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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Social Media for Knowledge Workers

Last week I had a presentation around using Social Media and Web 2.0 tools to improve your performance as a knowledge worker.  One of the questions that always comes up is:

How do I find more information to help me get started?

The answer is that this information is a bit hard to come by.  There’s a lot out there, but it’s often hard to find information that helps you get start.  This was a major reason that I started down the path with Work Literacy.  That said, I thought it would be worthwhile for me to collect a few of the resources that provide good starting points that can help Knowledge Workers improve their performance using Social Media.

Overview of Knowledge Work and Social Media

Keeping Track of Information

Handling the Flow of New Information

Networks, Communities and Collaboration


Personal Learning Environments

Some More Specific Tactics

I will try to come back and update this post as I find good introductory resources on this topic.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Twitter for Learning – 55 Great Articles

In a recent conversation, I was asked what I thought about twitter as a learning tool. Over the course of the past few years I’ve moved from saying “I don’t get it” – to feeling like it’s a good addition to my Learning Tool Set. But I also think that there’s a lot more help now around how to make effective use of Twitter as a learning tool. I thought it would be worthwhile to pull together these resources.

Twitter and Teaching

  1. Twitter Tips: for Teachers & Educators- Don't Waste Your Time, May 9, 2009
  2. Twitter in the classroom: 10 useful resources- Social Media in Learning, August 12, 2009
  3. Presentation: Twitter in Education- Don't Waste Your Time, May 12, 2009
  4. Adding Facebook and Twitter to student participation- Don't Waste Your Time, November 4, 2009
  5. Twitter in your Teaching- eLearning Acupuncture, September 24, 2009
  6. Twitter - A Teaching and Learning Tool
  7. How to use Twitter for Social Learning, March 20, 2010
  8. Teaching with Twitter, January 2, 2009

Tips on Twitter Use

  1. Twitter Cheat Sheet version 1.1 is up- Adventures in Corporate Education, April 18, 2009
  2. Facilitating a twitter chat- Joitske Hulsebosch eLearning, March 9, 2010
  3. To get Twitter you gotta Tweet!- Leveraging Learning, October 6, 2009
  4. 7 Creative Ways to Introduce Social Media to Your Team- Learning Putty, October 22, 2009
  5. 10 Tips to Get Started with Twitter- Learn and Lead, April 18, 2009
  6. Coping with Twitter- Learning Conversations, February 26, 2010
  7. Hashtags in Twitter and walls, fountains, ways to keep everyone's remarks in the picture- Ignatia Webs, May 15, 2009
  8. I'm on Twitter... Now What?- Business Casual, December 23, 2008
  9. Conversation + Twitter- Informal Learning, March 26, 2009
  10. Tweetdeck Makes Twitter Make Sense- Litmos, February 5, 2009

Twitter and Conferences, Webinars and Backchannel

  1. Twitter Conference Ideas- eLearning Technology, January 30, 2009
  2. Twitter and Webinars- eLearning Technology, May 14, 2009
  3. TWITTER - Backchannel conversations enlighten eLearning Community at DevLearn08, November 21, 2008
  4. The Backchannel, January 5, 2010
  5. This (how to present while people are twittering) is going to become a CRITICAL skill, March 7, 2009
  6. Presentation: from receive through react to interact, October 7, 2009
  7. The keynote and the harshtag, October 9, 2009

Twitter and eLearning

  1. Three Practical Ideas for Using Twitter in E-Learning- Rapid eLearning Blog
  2. Twitter Captivate Integration, eLearning Technology,Tuesday, December 15, 2009

People to Follow on Twitter

  1. Top 100 Educators to follow on Twitter- Dont Waste Your Time, June 18, 2009
  2. The Juiciest Learning Professionals on Twitter?- ZaidLearn, April 20, 2009
  3. Indian Learning Professionals on Twitter- Learn and Lead, May 25, 2009
  4. Jane Hart’s Connexions

Using Twitter as a Learning Tool especially for Learning Professionals

  1. Twitter for Learning- Learning Journeys, November 27, 2008
  2. The use of Twitter (and other social media) for Learning- Social Media in Learning, December 6, 2009
  3. Three months a-Twittering- Clive on Learning, March 10, 2009
  4. Twitter as Personal Learning and Work Tool- eLearning Technology, January 21, 2009
  5. Twitter for learning- Sticky Learning, October 25, 2009
  6. 10 Ways To Learn In 2010- The eLearning Coach, January 3, 2010
  7. What I learn from #lrnchat- Bozarthzone , November 1, 2009
  8. Twittering, Not Frittering: Professional Development in 140 Characters | Edutopia, December 29, 2008
  9. Learning to Twitter, Tweeting to Learn, Danny Silva, March 1, 2009

Twitter Guides

  1. Quick Start Guide to Twitter
  2. Twitter Newbies Guide
  3. 10 reasons why Twitter will help improve your already existing networks
  4. Newbie's guide to Twitter

Twitter Tools

  1. 101 Twitter Tools – an insane list, Marc Meyer, September 8, 2009
  2. The Ultimate List of Twitter Tools, Social Media Guide, May 30, 2009


  1. What Makes Yammer Different?- MinuteBio, December 20, 2009
  2. Using Yammer- Learning Conversations, March 15, 2010
  3. Yammer- Internet Time, September 20, 2008
  4. Micro-blogging at Work, May 30, 2009

More on Twitter for Learning

  1. Business applications of Twitter- E-learning in the Corporate Sector, September 3, 2009

  2. Collaborative learning using Captivate and Twitter- Adobe Captivate Blog, December 11, 2009

  3. Twitter Learning- eLearning Technology, April 30, 2009

  4. Twitter Hating - Bamboo Project, March 26, 2009

  5. Twitter – does it help?- subQuark, June 14, 2009
  6. Twitter Collaboration Stories

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Creative Commons Use in For-Profit Company eLearning?

As part of the Big Question this month Open Content in Workplace Learning?, I’m exploring whether Open Content can be used by for-profit companies.  And, since Open Content comes in under the Creative Commons license structure.  Actually, I’m curious if Open Content ever is not Creative Commons?  It’s by definition Open, but theoretically you could choose a different open license. I’ve just never seen it.

In any case, to understand the use of Open Content, it’s important to understand Creative Commons licensing.

Creative Commons Licensing Terms

Creative Commons licensing terms.  All CC licenses start with:

  • Attribution (CC-BY) – Allows others to copy, distribute, display and perform a copyrighted work – and derivative
    works based upon it – but only if they give credit. All CC licenses contain this condition.

Licenses may have one or more of the following permissions or restrictions:

  • Non-Commercial (NC) - Allows copy, distribute, display and perform a work – and derivative works
    based upon it – but for non-commercial purposes only.
  • Share Alike (SA) - Allows others to distribute derivative works but only only under the same conditions as the original license.
  • No Derivative Works (ND) – Allows copy, distribute, display, and perform only verbatim copies of the work, but not make derivative works based on it.

These get combined into one of six licenses:

  • Attribution (CC-BY)
  • Attribution Share Alike (CC-BY-SA)
  • Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
  • Attribution Non-Commercial (CC-BY-NC)
  • Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike (CC-BY-NC-SA)
  • Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Licenses on Open Content

I took a bit of a sampling of various sources of content found via the OER Commons and from the OCW Consortium:

There’s a definite pattern here.  Most of the OCW content appears to come under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence.  There were a few exceptions such as Stanford Engineering Everywhere with a CC-BY license.

But, I think this really turns into a question of the implications of CC-BY-NC-SA.

Implications of Noncommercial Use

Creative Commons noncommercial licenses disallow “commercial use” – i.e., they preclude the use:

… in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.

From what I’ve read, it’s intentionally fuzzy what this exactly means and I am by no means an expert (or a lawyer) around this stuff.

Creative Commons themselves conducted a study to understand commonly held interpretation of this definition – which is itself important from a practical standpoint.

The study itself tells us that people generally consider the following unacceptable:

  • Promotional use (advertising)
  • Use makes money

Perception is that greater scrutiny is required as you move from:

  • Private or individual,
  • Charitable or social good,
  • Non-profit,
  • For-profit

In other words, generally use by an individual (i.e., self-study is considered okay).  If it’s for a charity, social good or non-profit, you are generally safe if you are not making direct revenue / donations from it.

I interpret that putting up links as a means for employees to access the content themselves would generally be considered safe.  I would be curious if anyone disagrees with this.  Of course, you can always find a corporate attorney who doesn’t want to do that even, but you probably can’t access common websites from that company either.

Here’s the tricky questions.  Maybe there are clear cut answers, I just don’t know what they are. 

What if I want to use the course content or part of the course content to teach employees or partners behind the firewall.  Is that commercial use?

A question from the study:

“Work would be used by a for-profit company, but no money would be made”

  • Definitely commercial - ~33%
  • Can’t say - ~40%
  • Definitely noncommercial - ~27%

Shows that people are generally split on the question of whether the scenario I describe is considered commercial or noncommercial.  So it’s a bit of a gray area.  And likely it’s even fuzzier based on whether you are linking, copying, modifying, etc.

Any thoughts on the practical answer here?  If I want to create eLearning for use by my employees, can I use CC-BY-NC content as part of it?  Under what conditions?

Implications of Share Alike

Share Alike has some interesting challenges in interpretation for this situation as well.  From the Creative Commons FAQ:

If you are combining a work licensed under a ShareAlike license condition, you need to make sure that you are happy and able to license the resulting work under the same license conditions as the original work.

This suggests that if you use ShareAlike licensed materials in a course for your employees, then the resulting work must be licensed the same way. 

There’s a lot of gray around this as well.  First, likely the course is being provided only behind your firewall.  There’s nothing specifically that I can see that says you have to distribute the resulting work or make it widely available.  However, there is a clause that causes a bit of concern:

You may not impose any effective technological measures on the Work that restrict the ability of a recipient of the Work from You to exercise the rights granted to that recipient under the terms of the License.

Of course, the license would allow anyone with access to the work to distribute it themselves.  Thus, an employee could theoretically make a copy and distribute it.  Doubtful that an employee would do this, but since it would be consistent with the license, I’m not sure you could pursue.

In practice, I’m pretty sure you would want to approach the use of this content a bit differently.  If you are taking ShareAlike content and either using a subset or modifying it, you might just want to create a derivative work that is ShareAlike on its own.  It can be fully redistributed, and you wouldn’t care.  Then you can link to that work within your broader course.

It’s somewhat a loose coupling of content, but it is consistent with the spirit of the ShareAlike license.  Create new, public works based on the original work.  Don’t put stuff in that new work that is specific to your organization that you don’t want shared.  That creates a new ShareAlike work.  And you can link to a public instance of that.

If you think about it, having a large collection of these smaller chunks that could be used by employees probably could provide value to others.

Question for Images and Other Content

Of course this same question comes up about a whole lot of other content.  For example, Flickr provides access to images according to Creative Commons license.  See Flickr Creative Commons.  The images under the Attribution license obviously give you a fair bit of freedom to use in your eLearning.  How about those under Noncommercial?  Can you put one of those images inside your internal corporate training as long as you provide attribution?

It’s really the same question as the noncommercial use as described above.

ShareAlike would seem to be a bit problematic for images.  You are very likely using it as a copy inside the course.  Doesn’t that run you into the problem described above?


Again, I’m by no means an expert on this stuff, nor an attorney.  But what would be good is to have some people who know more about this weigh in with help on how to proceed.

I’m also curious to find out what corporate attorneys are deciding around this?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

LMS Solution for Simple Partner Compliance Training

Background / Requirements

I’m just starting consulting with a company that has a single course (might eventually be broken into a few different course) that needs to be delivered to an audience of 600-1000 partners as part of a larger certification process.  Thus, they need to be able to report back out who’s completed the courses.  Courses will be authored using a Rapid Authoring Tool.  This may grow to be a little bit more than this, but likely not much.

So, that’s a pretty simple set of LMS requirements.  It worries me just a bit that I might be missing something important that will turn into a Learning Management Systems (LMS) Selection Gotcha?

Fast Selection

And while this wasn’t the basis for the post One Week to Select an LMS – No Way, it’s a situation where I’m not seeing the need to spend a lot of time going into a detailed selection process. But it’s almost like my background with and knowledge of all the different LMS products (see LMS Satisfaction Features and Barriers, Low Cost Learning Management Systems, Rapid Learning Management Systems and Open Source Learning Management Systems) feels like it’s hurting me in this task. 

Current Thinking

So, without a lot of thought, here’s what I’m currently thinking and I hope folks will weigh in…

I was a little surprised when I realized how much some of the mainstream SaaS LMS products (Articulate Online,, etc.) would cost.  Something like $500/mo.  And we wouldn’t really be using much of the functionality.

We are definitely considering doing something like a hosted Moodle solution.  Pricing is very attractive on some of these.  However, the interface and user interaction doesn’t quite align with what we want.  Still , it’s definitely in the running and other than interface, I’m not sure what I’d get with other LMS solutions that I don’t get with Moodle. 

I’m also looking at whether we could just put the content on one of the social learning hubs such as LearnHub, Coggno, odijoo which seem to offer a way to put this up for a very attractive price (Free).  We have the advantage that the content here is not sensitive, so if someone else took it, more power to them.  I don’t have direct experience with these systems and worry a bit about the risk associated with doing it this way.  Thoughts?  Anyone have much experience using these social learning hubs for that kind of purpose?

What else should I consider?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Does the Big Question Make Sense Anymore?

I’ve been facilitating the Big Question on ASTD’s Learning Circuit’s blog since sometime in 2006.  Last month’s big question was Instruction in a Information Snacking Culture?  The question was all about how we consume and work with information:

People seem to be spending less time going through information in depth and less willing to spend time on information. We seem to be snacking on information, not consuming it in big chunks.

In Stop Reading - Skim Dive Skim and that seems to be how people consume blog posts much more these days. I've also noticed a trend towards more twitter mentions of blog posts, but less deep commenting behavior much less thoughtful blog responses.

One of the comments was really telling:

Reading this blog has been an example of snacking for me.

I am very interested in the post and thoughts it provokes and read down the comments (skimmed) but when it came to links to other blogs I did not use them.

And since many of the responses provided (in comments and via blog posts) suggested that snacking is just fine, it seems hypocritical to say - “Well that kind of defeats a key purpose of the Big Question.”  But it does (and I am).  The point is for us to have an exchange of ideas around a topic.  But if no one reads the responses or exchanges ideas, then what’s the point?

I personally still feel like I get value.  If there are some meaningful responses to this month’s question Open Content in Workplace Learning?, I will likely learn a lot.  Please still do respond to it.  And if you don’t know about Open Content – take this as an opportunity to learn.

Still I have to wonder if we need to revisit the approach and value proposition.  Maybe we need to look at other ways of doing this?

Thoughts, suggestions?