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Monday, December 14, 2009

Learned about Learning in 2009

It’s always fun at the end of the year to go back and take a look at what you’ve been working on, what you’ve learned during the year.  I’ve been doing this the past few years.  And as part of this, I’ve been taking advantage of: 2009 Predictions How Did I Do?, 2009 Top Posts and Topics, Top 125 Workplace eLearning Posts of 2009 and just running through my blog posts for the year.

Knowledge Work Skills / Work Literacy

Having realized in 2007 that there's a very important Knowledge Worker Skill Gap, I felt the need in 2008 to find ways to help knowledge workers  and organizations build skills like Leveraging Networks, Network Feedback, Finding Expertise, Using Social Media to Find Answers to Questions, Learning through Conversation and searching, scanning, etc. In June 2008, Work Literacy Launched.

2009 has continued that effort.  I’m convinced that we are all struggling to have our Work Skills Keep Up.  And many of my 2009 Top Posts and Topics are related to exactly this.

Also, a lot of my presentations have been about exactly these things.

When I look at my particular skills, methods and tools for 2009 and compare them to 2008, I would say that it’s mostly a question of degree of use and certainly my use of Twitter has grown.  See also: Twitter Conference Ideas and Twitter and Webinars. I will say that adopting TweetDeck on both my desktop and my iPhone has made it a much better tool for me.

Online Sessions / Conferences / Discussions => Now Visible Networking

I’ve seen during 2009 a real growth in the ability to spark up interesting discussions as online sessions.  During the year, I’ve had fantastic conversations through LearnTrends around SharePoint, Examples and Tour of Different Kinds of eLearning, Social Learning, and the Business of Learning.  Each of these allowed me to fast forward my learning and share knowledge effectively.

However, during 2009, I had a bit of an aha moment.  It came during a presentation when I said:

It's a much better use of my time to use LinkedIn to spark a conversation than it is to go to networking events.

I realized that a lot of the networking that I had done in person in the past could move online and actually be a much more effective use of time.  And a lot of that networking could be public.  So, why not look to make this more explicit and effective?

I started calling this Visible Networking.  This is still relatively new as a name, but it’s something that I’ve been doing for a few years now.  Naming it allows me to better understand it and move it forward.

If you think about it, Twitter, Blog Comments, etc. are all forms of visible networking.  Instead of networking in private, make it a visible conversation online so that everyone can benefit.  And it can turn into great things like: Discussion Forums for Knowledge Sharing at Capital City Bank.

eLearning 2.0 Morphing Into Social Learning and Informal Learning

In the post, Hot Topics in eLearning for 2009, the top two hottest topics across all the eLearning Learning blogs were Twitter and various forms of social/informal learning, especially as it relates to the use of technology to support this.  eLearning 2.0 was considered a hot term in 2007 and 2008, but not in 2009.  For me, it was still one of my top terms, but I’ve found myself discussing things in other ways as well.  I think as we’ve moved past the idea that this stuff has impact, we’ve begun to discuss it in a different way.

I don’t actually think using the terms “social learning” or “informal learning” is the right way to go about selling this stuff either. 

Instead, during 2009, I’ve decided to always be a “Jack” … if you don’t know what that means or what it means about selling social learning then you should look at: Selling Learning Communities – Not Everyone Will or Wants a Group Hug.

It’s something I’ve said in a lot of presentations – you pick a specific, smart target and it’s a “no duh” decision.  Now I have a better way to say it.  Thanks Jack!

Using Topic Hubs to Speed My Learning

In 2008, I launched eLearning Learning. It basically takes what people in the world of eLearning are already doing and turns it into a resource that helps surface the best stuff.  It was great to help me better keep track of what was going on in a world that I know pretty well.

In 2009, I realized that this same approach is even more valuable for areas where I want to learn more as I described in Learning, Extended Brain and Topic Hubs.  So, I have been heavily leveraging the system and working with partners who are gurus in a space to fast forward my learning on diverse topics such as: Community and Networks, Mobile Learning, Nonprofit Marketing, Nonprofit Technology, HR Technology, B2B Marketing, and Professional Speaking.

There’s something really interesting going on here that I’ve not quite figured out.  It’s very powerful stuff and an important extension to my PWLE.

I’m a little surprised that I didn’t get more response to Curator Editor Research Opportunities on eLearning Learning but it may be that other people learn in a very different way.

Slow Dramatic Shifts in the Business of Learning

I really think we are going through some pretty dramatic shifts as described in the Business of Learning and covered more in posts such as Update on Future of Business of Learning, New Learning Solutions, Marginalized, and Free.

There’s always going to be a need for certain kinds of training and traditional learning.  But the economic realities and environment suggests a pretty dramatic shift going on here.

It’s going to cause us to think about models in very different ways such as how Intuit has Outsourced Training to Customers.

Learning Event?  Work Event?

There was a really great case study by HP during one of the Learn Trends sessions that described how they took marketing professionals from across the organization, taught them some basics about Web 2.0 tools, and then helped them engage in conversation around what it means to HP.  This was hosted by the learning organization, but it looked more like a research, innovation project than a learning event.  The outcomes really weren’t known at the start.  The goal was to actually define some meaningful results for the business.

Grow My Virtual Meeting, Collaboration Skills

I was reminded during 2009, that I need to be in a continuous learning mode around building my skills for effective virtual meetings, collaboration, presentations, etc.  Several of my posts during the year were around this such as Learning from Others in the Room, Narrowing Gap between Face-to-Face and Online Presentations, Presentation Backchannel Multitasking, Twitter Conference Ideas.

Final Aha Moments

Need for more eLearning Portal Integration.

There’s bias around Profile Photos and an Email Address Bias.


V Yonkers said...

In reviewing what you focused on this year, I am surprised that you did not have more on assessment and ways to measure learning (especially informal learning). I remember this being an issue of great importance at the end of last year and I think this will be the trend as the training department (and business of training) changes.

Unknown said...

Thanks Tony - Great timing for me to read your blog as I am starting to look at Social learning for our organization. I think I have my work cut out for the next week/month!!

Chris said...


I’m interested in advertising software engineer/dev jobs on your site. Please contact me when you get a chance.


Tony Karrer said...

@Virginia - great point! Let me think about the implications there. I think it aligns with Be a Jack.

@Paula C - if you have questions, let me know.

@Chris - they are located in Los Angeles. Drop me an email if you are interested.

YiYao Zhou Hall said...

Our teacher group is trying (experimenting) with various online learning tools. One is for our 7th graders. It is a form of elearning. We'll let you know how it works.

JV said...


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