized that I needed to go through a clean up exercise again on my RSS feeds. It turned out to work pretty well for me this time around because I have been following the advice I've seen a couple of places:

My basic strategy is:

Quarantine Folders

I create a "Trying Out" folder for each three month span. Right now I have "Trying Out - Aug. 2006" and "Trying Out - Nov. 2006". When I find a blog that looks promising, I put it into the the farther out Quarantine folder. In other words, right now I'm adding blogs to "Trying Out - Nov. 2006". Blogs that I've collected over the last three months have accumulated in Trying Out - Aug. 2006.

Whenever I review an article that is good in one of the blogs in a Quarantine folder, I mark that article as "Keep New" (I use BlogLines).

When I reach the end of the month (end of August in this case) associated with the folder, I delete all the blogs that haven't produced at least a couple Keep New articles over that time. Sure, I fudge sometimes and give them another shot (move them to the next Quarantine folder).

Sort by Priority and Visibility (not by topic)

My other folders are organized into "My Front Page" - stuff that I want to read frequently (and this happens to also be listed in my blogroll on the right). And the other folders have stuff that I read (actually skim) when I have a chance (roughly every other week). They are organized into Technology and Education, but I've found over time that the content-based organization didn't really help me and any attempt to break it down more didn't help. Instead, it's purely, do I have time to go through and do some reading.

Scanning Feeds Folder

I also subscribe to a couple of specialized scanning feeds, e.g., citations to my blog, topics of interest, etc. These go in a special folder. I check these roughly every couple of days.

Other suggestions

There's an old adage among small business CEOs that you never hear - "I fired that person too early." Generally, the tendency is to hang onto poor performs far too long. Often there's a general sense of relief among all employees once the poor performer is gone and you often hear - "Why didn't we get rid of them a while ago."

The same is true of RSS feeds. I've not experienced a case where I got rid of a feed only to see it producing great stuff after I got rid of it. Sure, it had a great article that got me interested initially. But if it hasn't produced in three months, it's not been the case that it will produce again in a few more months. Plus, if it produces something really good, you'll find it through other blogs right?

Feeds from major publications that spit out lots of posts are not worth it. If they can't parse the content down and you aren't willing to put a filter on it yourself, then don't subscribe.

That's it. Pretty simple, but seems to work well for me.

Keywords: eLearning Resources

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Harold's PKM Process

Another great post by Harold Jarche - My PKM System. His picture is a great visualization of how I personally go about Personal Learning for Learning Professionals. It's worth looking at his picture. Also, Harold says that the tools don't matter that much - I would tend to agree. It's more the discipline. But I do like the full-text search of Yahoo MyWeb for finding past stuff.

Keywords: Personal Learning, Informal Learning

PKM and Personal Learning

Interesting post by Harold Jarche on PKM and Informal Learning. His sentiments echo much of what I've been saying around Course and Courseware Fading - The Future of eLearning and Improving Personal Learning - A Continuing Challenge for Learning Professionals. I'm looking forward to seeing more and more help emerge in how we can become better at our own learning so we can turn that around and help people in our organizations become better learners.

Web 2.0 and eLearning 2.0 Start-Up Guides

Updated 2/11/2008 -

Various start-up guides/introductions to Web 2.0, Learning 2.0 and eLearning 2.0:

Keywords: eLearning 2.0, Web 2.0

Monday, August 07, 2006

LMS Dissatisfaction on the Rise

LearningCircuits published their 2006 Survey of Learning Management Systems and one of the more interesting quotes says something about the answer to my prior question Do You WANT an LMS? Does a Learner WANT an LMS?... From the report:
Most notable, purchasers who were very satisfied with their LMS dropped
considerably in 2006, decreasing from 20.3 percent to 14.6 percent. Likewise,
purchasers who were very unsatisfied more than doubled from 3.1 percent in 2005
to 7.9 in 2006.

And this trend is likely to continue as we realize that registration, tracking and reporting (key features of an LMS) is often not something we are doing to help the learner and is especially not something we are doing to help the performer. It continues to feel like LMS Products are Two Generations Behind and that they are going to continue to make it such that Leading with an LMS - Harmful to Your Health.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Course and Courseware Fading - The Future of eLearning

Two very good recent posts by Jay Cross and Brent Schlenker discuss the Death of Courses. If you read my blog you know that I've discussed similar themes (see Shift in eLearning from Pure Courseware towards Reference Hybrids and Start with Courseware or With the Other Stuff?) and I have the same basic feeling that there is definitely a shift going on. It's not going to be overnight, but it will echo the shift we've seen from instructor-led training towards other delivery models.

Let's be clear. Courses and Courseware are not really dead and will never die out completely. There will always be the need for self-contained learning delivered in sequence. These will cover things like compliance training, basic skills, math, etc. I believe that many courses will begin to include different kinds of interation. Collaboration will be embraced more often and in new ways. But, there will still be courses at the end of the day.

However, if we fast-foward ten years and consider what the implications are if the course model is not the dominant model of what a workplace learning and performance function provides to the organization then it begs the question: what will replace this model? And as Brent asks: "How are the job, and skills, of the instructional designer changing (what you need to know in order to be a value add)?"

I think we are only just beginning to understand how to answer these questions (see Informal Learning - Let's Get Real). And as the delivery models and delivery patterns change, we will naturally see change.

So, rather than just helping to further ask the question, let me point to some things that I think contribute to the answer.

1. Learning How to Learn

I believe that the biggest challenge right now for all workplace learning and performance professionals is Improving Personal Learning - A Continuing Challenge for Learning Professionals. Until we become expert learners ourselves, it's hard to believe that we will be in position to be able to lead the charge.

2. Shift Towards Aggregation and Information Delivery

In the Future of ISD in a World of Read/Write Web, we will shift toward being aggregators who pull together information from various sources and provide context and meaning for that information.

3. Test New Kinds of Solutions

Use reference hybrids; move to the bottom right part of learning solutions; and avoid your LMS. By far, the easiest first step is to
Put down that authoring tool and pick up a Wiki
Why a Wiki? First, it's so dang easy to create and change content. And I'm not talking about having content created by the learners, I'm still assuming you are creating the content or pointing to other web pages and providing context for that information. Even better than the ease of use is that it gets you out of the Courseware mindset and into the information/support mindset. It will allow you to have your content emerge and change over time in ways that a linear course doesn't allow. It will be searchable and likely much more useful at the point of need. This is the lowest hanging fruit right now, today, ... do it ... no really, I mean it.

Keywords: eLearning Trends