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Monday, March 31, 2008

Indicator of Valuable Content

I saw a post by Christy Tucker that pointed me to a feature in Diigo - their site community. It feels like a combination of and MyBlogLog. The nice part is that you can see it for every site - even if the site owner hasn't done anything. So, I was able to look at the eLearning Technology's Site Community.

While it shows me something about the people, what I found really compelling was looking at the Popular tab which gives a pretty good indication of what the best content is on my site. Christy sited on of my old posts An Aha Moment - as Indicator of Valuable Content - Importantly My Content.

I still think this is a good indicator and the Diigo popular tab on my site community seemed like a pretty good list of what the most compelling content was on my blog.

This is a really neat feature and I'd guess that given a couple of widgets, Diigo is going to get some traction.

Life is Mostly an Open Book Test

There has been wonderful discussion with a few folks around my post: Life is an Open Book Test. The most recent was a comment by Bill Brantley who generally agreed, but added:
In Boy Scouts, I use to teach wilderness survival which required a lot of memorization. You couldn't count on having the Boy Scout Manual with you during a survival situation so I had the students memorize what plants were edible, different ways to purify water, and first aid techniques.

So, life can be an open book test or a closed book test depending on the situation.
So, he made me go back and change my slide to say Life is MOSTLY an Open Book Test.

Of course, that's really more in line with I'm really saying - it's all about anticipated information needs. The right answer depends on where and when you need the information and what your expectation is around what you have available. What's changed is that we more often have some kind of computer probably with web access which gives us access to a ton of information and people - that definitely changes the thinking about what you have to have in your head.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Life is an Open Book Test

I just typed "Life is an Open Book Test" when I was working on part of my ASTD 2008 presentation. I did a quick search on this phrase and found only 52 occurrences. There doesn't appear to be a well known initial quote source. Or am I missing it?

By the way, have I mentioned that I'm feeling really good about this presentation? I have 90 minutes and I think I'm going to blow some minds, change a few lives, its going to be fun. If I can figure out how to shorten it, I think I have a presentation that's going to be a great keynote.

Anyhow, back to Life is an Open Book Test ...

I start this part of the presentation by asking the question:

What's more valuable?

1. A Phone Number kept in your Long-term Memory?
2. A Phone Number kept in your Cell Phone, PDA, Laptop, Organizer?

I expect there will be a little debate among the audience. But the actual answer is that it depends on how available that number is when you need it. This really goes for any information.

When needed is it:
  • Easily / Quickly Available
  • Accessible in a usable form
In the phone number case, having it in my cell phone as opposed to in my memory makes it slightly slower to access, but much quicker to dial (i.e., it's more usable in the cell phone than in my memory). My Treo allows me to type some letters (on my chicklet keyboard) that represent the name and then I select and dial. Other cell phones you say the name and it dials. All of these are superior to having it in your brain's memory and having to remember and punch it in. This is why teenagers actually remember fewer phone numbers than people over 50.

I will extend the question to then ask whether trying to put all of the White Pages and Yellow Pages into your Cell Phone makes sense? Likely it doesn't as long as you have ways to get to that information. For example, Google-411 or Google Info.

I believe this extends to lots of information. My 10 year old recently went through the exercise of learning all the capitals of the 50 US States. He's quite adept at memorization and can easily beat me (since he was around 5 years old) at concentration games. While the knowledge of state capitals might be valuable for future trivia, I would ask whether knowing this information is better or would it be better for him to know how to quickly look that information up (along with all sorts of other information about the state).

The bottom line for all of this are two important phrases:

Anticipated Information Need


Life is an Open Book Test

There's more context here in the presentation, but the key ingredient is that we need to build skills in determining what our future information needs will be and whether we are trying to keep and organize individual pieces of information. Or do we keep meta-information (information about how to get to that information)? Or do we not really need to do anything?

After all - Life is an Open Book Test

I'd be curious if anyone has thoughts on this. In the past, I've received some pretty amazing feedback this way that significantly altered what I was going to present.

Infovore - Need for Information Filtering and Selection

Great WSJ article - Why We're Powerless To Resist Grazing On Endless Web Data (via Will Richardson). The article looks at various information consumption behaviors:
Coming across new and richly interpretable information triggers a chemical reaction that makes us feel good, which in turn causes us to seek out even more of it. The reverse is true as well: We want to avoid not getting those hits because, for one, we are so averse to boredom.

It is something we seem hard-wired to do. When you find new information, you get an opioid hit, and we are junkies for those. You might call us 'infovores.' "

The same thing happens with information as with food. We are programmed for scarcity and can't dial back when something is abundant.
I was just talking about the importance of filtering skills for my ASTD 2008 presentation. Of course, it's a balance. We can't just shut off the flow of information. We have to get better at selection and filtering.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Training Software License Requirements

I received an email from a technical training manager that alerted me to an issue that they had recently run into:
I'm in charge of classroom training for five campuses throughout North America. Our customers use Crystal Reports in connection with our software.

It has been stated that Crystal Reports licensees may not train clients using Crystal Repots from Business Objects without an additional EULA for each and every customer receiving such training.
The issue from what I could read an interpret from various posts (statement, article) is that Business Objects requires Classroom Licensing for third party training organizations to teach using their software. They also are trying to put restrictions on any use of their software in training materials, public presentations, etc. The goal seems to be to: (a) get additional software license revenue and (b) limit "gray market" training and consulting - trainers and consultants who are not officially part of their programs. Note: they included not allowing non-certified training organizations to include screen shots in their training materials.

I'm actually not that familiar with the issues here and don't know how software companies generally handle this. I would certainly suspect that there are lots of software companies who would like to control this much like Business Objects. I've talked to a couple of friends at software development companies here in Southern California and they didn't have answers for me.

I'm curious - is this the norm? Is it okay for a software company to establish its policies and try to generate revenue by controlling who customers use for consulting and training? Where do you draw the line?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Where to Find Old Comic?

I'm excited about the presentation I'm creating for ASTD 2008 in San Diego. However, as part of putting it together, I was searching for a comic that I know I saw years ago where people were making fun of an executive that had his assistant print out his emails and dictated his responses.

Does anyone know where I would find such a comic or something like that?

Or any ideas on searching for such a thing?

I've tried various things on Google Images with little luck.

BTW, the point I'm highlighting is how changes in technologies and/or methods can cause previous methods to become out of date. I'd be happy to use other such illustrations.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Learning Objectives, Performance Objectives and Business Needs

This month's Big Question - Scope of Learning Responsibility? (see my posts: Learning Responsibility, Corporate Learning Long Tail and Attention Crisis and Long Tail Learning - Size and Shape) has raised some interesting questions in my mind. It also just triggered something for me around Learning Objectives vs. Performance Objectives vs. Business Needs.

Mick Leyden - Professional Responsibility??? tells us:
The learning professional is responsible for ensuring learning objectives are achieved regardless of the delivery mode.
This sounds quite reasonable at the surface. However, it dawned on me that if you define the scope of responsibility based on learning objectives you end up limiting yourself to focus only on content, immediate knowledge transfer, the fat end of the Long Tail Learning.

Is this possibly the crux of the issue? The disconnect I talked about in my previous post?

I would claim that willingness to accept definition of your scope in terms of learning objectives puts you in the box. To get outside the box, you need to have business needs and performance objectives.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Learning Responsibility

The big question for March 2008 is - Scope of Learning Responsibility? Karl Kapp helped me pull this question together and it's been interesting to see the responses so far. I wanted to capture some thoughts as I've been reading these posts so far.

First, my earlier posts Corporate Learning Long Tail and Attention Crisis and Long Tail Learning - Size and Shape lay out that I believe the space in which Corporate Learning (and realistically all learning professionals) operates is changing such that unless they look at providing Long Tail Learning, they will be a continually smaller part of the overall information landscape.

So far the posts have generally suggested a fairly broad view of responsibility for learning professionals. They express that learning professionals have some responsibility for solutions that extend beyond formal learning - whatever you choose to call this: informal learning, peer learning, bottom-up learning, non-formal learning. As Jacob McNulty said in Scope it Out:
I feel that learning professionals should support learning. Period. Whatever form(s) of learning that are most beneficial to the workforce (as well as appropriate members of the value-chain) are the ones that should be pursued.
I like how Clark Quinn broke this down a bit in Scope of Responsibility. He points out that we have responsibility around:
  • Wide range of approaches (resources and job aids, portals, knowledge management, eCommunity, coaching, mentoring, informal learning, etc.), and
  • Promoting a culture of learning
  • Developing learners as learners (or as I would put it - building learning skills)
What's interesting is that there seems to be a disconnect from what is being said in these posts and the reality of what is going on out in various worlds, corporate, education, etc. Or is it just me? Is this happening all over the place and I don't see it? If these kinds of things fall into the responsibility of learning professionals, then why isn't this commonly understood and ACTED upon?

Likely a few different sources of this disconnect:
  • Rest of the world doesn't expect (or look to) learning professionals for anything other than formal learning interventions. When you offer something different, they tell you they just wanted a course.
  • Can you push bottom-up learning from an L&D organization?
  • What does this mean in practice?
These all hurt and I think that trying to address the last bullet helps the most. So, I naturally liked Karyn Romeis - The Big Question for March: Scope of Learning Responsibility suggestions:
I would suggest building solutions which include provision for user generated content. Features such as:
  • discussion forums and/or noticeboards
  • tip of the day/week/whatever
  • FAQs - manned by the champions and drawn from the discussion forums
  • jargon busters' corners (some form of wiki - although it sometimes doesn't to let the audience know that that's what it is!)
The content of these spaces is outside of the scope of the learning professional - although you might provide a starter for 10 to get the ball rolling, but providing the space for this interaction, actively promoting user ownership of the learning process and contribution to the learning content is part and parcel of the provider's responsibility.
Karyn's making a great point. We are used to being publishers and what makes this very challenging is to think of ourselves not as publishers, but as starters, infrastructure, aggregators, etc.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Fight in the Blogosphere - Finally

It's Friday afternoon for me, I went to Bloglines to read some posts. And, I was happy to see some entertainment for a change. I apologize to those of you who feel this is serious stuff, this Friday afternoon, I'm not feeling that serious... With that preface...

I've got to say that in comparison to other worlds of blogging, all us folks in the learning and development world seem rather civilized - possibly verging on boring. Sure, once in a while Stephen Downes will call me out for being too control oriented and I'll say he's too much of a socialist and he'll correct both my definition of socialism and misconception that socialism is somehow not the answer (see Decomposting Socialism). This is always fun, but still relatively boring. But, finally, we have an honest to goodness fight emerging.

Bill Brantley has called out Jay Cross - Cross Calls Me Out (or was it the other way around?). Bill has particularly gone through a critical review of Jay's book to poke holes. I can't say I've not done similar things (see Thomas Davenport and Blogging - He is Wrong! : eLearning Technology). Luckily Davenport writes a blog, but either doesn't respond to other bloggers or doesn't read them. So, no fight emerged.

In Bill's series of posts he tells us (among other statements):
Informal learning is just another hype-filled, buzzword that pretends to be a radical change from the past but is really bits-and-pieces of other learning methods badly packaged.

Cross’ definition of informal learning is so wide open it can mean almost anything.

Cross has a marketing background which explains the breathless pace at which he writes.

Cross’ book is filled with hyperbolic assertions that training is just selling snake oil (p. 32), courses are dead (p. 167), and there is no sense in measuring return on investment for training (p. 165).
Ray Sims - Informal Learning Dustup at Sims Learning Connections and Harold Jarche - Growing, changing, learning, creating both mention Bill's post, but interestingly neither of them mention the food fight aspect. This would be another boring exchange without the use of terms like "hype-filled", "buzzword", "repackaged", and the rest. That at least makes it seem more interesting and entertaining on a Friday afternoon.

Unfortunately, Jay has only provided a very minor response via a couple of comments. Not enough to have a full blown fight on our hands. I'm still hopeful. Or maybe someone can more aggressively defend Jay or better yet simply attack Bill.

All that said, as a person who as a panel moderator, or the proctor of the Big Question, likes to instigate interesting discussion, debate, disagreement, I'm perversely happy to see this. On the other hand, I'm somewhat worried that the tone may put off people.

So, I'm curious:
  1. Are these kinds of debates good or bad?
  2. If it helps excite the crowd, is a little blood okay? Or should we always keep it civilized?
  3. Do you think it's good that Obama finally started attacking Hillary on her experience (okay, you don't have to answer, and yes it's US centric, but I couldn't resist)?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Fun Game or Serious Game

Found via Bad Science -

A really fun game (simulation) that let's you create things and control the physics (dynamics) of the objects and the environment. Does that make it a serious game? Maybe.

You pretty much need to watch the video for a while to figure out what it is. Time to get my kids started on it.

You can download the program for free at:

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Personal Learning Tools and Technologies

I just saw a post by George Siemens discussing evolution of PLE concept and pointed me to two posts by Chris Lott based on his initial question - "What does your PLE look like?" - Tired of PLE Flak and I'm not interested in the PLE which then pointed me to a bunch of other posts as well - on the PLE and An audit on where stand with PLEs.

Unfortunately, Chris got some flak based on his initial question. The problem is that the question is somewhat complex to answer for any individual and so not something to be done lightly. It's easy to list a set of tools. Jane Hart has done a great job collecting individual answers to what learning tools and technologies that people use. But, that doesn't get you very far.

More important are the methods. But probably most important are the mental models or frameworks that people use to understand what they need and turn it into methods and tools.

The question is a bit harder than Chris expected. At the same time, I agree with his call for sharing on these things and "learning over the shoulder" of others.

And I also sympathize with the "no its personal" beat down he took. There is certainly value in sharing methods and models.

I ran back through some previous discussions on PLEs and found that much of it focuses on tools and technology. A little on methods. Very little on models or frameworks. Here are some of the links: links:

Monday, March 03, 2008

Blogging and Social Networking Boosts Your Social Life

Just saw this report - Blogging Boosts Your Social Life - a rather limited study, but interesting reporting:

Bloggers reported a greater sense of belonging to a group of like-minded people and feeling more confident they could rely on others for help.

All respondents, whether or not they blogged, reported feeling less anxious, depressed and stressed after two months of online social networking.

I can honestly say that the bloggers and social networkers I know who make a real effort with identify with these statements.

Time to go back and update - Top Ten Reasons To Blog and Top Ten Not to Blog

Web 2.0 Applications in Learning

Last week I presented a session at ASTD TechKnowledge entitled eLearning 2.0 - Applications and Implications. It could just as easily have been called Web 2.0 Applications in Learning.

It was designed to be a small to medium size group discussion, but because the room was large it was very challenging to do that successfully. I discussed a bit of these issues in First Thoughts After ASTD Sessions.

I'm writing this post for both attendees of the session to have some notes and for people who were not at the session to hopefully get value from the discussion that happened there. As such, I'm trying to:
  • Report and discuss the results of an introductory survey that I conduct (thanks to the suggestion via Conference Breakout Sessions).
  • Provide the content. I've embedded all the content from the slides.
  • Provide thoughts around the content and the discussion.
I'm hoping that other people will weigh in with thoughts.

Oh, and I'm going to go in order according to the topics covered in the session.

Existing Adoption

At the very start I asked the audience for examples of where they were currently using these tools as part of learning solutions. There were about 7 examples mentioned including Intuit using a Wiki-like system for customers to ask questions/get advice around taxes, using a group blog with students prior to a formal learning event, the US Army's use of collaboration tools to share best practices in Iraq, and several others.

I discussed the fact that there was a common Adoption Pattern that went from personal adoption to work groups to organization.

– Personal =>
– Work group =>
– Organization

I also discussed that often these things evolve into solutions. This is something that gets discussed as emergent: see Emergent Knowledge Management, Direction of eLearning - Emergence or Big System, and Future Platforms for eLearning.

So while the session focused on organizational adoption, it likely was the case that you should look for targeted adoption opportunities.

Adoption Opportunities (Survey Part 1)

Prior to the start of the session, I handed out 100 copies of a brief survey. I ran out of copies (so there must have been more than 100 people in the room at some point - although people often come to grab copies of handouts and then leave prior to the start). I received 41 surveys back from participants. The participants were Learning Professionals from a cross section of Corporations, Academia, Military, Government (IRS was well represented and a little scary) and Non-profits. I didn't ask questions which would help to better identify participants.

Question 1 - What are the most likely ways / places your organization might or does use Blogs, Wikis, Social Bookmarking, Social Networking or Collaboration Tools? Choose the top 3-5.

Method Count Percent
Alongside Formal Learning
26 63%
Process Information / Training
22 54%
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) / Support Information
18 44%
Commonly used resources, URL's to applications, documentation, Contact Information, etc.
15 37%
On-Boarding process / Corporate Information
11 27%
Online Reference / Glossary
10 24%
Product Information / Training
9 22%
8 20%
Supporting Meetings, Conference Rooms, Phone Numbers, Facilitation Assignment, agenda, etc.
7 17%
Augmenting live conversations, e.g. taking jointly visible notes during a virtual meeting
4 10%

Other methods or comments written in:
  • Communities of Practice
  • For Professional Consulting or Training Areas
  • CoP and Detective training, teaching students, share best practices and poll member, learn from each others membership interest groups
  • Peer to Peer Knowledge Transfer (Across Divisions)
  • Membership Interest Groups (Certain areas of focus)
  • Leveraging our professional team to learn from each other
  • New Results Distribution
  • Performance Support - "reminders"
  • Share best practices and to poll other members
  • To teach students tools they need for success in the workplace and world
  • Developing New Training
  • Currently do not use but will after implementing LMS
In discussing this with the audience, it was clear that people saw a variety of different possibilities. However, a few things struck me:
  • A big reason for the survey was to get people to think about where these tools might make sense. However, the discussion quickly lost steam. There weren't nearly as many suggestions as to where they would like to see adoption as I expected.
  • I somewhat expected that the answers would be scattered. This was more of a prompt than it really was a true survey. And, of course, part of the scattering is that people in different kinds of organizations are going to have different needs.
We had some good discussion around how you might use these tools alongside formal learning. The suggestion by one audience member about requiring blogging (or similar forms) of sharing prior to a formal learning event was great. There were a few others. I discussed my experience from Collaborative Learning Using Web 2.0 Tools - A Summary and particularly my use of the course wiki as the basis for putting course notes, having each team put up their work, etc.

We discussed several other possible uses, but I'm blanking on what they were. Again, though, not as many people jumping in with - "What I really want to do is ...." as I expected.

Target Audiences (Survey Question 2)

Question 2 - What audiences are the most likely to use these tools in your organization?

Audience Count Percent
New Hires 25 61%
Other 17 41%
Operations 12 29%
Managers 10 24%
Customer Service 9 22%
IT 8 20%
Sales 7 17%

Other audiences written in:
  • Professional Trainers and Consultants
  • Clients- Access Knowledge Domains
  • Contractors
  • Work Groups
  • Students
  • Training Department
  • Engineering (Product, Process, Quality)
  • Constituents-grantees
  • Product Developers
  • Members of our Association
  • Trainers
  • Younger Employees
  • Consultants
  • Members
  • Students
  • Clinical Research Associates
Clearly I wrote the question with my normal mindset around corporate use. Many people in academia felt that students were the obvious target audience. I also left out many external audiences, e.g., customers, grantees, partners, members, etc. The fact that so many people wrote them in as targets suggest that this might be an interesting place to look and was certainly something being targeted.

Also, several people wrote in the training department itself. That's actually quite a good point and likely a good way to go after it. It also fits nicely with starting with targeted adoption.


I only briefly mentioned how other organizations are adopting these tools in a big way - The Wall Street Journal - June 18 2007 - social networking at IBM
  • 26,000 registered blogs.
  • 20,000 wikis with more than 100,000 users.
  • No anonymous users.
  • DogEar – Social Bookmarking
  • BluePages - employee-controlled profiles of 400,000 employees
  • Daily online newsletter called w3. Ranking, tagging, top stories
  • Tags link back to the tagger’s BluePages profile
  • IBM owns more than 50 islands in Second Life. Orientations, classes, and meetings are often held in Second Life.

I then asked everyone to call out what they saw as their biggest barriers to getting adoption. No problems getting things here. I tried to capture things down as they were said, here are my notes:
  • Firewalls
  • IP
  • Privacy / Confidentiality
  • Security
  • Control over Quality of Information
  • Strict Control Over Policies – Accuracy
  • Liability / Discoverability / Compliance
  • Change Management – Ready for It / Culture
  • Management Take it Seriously – Away from Work
  • Education of Management
  • Lack of Resources – Mobile Devices
  • Push Back from Workforce - Adoption
This is a pretty good list of commonly cited barriers. I wanted to go through each item and discuss it in detail, but we really didn't have enough time, so I proceeded to hit the items that I thought would be most relevant (and that I already had canned responses).

Note: if anyone has good discussions or references for how to address these barriers, please let me know.

Content Quality / Regulated Content

One of the most common initial objections is what about quality of the content. How do you know what gets put onto a Wiki is okay to distribute?
  • Moderation - On many Wiki software packages you can require approval for posting changes. It takes more work, but initially this is a good way to overcome this objection.
  • Limit Authoring - You can control who is allowed to make changes. Initially, you can start where only your instructional designers / writers are allowed to make changes. Then, maybe open it up to subject matter experts. Then to the help desk. Then maybe to end users / learners. You can also limit what pages can be changed.
  • Version Control - It's easy to roll back changes.
  • Safe Harbor Statements - Clearly mark pages that are controlled and approved vs. those that are not. Or pages that are for training purposes but you need to go elsewhere for the official stuff.
  • No anonymous editing
Does anyone have good examples of CYA language you can put on a Wiki?

Fundamentally, the question is whether this same content is getting distributed through other means (think email or water cooler). If someone is going to post it on a Wiki, they certainly would send the same thing in email. Wouldn't you rather have it out in the open?

Participation / Adoption Rates

Will people really pick these things up and use them?

I cautioned everyone about the 1% Rule that says in collaborative environments, e.g., discussion groups, for every 100 people who sign up, 90 will lurk, 9 will participate in a limited fashion, and 1 will regularly post content.

Without anything else involved, you need a fairly large audience to get significant participation.

Of course, you can try to improve those percentages through:
  • Incentives or requirements (students must blog - it's graded)
  • Community cohesion
  • Focus (short time frame, limited topic)
  • Integrated as natural activity
and other adoption models. Still, be careful about overselling the amount of adoption.

Adoption Patterns

Clearly to increase the chances of successful adoption, you should use patterns that are more likely to succeed. WikiPatterns is a great place to go for ideas around this. So is the look at Training Methods. A few of the interesting patterns that I commonly think about:
  • Starting Point - Never give people a blank page. Start them with initial structure and obvious placed to add content.
  • Barn Raising - Get people together or virtually together to get the content going. They'll learn how to do it and have experience and a feeling of ownership.
  • Honey Pots - Create pages that people are likely to update such as Common Support Issues, FAQ, etc.
  • Agenda - Meeting agendas are a good common editing needs
  • Company Directory / People Pages - Another easy place to start.
  • Time frame / Goal - Starting with a fixed time frame and a particular goal often gets better initial activity.
Selling the Value

Often it can be tricky to convince management of the value of providing these tools. I've not really seen good examples of business cases (future ROI) for using these tools. Rather, I've seen them sold based on specific uses that have obvious value to the organization.

Still, this is a somewhat uphill battle. Even Thomas Davenport, author of Thinking for a Living, has blasted these tools:
blogs have detracted from productivity, not increased it.
– Thinking for a Living
I’ve been on LinkedIn for several years. I never initiate a connection. I can safely say that I have gotten nothing out of the site …
– on his blog
I've already discussed that some people are really not getting the impact of different tools. Getting Value from LinkedIn, Thomas Davenport and Blogging - He is Wrong!, Spending or Wasting Time on Web 2.0 Tools? and have certainly called out the irony that Davenport is writing a blog (I guess he's okay with his personal loss of productivity).

For most organizations, selling the use of these approaches needs to be focused on the specific (limited) opportunity.

The other aspect is that it is often easiest to get these tools in very limited ways, use them in a limited fashion and then grow them. Use a Wiki instead of other approaches to creating web pages (only edited by ID/writers initially). Open up editing slowly.

Then getting people to use them in other contexts is that much easier and you will gather anecdotal evidence of value.

Other Barriers

A few other thoughts on barriers mentioned by the audience that I should more clearly address at some point...
  • Firewalls - You can certainly install tools behind the firewall. See the lists of tools below. You have to decide about inside the firewall vs. SaaS, but this shouldn't hold you back.
  • IP - Making sure it's clear about ownership of content is definitely an issue. Multiple authors - who owns at end. Not sure what else was implied.
  • Privacy / Confidentiality - Limit the visibility.
  • Security - This is no worse than any other form of electronic communication.
  • Control over Quality of Information - See above
  • Strict Control Over Policies – Accuracy - See above
  • Liability / Discoverability / Compliance - Absolutely the contents of your Wiki, Blogs, etc. is discoverable. So, yes, you have to set up policies and alert people just like you do around any form of electronic communication (email, IM). My experience has been that people are more likely to say something problematic in email (they think of it as private) than they are on a public avenue like a Wiki.
  • Change Management – Ready for It / Culture - Incrementally moving into it is needed.
  • Management Take it Seriously – Definitely an issue.
  • Lack of Resources – Mobile Devices - It doesn't take much to get most of these things going. I forget the issue around mobile devices.
  • Push Back from Workforce - Adoption
Again, I'm curious about additional thoughts on these items and/or places I can point people.


The following are resources that I provided as links in my presentation.

Corporate Blogging Guidelines

Feedster Corporate Blogging Policy

Thomas Nelson Blogging Guidelines

Plaxo Public Internet Communication Policy

Hill & Knowlton Blogging policies and guidelines

Yahoo Employee Blog Guidelines (pdf)


Blog Tools

Apache - Roller - Open source

BEA - Pages

Jive Software – Clearspace

Microsoft - SharePoint

Six Apart - Moveable Type

Traction Software – TeamPage


Wiki Tools

Atlassian Confluence

BEA Pages

Jive Software - Clearspace

Mediawiki – Open Source

Microsoft - SharePoint

Mindtouch - Deki Wiki – Open Source


Traction Software - TeamPage

Twiki – Open Source

Social Bookmarking Systems

BEA Pathways



IBM Lotus Connections - Dogear

Scuttle – Open Source

Social Network Systems

Awareness Networks




IBM Lotus Connections




Microsoft SharePoint


Ramius CommunityZero

Select Minds

Sparta Social Networks


Telligent Community Server



Related posts from several eLearning Blogs:

More on Better Conferences

I just saw a post by Chris - ASTD TechKnowledge 2008 Postmortem. I still need to do my more detailed session review, but I definitely left out a few thoughts in my posts Move to Front?
and First Thoughts After ASTD Sessions.

And really, Chris made me realize that I had left out a few things from some previous posts around Better Conferences and Conference Breakout Sessions.

1. Entertaining Keynote vs. Content Rich Keynote

Chris tells us -
The opening keynote by David Pogue (I’m a big fan!), while not specifically related to eLearning, was energizing and highly entertaining.
I would completely agree. Entertaining and not related to eLearning. I had my laptop out and was ready to blog about it. But I didn't find much to blog about. I've had this experience before and I'm often torn. I like to hear from people who are doing interesting things in related fields. But, pure entertainment doesn't seem appropriate to me. So, I personally would rather hear from a visionary in our field. Actually, I think I could pull together something better with a few visionaries that would still be entertaining in that it would be an Aha rather than a Woohoo.

But that's me, how about you?

2. Last Day Letdown

Chris tells us -
Sadly, the event ended with more whimper than bang, with a classic final-day conference letdown. Why do half of the participants always disappear before the final day of a conference?
This is classic. I always try to avoid presenting on the last day. And I generally leave before the last day. Normally, it's only half a day. And conference organizers know that this happens. Not sure what you can do about this? Is there a better model?

3. Breakout Sessions

Chris tells us -
Both sessions I attended on the final day included extensive (and worthless) breakout group activities.

If presenters plan to include significant group breakout activities in their session, please require that they warn us in the session description. So I can go elsewhere. I hate to sound harsh and unkind, but geez - can’t we move past these trite group activities already?
Whew, I barely dodged this bullet (and Chris attended that session). Thanks to everyone for redirecting me via Conference Breakout Sessions.

4. Waiting for Aha

Chris tells us -
I’m still waiting for the iPhone unveiling at Macworld moment at one of these eLearning conferences. Something that makes me sit up and say “Whoa!” Perhaps that is too much to expect, but I’m clinging to the hope of seeing something truly game-changing one of these days.
No doubt that Chris is more advanced than most who are attending. Therefore, harder to get an Aha. Still, it would be nice if there were more opportunities.

Applause for Chris for an interesting postmortem that helped spark some thoughts. The conference organizers must love this - if they read blogs. :)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Move to Front?

As a comment on my last post First Thoughts After ASTD Sessions
, Chris from eQuixotic reminded me that I could have asked the audience to move towards the front of the room to fill empty spots in order for them to hear. I thought about it, but decided not to. It certainly hurt the session to have a large room. But I also know that I hate having to move myself. And, often, it makes it harder to Session Hop.

I'm curious what other people think about the issue:
Do you ask people to move to the front of the room?