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Monday, November 30, 2009

Selling Learning Communities – Not Everyone Will or Wants a Group Hug

Compressed Picture of Jack M for email Jack Merklein from Xerox Global Services did a really great presentation at LearnTrends 2009 entitled - Common tools for Diverse Communities at Xerox Global Services.  You can find the LearnTrends 2009 Recording including Jack’s presentation.  A few follow-up thoughts.

Jack is responsible for the development, care and tools for learning communities and knowledge sharing initiatives.  In practice this means a lot of different things and across many different learning communities.  A few of the different communities he discussed:

  • New Hire
  • Sustainability
  • CxO

While the title centered on tools for communities and knowledge sharing and he provided a list of tools …

Existing Tools:

  • Outlook email distribution lists
  • Live Meeting with Brain Shark
  • DocuShare
  • Calendars
  • Wiki
  • Instant messaging
  • Links to training catalog

Emerging Tools:

  • Podcasts
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn (Intra-community)
  • Training videos on YouTube
  • A Second Life Island available

Most of the discussion didn’t focus on tools.  Instead, it focused on Jack’s no nonsense ability to make communities an effect part of learning.  And particularly, I got to spend time with Jack on how he sells learning communities in the organization.

Jack does an amazing job of finding out what people in the community really care about and need.  For one community, they meet every two weeks and a lot of times the topic comes a week before and he pulls in subject matter experts to present.  He ensures that the facilitation then focuses on the key issue that the people in the room cares about.  I’ve seen exactly this kind of thing work really well before.  But I’ve not seen it done as systematically as how Jack has designed it.

Jack was a quote machine during the session, here are some of the phrases he used:

  • "Publication warden"
  • "Billable always wins"
  • “CoP Warden”
  • “not everyone will or wants a group hug”
  • "young and stupid"
  • “Training is a resignation”
  • "Capture it damn it - put on community site" (responsibility of all members of a community to make knowledge explicit)
  • “Amenable to bribing everyone”

Part of the beauty of Jack and his style is that the language he uses is plain, business oriented.  Everything sounds obvious when he says it.  In a way, he didn’t feel like he was ever “selling learning communities”.  That was my language.  Instead, he asked people if they wanted help with a particular problem.  If he could bring together experts and expertise and facilitate a conversation on X and then help capture that – is that something you’d want.  Absolutely!  In fact, we all want that all the time! 

In a later session, we discussed the fact that one of the big barriers in many organizations is that they don’t “have a Jack.”  Selling learning communities or social learning or anything other than formal learning / training is hard because we find ourselves using the language of learning or learning community. 

As an example of needing a Jack, the question - How do you avoid the issue … “I’m too busy” … Jack’s answer is basically, if the value is high enough, you are focused on problems they are faced with right now, they will come.  His example is a community that meets on Friday afternoons.  Yikes.  I’d never plan something then.  But he gets amazing participation because the topics focus on hard hitting topics where people need help right now.  Senior leaders participate because they see the value.  And participation is rewarded through recognition … and sometimes bribed.

Now let’s all be a Jack!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Learning from Others in the Room

After LearnTrends 2009, I received a note from a person I know and highly respect that said, “I dropped in on several sessions over the last three days and wanted to thank you for your good facilitation skills …”

It’s great to get that positive feedback, but this was actually a bit of a surprise.  I often felt during the conference that I was not doing a good job of taking advantage of the expertise that was often in the room.

This was amplified when George Siemens did a highly participatory session where he had the audience list out design considerations for several things like formal vs. informal, etc.  Some tweets during the session:

  • “opens the whiteboard up to let participants create the agenda…whoa! crazy fun! ” @chambo_online
  • “Very intrigued to have 130 people writing on a whiteboard all at once at #learntrends … and amazingly, it didn’t suck” @cynan_sez
  • “130+ people writing on same Elluminate whiteboard and GWave also being completed. Online learning has arrived” @GillianP

That session flew by and was a great use of the power in the room.  A masterful job by George.  Great stuff.  And something that I believe he and I will be doing together in the future in some way.

Other than George’s session, most of the rest of the conference had active chat, but it was limited in many ways.  The time we had for open discussion didn’t seem to achieve that much discussion.  It rambled. 

My gut tells me that if I had designed things in a particular way, we could have had some truly amazing sessions.

So, please help me so that in a month when I’m designing future online sessions, I can come back here and design something great.

What are some ways that I can facilitate meaningful learning from others in the room during online sessions?

Have you seen examples of something that was powerful?

What conversation would you have wanted to have or see?

Please comment or post with ideas.  And if you don’t have an ideas, please just retweet to ask someone else for ideas?  And maybe come back in a day and see if some of the ideas help spark other ideas for you.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

eLearning Conferences 2010

You can find other posts about eLearning Conferences in eLearning Conferences 2011, eLearning Conferences 2010, and eLearning Conferences 2009.

Clayton R Wright just sent me his incredible annual list of eLearning Conferences. Clayton publishes this as a Word document but does not publish it as a web page and so we’ve somewhat established a pattern of published in here. You can contact him at:


December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

Information for the 2010 versions of the two conferences listed below was not available.

April 2010

Information for the 2010 versions of the two conferences listed below was not available.

May 2010

Information for the 2010 versions of the seven conferences listed below was not available.

June 2010

Information for the 2010 versions of the ten conferences listed below was not available.

  • June 1-3 2009 Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference: Designing New Learning Contexts for a Globalising World, 3rd, National Institute of Education, Singapore
  • June 3-5, 2009 International Conference on Interactive Design and Children, 8th, Milano, Como, Italy.
  • June 5-7, 2009 Japan Association for Language Teaching Computer Assisted Language Learning (JALTCALL 2009): Expanding Learner Potential – It’s Your Call!, Hongo Campus, Toyo Gakuen University, Japan.
  • June 8-10, 2009 Communicating Change: Weaving the Web into the Future, 7th annual, Arts and Humanities Graduate School, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, the United Kingdom.
  • June 10-12, 2009 International Problem-based Learning Symposium: What Are We Learning about Learning?, 2nd, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore
  • June 13-19, 2009 InfoComm09: Information Communications Marketplace, Orlando, Florida, USA.
  • June 16-17, 2009 Innovations in e-Information: the UKeIG 2009 State of the Art Conference, Manchester Conference Centre, Manchester, United Kingdom.
  • June 17-19, 2009 Sloan-C International Symposium on Emerging Technology Applications for Online Learning and Moodle Moot 2009, Hyatt Regency San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.
  • June 23-25, 2009 m-Libraries Conference, 2nd, hosted by the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. May be held again in 2010 or 2011.
  • June 28-July 3, 2009 IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo, Cancun Mexico.

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

  • January 4-7, 2011 Presidents Institute, sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges, Palm Springs, California, USA.
  • January 7-12, 2011 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, San Diego, California, USA.
  • January 9-12, 2011 Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education (ACUTA) Winter Seminar, Pointe Hilton Resort at Tapatio Cliffs, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.
  • January 30-February 1, 2011 American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) Transfer Conference, annual, New Orleans Marriott at the Convention Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
  • January 30-February 2, 2011 National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) Annual Conference, Washington, D.C., USA.

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

  • April 2-6, 2011 National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), Caribe Royal, Orlando, Florida, USA.
  • April 3-6, 2011 Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education (ACUTA) Annual Conference and Exhibition, 40th, Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort, Orlando, Florida, USA.

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

  • August 8-12, 2011 Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, SIGGRAPH 2011: International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, 38th, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
  • August ?, 2011 National Association for Media Literacy Education, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

September 2011

  • September 6-9, 2011 British Educational Research Association Conference, Institute of Education, London, United Kingdom.
  • September 13-15, 2011 International Conference on Education and Development, 11th, sponsored by British Department of International Development, Cambridge International, Aga Kahn Foundation, and Jeremy Greenland Bursary Trust, Oxford, the United Kingdom,

October 2011

  • October 2-5, 2011 International Council for Distance Education (ICDE) World Conference, 24th, hosted by Universitas Terbuka, Bali, Indonesia.
  • October 30-November 2, 2011 American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers Conference, 21st annual, Sheraton San Diego Hotel, San Diego, California, USA.

November 2011