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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Service Providers - How Do You Find Good Ones

Within a few hours of each other, I received two requests for referral to service providers. One request was for eLearning development providers from fairly large 5,000+ employees based in the US.
We've looked at a few eLearning vendors and haven’t been thrilled. We found the three US vendors expensive and/or light on good ID and the India-based vendors (Tata and Brainvisa) are priced really well, but would require more extensive project, quality and ID management. So the 50K question is do you have any really high quality referrals – that might also be able to come in at reasonable prices and would be able to to turn a 2 or 3-hour ILT into a simple yet sophisticated CBT all the way up to eventual simulations and online custom leadership content?
Likely they would want to have a provider who is fairly local, but not sure about it. They are fairly new to eLearning design and development.

The other request is for providers of new-hire orientation outsourcing companies:
My boss wants me to look up the three (or so) best-in-industry new-hire orientation outsourcing companies. Does anyone have experience in this area to help me out, or at least direct me where to search? That would be MUCH appreciated!
I have a few thoughts on where you might go to search for this, but I would be curious how people who read this blog would go about finding service providers for themselves, or how they would advise these two people to go about it?

For thoughts about this, but from the service providers perspective (especially service professionals such as accountants, attorneys, consultants, etc.) take a look at Social Media for Service Professionals and Social Media to Build Reputation and Reach Prospects – More Ideas.

Leading Learning and New Skills

This month on the Learning Circuits Blog - I asked some very leading questions
If we have responsibility for informal learning, social learning, eLearning 2.0, long tail learning, etc. then ...
  • Don't we have to conclude that learning professionals must be literate in these things?
  • If so, then what should learning professionals do to become literate?
  • Should workplace learning professionals be leading the charge around these new work literacies?
  • Shouldn't they be starting with themselves and helping to develop it throughout the organizations?
  • And then shouldn't the learning organization become a driver for the organization?
  • And like in the world of libraries don't we need to market ourselves in this capacity?
If we really care about improving performance, then we need to recognize the scope of our Learning Responsibility and to broaden ourselves to go from Learning Objectives to Performance Objectives and Business Needs.

Kimberly McCollum in The networked nature of information fairly calls me out for asking such leading questions -
They are more like a rhetorical rallying cry to the already converted. “Yes! We should!”
However, in defense, I would point that there's a disconnect between saying "Yes" and the level of understanding and adoption among people in the profession. Go to an ASTD conference and ask about this stuff. You won't find many who even are aware of any of this. I'm personally out to change this, but we are a long way from being in a position to lead.

And let me back up the need with some thoughts from other bloggers on these questions...

The Learning Revolution: Where have all the leaders gone?
It's not necessary to use all the new online tools that are out there but it is necessary to know about them and understand them if for no other reason than it gives you options, and may improve personal and organisational performance.

I don't believe that a learning professional could call themselves as such without being aware of all the latest developments in learning methods /approaches.
Harold Jarche - Skills 2.0
Enabling learning is no longer about just disseminating good content, if it ever was. Enabling learning is about being a learner yourself, sharing your knowledge and enthusiasm and then taking a back seat. In a flattened learning system there are fewer experts and more fellow learners on paths that may cross. With practice, one can become a guide who has already walked a path. As fields of practice and bodies of knowledge expand, a challenge for learning professionals will be to change their tool sets from prescriptive to supportive.
Gina Minks: Adventures in Corporate Education What Competencies do Knowledge Workers Need?
How can you design with these new tools if you don’t understand them? How can you apply them to your existing systematic learning system if you don’t know what the heck wiki even means? So, yes, learning professionals must learn and use these tools, and then apply the tools to their existing framework.
Clark Quinn - Learnlets: Lead the Charge?
The point being that to truly help an organization you have to move to a performance focus, moving people from novice, through practitioner, to expert, and giving them a coherent support environment. To do this, you need to know what’s available. And, consequently, the learning organization has to experiment with new technologies for it’s own internal workings to determine how and when to deploy them to organizational benefit.
Stephen Lahanas - Welcome to The Revolution
We are indeed at a cross-roads in our perception of what learning can or should be be. It is definitely a revolution, one that can be equally applied to both the personal and organizational level.

Those educators who truly believe that the learners come first and that learning is a continual process should not feel intimidated by whatever new technologies emerge that might be applied to education. This is not a threat - it is enhancement that enriches both learners and educators.
Shilpa Patwardhan: Would you trust a firefighter who did not know how to fight fire?
How in the world can we kid ourselves that not keeping up is okay? Would you trust a firefighter who did not know how to fight fire? Would you trust a lifeguard who did not know the latest life-saving techniques? Would you trust a surgeon who did know the latest surgical procedures? Then why should anyone trust learning professionals who wonder whether they need to be familiar with latest technology?
Catherine Lombardozzi - The short answer is yes
If a learning professional wants to be a thought leader in his or her organization around how to support learning in the workplace, he or she cannot be illiterate in these new technologies.

As learning professionals, not only do we have to come up to speed on the technologies, we have to develop a clearer understanding of how these 2.0 technologies can be used to support learning. Otherwise, our organizations will stumble, and we’ll wind up behind instead of ahead.

Kevin Shadix - There's no "I" in "We."
A big mistake made by way too many folks is to preach the good word without having gone through the transformation themselves. Web 2.0 represents a whole mind shift, not just a set of tools. It is the power of “we” not “I”. It is about people creating content together, not the lone, brave hero leading the pack. The only way to “get it” is to try it.
Deb Gallo - Lead the charge?
As L&D professionals it’s up to us to be innovative and introduce the business to tools and methods that will ultimately improve business performance.

We need to develop our competencies, skills and comfort levels with these new tools. Unless you try it you won’t really get your mind around the possibilities they bring or how you might use them in the workplace.

Taruna Goel - New Work Literacies - Leading the Way
I don’t want to be a learning professional who is sitting on the fence and talking about new tools and technologies and hasn’t used any!
Several people suggested that we should use caution when considering any leadership role ...

Kevin Shadix - There's no "I" in "We."
2.0 has implications beyond the learning function, and we need to let other groups discover and figure out for themselves how they want to use them.
Clive Shepherd
The application of web 2.0 to organisations is not exclusively a learning issue - it permeates all aspects of the way in which people network and collaborate. First of all, the web 2.0 concept must be appropriate to the organisation, and this is open to question when you're looking beyond knowledge workers. Assuming it is appropriate, champions can come from many quarters. If learning professionals have really bought into the idea and can demonstrate how they are applying it productively, then they are in a good position to lead the charge. If not, someone else from another business function will step in.
Jay Cross - No, no, no, no.
It’s presumptuous to assume learning professionals are going to be “leading the charge.” This is not some independent effort. Organizational stakeholders better be taking the lead. And we’d better be supporting their vision.

Of course we must use network technologies ourselves. Understanding how to apply social networks to improve organizational performance is a prerequisite for shaping learning and development from here on out. People who are illiterate in network technology need not apply.

Some good specific suggestions:

Kerry McGuire - Live and Learn: What's the real question?
  • Find two or three people with wide networks and help them solve a workplace issue using these tools.
  • Recruit other people that are passionate to start sending out the same message.
Christy Tucker - Experiencing E-Learning: Leading by Example
If I had to focus on one single skill, it would be lifelong learning. Perhaps this isn’t a skill so much as an attitude.
Peter Isackson - Phoning it in
I would put my effort into making it work from the bottom up and demonstrate how it can achieve other things than self-promotion.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Blogs, Social Networks and LinkedIn Answers

I received a great question from someone relative to my last post - Required Reading for Training Managers where I continue to suggest the benefits of blogging (see Blogging - I'm Pushing Harder Now and Top Ten Reasons To Blog and Top Ten Not to Blog for recaps of much of this). The question was:
What is your assessment of the relative benefits of pure blogging vs LinkedIn Answers and other social networking platform-based discussion venues?
I consider LinkedIn Answers to be quite a different animal. The way I use LinkedIn Answers is to ask specific questions (never open ended or partially thought out the way I do in a blog) that I want to get specific answers or find people with expertise who I can't seem to find by searching LinkedIn normally. This question goes only to my network and then also out to the rest of the world who look at Answers. It's a great way to get help on specific inquiries. But, it's just that.

For example, the question above would probably be okay in LinkedIn Answers, but you might want to change it a bit to be more specific.

LinkedIn Answers is limited in time and does not create any kind of sustained conversation. But it does work across both your own and your indirect network.

Social Network based discussions (for example a Ning network) act like communities. I've had several posts talking about the differences of conversation in communities and those via blogs (network-based discussion). I'd look at:
There's a fair amount to consider around the differences. To me blogging is a great engine for network-based conversation and continuous learning. You likely can use a community the same way, but most people don't.

Likely looking at how to Learn and Network with a Blog ways to promote Blog Discussion
and Types of Blog Discussions are also good pieces.

It still comes down to a personal style, commitment level (to sustained learning).

But Wendy and Karyn will tell you it has high value for them. Of course, we all know they are both pretty weird.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Required Reading for Training Managers

Great post from Karyn Romeis -Either it matters or it doesn't. It discusses the all too common issue that learning professionals receive assignments to create learning solutions only to find out that the client doesn't really know what they want/need, and worse yet, really don't care, or the audience isn't willing to give time / attention to it, or you lack SME attention, etc.
There is often the perception on the part of the client that they should be able to say "We want an elearning about health and safety in the workplace" and we will go away for a few days, only to return with an all-singing, all-dancing piece of elearning that covers exactly what they wanted to cover and includes all sorts of sexy graphics and clever interactions.
Later in the post ... she raises a great question.
So when they say the same things of the management development programme they have asked me to develop, but getting access to SMEs and stakeholders is like pulling teeth, well then I have a hard time believing them. When words and actions are mismatched, the true message is in the actions.

Wouldn't you say?
I've discussed similar kinds of issues in What Clients Really Want : eLearning Technology.

But what really struck me as I read this and also took a look back at some of the discussion between Karyn and Wendy (see Please Stop Throwing Stuff at Me!!!!) ...

This is fantastic stuff that should be required reading for all Training Managers.

It's a great example of the value of blogging. It offers Wendy and Karyn fantastic opportunities to help each other out ... sometimes they are the only two leaving comments. But, it is also quite a treasure trove of information on what works or doesn't work in their worlds.

As I'm thinking about it - likely it's a treasure trove for anyone starting out being an eLearning developer / designer. This is what life is really like. This is what you face. This is how they handle it.

This represents some of the best of what blogging is all about!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Brain 2.0

I had a nice six hour drive today with my wife, Margaret, who is an ex high school counselor and teacher along with all the normal credentials and masters degrees, etc. Part of our conversation was in my changing belief about the importance of learning a bunch of facts that someone can look up at a later time. Does a student really need to know all the state capitals? I argued that it was more important for my kids to know:

a. when they might care about a capital in their life (when they might want to know about a capital) and how to look up a capital (and possibly how to check the accuracy if they are just using google).

than it was for them to know

b. the 50 capitals, states and the locations of the states.

Granted, I am sometimes amazed that people have no clue where a state is and I'm certainly happy that my kids have done well on the capitals/states tests in their lives, but I'm still pretty adamant that we should be looking at aiming at creativity, synthesis, composition, etc. more than memorization. We need to create students who are knowledge-able rather than knowledgeable.

I also had to vent on my poor wife about a question asked by a history professor in college. The class cost me my 4.0 GPA (and I only had to take it because of a weird rule that I couldn't count my AP US History Units against college world history so those AP Units did me no good ... the horror of the situation). In any case, the question was two parts multiple choice. (1) "What was the population in England in 1800?" (2) "What percentage worked in agriculture?". I actually knew the first part, because I believe that fully 10% of the population had moved to London which had grown to 1M people. (Now these facts could be completely wrong some 25 years later, but that's besides the point.) I got part 1 correct. The second part I had to guess between 25% and 35% or some such thing and still don't remember.

I could have told the professor about the move towards more urban and away from agriculture, but he didn't ask that. He didn't know if I knew the important concepts that he stressed in the class. No he had to ask a ridiculous memorization question. I vowed never to ask such a thing or at least to have all open book tests so that such questions were useless. And, I'm pretty sure I stuck to that pledge. But the rest of the world still asks these questions all the time.

And my wife certainly would. She feels it's still important to teach memorization and I don't disagree. You still need memory to be able to pull up how to look up the capitals and when it might apply. But my guess is that your brain would be organized significantly different if you were taught around concepts, and were taught when and how to look-up as opposed to all the little bits.

I get back from the trip and I see a post from Brent - There is no why Learning2.0? and I have to jump in and say that I'm not so sure that there's not something along the lines of a Brain 2.0 emerging. I'm not claiming that the brain itself has changed, but instead what's changing is:
  • metacognition
  • metamemory
  • access to information
  • access to other people
  • access to smart systems
all of this changes what the brain needs to do. A look inside the processing of problems by the brain of someone born today when they reach 40 vs. the brain of someone who is 40 today, I would guess is going to be quite different.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

NASA Images

NASA Images was just launched (press release) and it uses software that was partly developed by my firm TechEmpower. It has a bunch of neat features that makes it fun to play with, especially the ability to create different kinds of widgets of groups and images and workspaces. Warning, if you go there and like these kinds of things, prepare to spend a bit of time playing.

Webinar Design / Training

In the post - Webinar Software - Adoption Advice - one of the comments I made was:
If you've done webinars, you know that they are different to design and deliver successfully than other kinds of presentations and training.
This is something I learned the hard way. My very first presentation was a large public presentation where they had muted the entire audience (dead silence) and there was no moderator. I was alone in my office. Holding a handset (ouch). So, five minutes into the presentation, I felt completely disconnected from the audience because I hadn't planned for ways to connect and make sure I was doing okay. It was an awful feeling.

Out of that comment, I received a question:
Your post from yesterday brought up an important point and one that I had not considered. That of appreciating the difference between Webinars and other online presentations. I would LOVE to learn more. Today, coincidentally, I am doing 4 webinars (I set aside one day a month for this as a primary outreach tool). Now that you have made this interesting observation, I need to get trained. Where would you suggest I look to understand the nuances? We use GoToWebinar for our events.
I immediately thought of Karen Hyder - who helped me prepare for a couple of sessions and is really great and really thorough. She definitely helped up my game. I also thought of Ann Kwinn and Ruth Clark's book - The New Virtual Classroom.

Knowing who asked the question, he's actually a pretty sophisticated presenter. He doesn't need the basics. And likely he's actually asking about information on differences in design between different types of online meetings (webinars, online presentations, online workshops, online classrooms). And then design specifics for these.

So, I'll definitely make an introduction to Karen, but I'm wondering what else you would recommend around this. Likely a lot of us can use help in this area. Any pointers are appreciated.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Webinar Software - Adoption Advice

Good question about adoption of webinar software / services - this time from someone who went to my workshop in Cincinnati - Revolution in Workplace Learning - who by the way - called it "awesome." Here's the question:
We are currently moving toward web-based training for an external audience and have been experimenting with a modest product called Ready Talk. It doesn't have any bells and whistles like web cam compatibility or video streaming, online polling, white boards or anything cool like that. We are considering moving to other products such as Adobe Connect.

We are looking into a contract where we have to purchase a minimum of five licenses for the platform. I think we'll feverishly use three of them possibly four, but my office manager thinks I am nuts. I've made the case, or at least the statements on the reduced costs for travel, lunch, and copies we can expect.

What I fear is that we are secretly not committed to the shift in the way we meet. Our webinars have been successful by our standards and for the most part, we've been early adopters of the technology. This tool would make our web-based training and consulting work worlds better with more opportunities for engagement and collaboration online.

I just want to be sure that I'm not committing too heavily.
To me there's a few additional questions embedded here (between the lines):
  • Do you need to commit to that particular tool? Can you change out technically fairly easily? Can you change out contractually? Any experience with being able to try these things out and possibly moving later?
  • Anyone have concern about adopting Adobe Connect vs. the myriad of other solutions out there? Has anyone had enough experience with Adobe Connect delivered to a wide audience that you can say what kinds of issues they might expect?
  • What about all the features mentioned? Are those important in practice?
A few thoughts.

First some findings from the eLearningGuild's recent research report on Synchronous Learning Systems:
  • Guild members are resoundingly positive in giving synchronous learning very high marks for its impact on their organizations. Specifically, 94.7% are convinced that a SLS is essential to their organization.
  • WebEx enjoys the largest market share with 42.6% of Guild members that use a SLS indicating that they use WebEx Training Center. This is followed by Microsoft with 29.3%, Adobe with 24.7%, and Citrix Online with 11.7%.
  • 30% of Guild organizations that use a SLS use more than one tool in their organizations.
  • Members that receive formal training on how to deliver synchronous learning report much better results than those that receive little or no training.
The last bullet is an excellent point. If you've done webinars, you know that they are different to design and deliver successfully than other kinds of presentations and training.

In addition to the four they list, I've personally had experience with GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar, Elluminate, Centra and Interwise. I've run into a few technical issues with Interwise before. And I used to with Elluminate, but have not had much issue recently.

I personally often adopt whatever is most easily available. I tend not to use a lot of the different features, but certainly like to having polling, recording, chat, screen sharing. In fact, after you've had these features, it sometimes feels weird to be in a presentation hall and not be able to easily poll the audience (and not have a back-channel automatically).

Those are my quick thoughts, but my guess is that there's lots more thoughts out there on what to do around choosing webinar software.

Monday, July 21, 2008

eLearning Curriculum

I received a question today and thought that I should post it so that people can weigh in with resources and suggestions.
We are designing curriculum for a graduate program aimed at building skills to be able to work in the eLearning and eContent design and development domain. What curriculum belongs to prepare students to work in the eLearning field?
Obviously, the starting point for this would be existing programs at other schools ...
Any suggestions on good programs that they should emulate?
Certainly look at some of the comments in: Masters Education Technology for some thoughts from people who have attended different programs.

Other related questions ...
What's missing today in these programs that they should consider adding?
Where else should they look for information to help design a good program?
Any help would be appreciated.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Expedia Service - Horrible - Don't Use Them

The title really says it all, but here was my experience ...

I booked tickets for several one-way hops through different cities in a long week of travel on several airlines through Expedia. I needed to make a change to one of the legs and there's no way to do that online, so I called Expedia customer service. For a dual fee - both Expedia and the airline charge a fee for changing the ticket they changed the leg. What I didn't realize is that the customer disservice representative also change the other flights in my itinerary. She read the flight times over the phone very quickly to me (at the time I was wondering why she was bothering to mention the other flights) and I stopped her on the one that had changed and asked her what it was - and yes, she got that one right. The rest she changed from evening flights to early morning flights.

Unfortunately, I didn't catch that she had made that change until I was looking at what time my flight left in the morning of my second day - whoops - I missed the flight already. So I call Expedia. I'm on hold forever and then the rep tells me that, yes, they can see what happened, but that there's nothing they can do about it. I should talk to the airline. I asked repeatedly to talk to the supervisor or someone who would have authority to do something about this (note: the whole time I'm at a client site with them waiting for me to resolve this). The rep absolutely refused to put the supervisor on the phone. Literally refused. They kept refusing and saying there's nothing we can do until I was actually pretty mad and expressing that to the rep.

I finally asked, "So what you are telling me right now is 'screw you mr. customer' and 'you cannot speak to anyone else'." And he said, "Sorry for the situation."

Yikes! I'm still somewhat shocked.

Delta (the airline involved) did handle the situation at a cost of $150 per leg of the journey in order to yank the reservations back from Expedia.

By the way - total time - 90 minutes - 60 minutes with Expedia being put on hold while the rep talked to people. And 30 minutes with Delta waiting for them to answer and then to make changes. My client was understanding about the situation - but that made things uncomfortable to say the least.

From now on, it's go direct with the airline for me. And make sure I tell everyone that Expedia should absolutely, under no circumstances be paid anything. Go ahead and look up travel arrangements, but book direct.

I'm also struggling a bit to figure out what I can and should do here.

By the way - I'm not alone. I did a quick search for Expedia Service and found lots of examples - actually - I didn't see anything that indicates a good experience:

Expedia: Customer Service Shortcomings - Associated Content
Expedia Bad Customer Service

Monday, July 14, 2008

Free Textbooks

Normally when a PR person approaches me with a story, I'm not all that interested, but this one struck me as a pretty interesting development, so I thought I'd put out the information with a bit of commentary.
Flat World Knowledge, a publisher of free and open college textbooks, today announced it will soon begin the nation’s largest in-classroom test of open college textbooks. The nationwide beta test of its books involves hundreds of students from 15 colleges and universities across the United States. Flat World Knowledge’s free and open textbooks will replace traditional textbooks in a single class or class section at each participating institution. The beta test begins this August and will run through the completion of the Fall 2008 semester.

Flat World Knowledge has built a business model around offering free textbooks to college students. Through their open platform, students will have access to complete textbooks free of charge, with the option to purchase affordable alternate formats of the content (i.e. print & audio versions of the text, podcast study guides, mobile phone flash cards, etc.).

Flat World Knowledge’s mission is to take the best characteristics of traditional textbook publishing - such as expert-written, peer-reviewed and professionally edited texts -- and then flip the old model on its head. Flat World’s books will be open for faculty to customize, and free to students online. Flat World and its authors earn compensation by offering affordable choices to students beyond the free online book, from printed textbooks for under $30 (printed-on-demand), to audio books for under $20, to downloadable and printable files by the chapter, and more. The company supplements its texts with low-priced study aids like DRM-free podcast study guides, digital flash cards, interactive practice quizzes, and more.
Free textbooks. Pretty cool. I wonder if they can make money with the alternative models. If you look at companies like Cramster that provide community and answers to text book problems - often oriented around particular college texts without the direct involvement of the publisher, then you have to believe that there will be communities around text books emerging and likely you can monetize off of that. Just not sure if it will be the publishers.
Eric Frank, Flat World Knowledge co-founder and chief marketing officer. “This new model of textbook publishing will result in increased choices and dramatically lower costs for students. It can enhance learning by giving instructors more control over content, and by leveraging the power of social learning networks around content. Between the oligopolistic practices of the big publishers on one end of the spectrum, and piracy on the other, lies a better solution – open textbooks.”
There's quite a few things in between - and there's also social text books. But this would seem to be a good approach for publishers to stay relevant in a Wiki world. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

25 Million Hits Per Day

Fortune Magazine interview with GE's CIO:

Does social networking have a role within General Electric?

We've gone out of our way to call it professional networking rather than social networking. We've been building a professional-networking capability that allows everybody to put in the organization directory the skills that they bring to bear. It's very searchable, so if someone is looking for a particular skill, they can go to that site. That gets about 25 million hits a day, so it really is becoming sort of a heartbeat of the company.

25 million hits a day - wow, that's quite a bit. Not sure what's included there, but wow!


This post is intended to capture a few of the common objections that I hear at various sessions as well as ways that people suggest you overcome those objections. I will update this over time.

Kevin Jones recently went through and captured 15 Objections to Social Learning and some thoughts on responses to these objections:
There's another good post on a related topic - Ten Common Objections to Social Media and How to Respond - includes:

1. I suffer from information overload already.
2. So much of what's discussed online is meaningless. These forms of communication are shallow and make us dumber. We have real work to do!
3. I don't have the time to contribute and moderate, it looks like it takes a lot of time and energy.
4. Our customers don't use this stuff, the learning curve limits its usefulness to geeks.
7. Upper management won't support it/dedicate resources for it.
8. These startups can't offer meaningful security, they may not even be around in a year - I'll wait until Google or our enterprise software vendor starts offering this kind of functionality.
9. There are so many tools that are similar, I can't tell where to invest my time so I don't use any of it at all.

I would also look at establishing policies: Corporate Policies on Web 2.0

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Good Questions Identify eLearning 2.0 Opportunities

I'm a big fan of questions (see Better Questions for Learning Professionals) and as I'm preparing a workshop (Revolution in Workplace Learning) one of the things I stumbled upon is what seems to be a great new question:
Given that eLearning 2.0 (web 2.0, wikis, blogs, social networking, etc.) represents new ways of supporting learning and work ... as a learning professional, what are the new questions that I need to ask as part of analysis?
There must be new questions that we need to ask in order to figure out if and how eLearning 2.0 approaches apply to given performance improvement needs.

In this post, I want to focus on questions that will help identify if there are opportunities for using eLearning 2.0 approaches as part of your performance intervention.

I would very much like to hear your thoughts on this. Some of the questions that come to mind that I would use to:

Identify eLearning 2.0 Opportunities:

Content -
  • What content is already shared through other means? Ex. are lessons learned discussed, or work-arounds.
  • Is there information that can be created and shared coming from either a 3rd party (e.g., a help desk, experts, etc.) or from the audience itself?
  • What content gets updated more frequently?
  • What reference material is already being created that might be a target?
Audiences -
  • Who has the pain?
  • Who's going through an experience that they would want to share?
  • Who is able and active enough to use the tools to create content?
  • Does it align with their motivation or can it be aligned with their motivation?
  • Are there natural content creators that we could leverage?
So, what questions do you ask to identify eLearning 2.0 opportunities?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Learning Professionals Leaders

On this month's Big Question - Lead the Charge - we are already seeing some interesting responses.

The Learning Revolution: Where have all the leaders gone?
It's difficult to not agree with everything that's in Tony's post an my short answer would be: yes they should, and the good ones already are.
So, of course, I say, great post. :) There are some interesting thoughts in the post, but also
Most learning professionals can only do so much. There's a vacuum of leadership in the adoption of enterprise/web/learning 2.0 tools from learning professionals in senior positions and too many barriers put up by over-zealous HR and IT departments. Over 50% or organisations in the UK are still on Internet Explorer 6 and I've come across some that restrict javascript and all cookie. This makes using something like google docs or pbwiki as an experiment somewhat difficult for the poor, lonely learning professional.
I'm not sure I buy this. Is it okay for a learning professional to be unaware at this point of social media and its impact on learning and work? I can understand barriers to being able to put it into practice (and there are many barriers), but not barriers to being aware. My experience at ASTD recently was that most people were completely unaware of all of this. They have their head in the sand.

Harold Jarche in Skills 2.0:
Today, active involvement in informal learning, particularly through web-based communities, is key to remaining professional and creative in a field. Being a learning professional in a Web 2.0 world is becoming more about your network than your current knowledge.
Gina Minks: Adventures in Corporate Education What Competencies do Knowledge Workers Need?
How can you design with these new tools if you don’t understand them? How can you apply them to your existing systematic learning system if you don’t know what the heck wiki even means? So, yes, learning professionals must learn and use these tools, and then apply the tools to there existing framework.
She lists the tools and what you should know as:
  • Wikis: How to edit, how to read, how to link to
  • RSS Feeds: What are they, how do I read one, once I have a reader set up how do I scan info collecetd, how do I share info using one
  • Blogs: How do I write one. Why SHOULD I write one. How do I evaluate info from one. How do I scan, collect keywords, and rescan to crystallize ideas and information?
  • Information Creation tools: Exps: Youtube, SlideShare, Flickr. How do I use. Why/When do I use.
  • Tagging: What is this? Why is it important? How do I use with content I create? How do I use to search for info I need?
Great stuff Gina. And there are some good comments in her post including:
A lot of “us” learned these technologies organically, as we needed to. Trying to come up with ways to teach people them all at once is going to be challenging.

If you can come up with ways to show the results of the tools, that people who are attracted to the technology will find ways to learn the tools. Nobody cared about wikis until wikipedia came along. Nobody cared about RSS readers until information overload made them a necessity.

I think the thing we have to be careful of is teaching the tools outside of the benefits.

Clark Quinn - Learnlets: Lead the Charge? talks about how learning organizations must transition from
the perspective from a training group being an expendable cost-center to a learning capability that’s central to organizational effectiveness and performance.

Video Ratings

I received a question today and thought I'd ask blog readers if they can help with answers. The question comes from a blog reader who captures a lot of different videos within their organization. They have "over a couple of thousand of video and audio clips that new hires and tenured employees are currently using for on-boarding and training."

What they want to do is to help employees better access the video content. They've seen viddler which allows people to tag specific sections within the video. They are interested in that capability, but also in rating the videos, and especially rating portions of the videos.

That makes me wonder ...

To me it seems that having video rating and/or video tagging for the video as a whole would make sense, but I'm not convinced that it makes sense for portions of the video. Do you think it makes sense to rate / tag specific sections of video? Will it distract learners?

What tools or solutions would you recommend they consider as part of their solution?

Any other thoughts on video ratings or video tagging?