Wherever happened to performance support?

Where did the dinosaurs go? The most respected scientific speculation today suggests that most dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago when a massive asteroid collided with earth. One group of dinosaurs did survive the asteroid crash: Today we call them birds.

And what happened to performance support (PS)?

In the 1990s, many people expected performance to shove technical training into the shadows. Yet e-learning, blended learning, and virtual worlds seemed to have elbowed performance support into oblivion. Recent research finds that this is not the case. Performance support is stronger than ever; it simply hiding in plain sight, having taken on a new form.

Performance support is blossoming in organizations today under the Web 2.0 label.

Making information available to workers instead of forcing them to memorize it? That’s how we use Google and corporate wikis and instant messenger.

Gloria Gery sought easy, immediate, individualized online access to information, software, guidance, advice and assistance. Learnscape architects have implemented miniature versions of the Internet behind corporate firewalls that provide all of these things, from peer-rated FAQs to
wizards to online help desks to best practices repositories.

We have given up the idea that competence must exist within the person. Competence exists
within our collaborators and within the ‘net. George Siemens and others have given up on the
idea that knowledge resides within individuals’ heads; it’s collective intelligence. The information, rules, and knowledge that used to be spread all over the place can often be found by the in-house Google appliance. What used to be out of reach is now a keystroke
away.

A powerful form of performance support is asking someone who knows. Expertise locators direct workers to the person most likely to have the answer they seek. Presence awareness software shows whether that person is online, mobile, in a meeting, or available by phone. Instant messaging facilitates swapping brief questions or asking if the person has time to deal with a more complex question. Overall, what are corporate blogs, feeds, aggregators, wikis, mash-ups, locator systems, collaboration environments, and widgets, if not performance support?

Ten years ago, at the Online Learning Conference in Anaheim, Gery declared that “Training will be strategic or training will be marginalized.” Most CLOs chose the second option and ceded PS to others. It is high time for CLOs to start looking at the entire learnscape. We are overdue to be mindful that in terms of effectiveness, performance support often trumps training. As Gery said, “Learning must be re-conceived to influence the primary purpose of organization: to perform effectively and efficiently. Good design puts what workers need to do their jobs within easy reach and shows how to use them to optimize performance.”

Here’s the full story of performance support.

Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Enterprise 2.0 Graphics

These marvelous explanatory graphics come from Dion Hinchcliffe.

SLATES is Andy McAfee’s original set of parameters for Enterprise 2.0:

Dion Hinchcliffe elaborates on SLATES:

FLATNESSES is a stretch as a mnemonic but it captures more of the evolving essence of 2.0:

By mid-2008, Hinchcliffe is zeroing in on the missed opportunities of social networking:

Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Elements of the learnscape mash-up

Internet values: connections, edges, peers, transparency, beta forever, long tail, loose coupling, intangibles, user participation/peer production

Platform standards: SLATES, FLATNESSES, interop/plug-ins, open id, the cloud,

Web 2.0 technologies like blogs, wikis, tags, RSS, and open APIs, web widgets

Business: enterprise 2.0, collective intelligence, it’s all of us, two-way

More business: unlearning secrecy, control, size, role clarity, functional specialization

Learning: sense-making, conversation, story, collaboration, mistakes, mimicry, know-who, know-how, performance support, brain fitness

Environmental change: interconnections, speed, volatility, self-organization, ubiquity, long-tail

Continue Reading »

Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Enterprise 2.0

Dion Hinchcliffe provided a great definition of Enterprise 2.0 in October 2007. He says enterprise 2.0 is essentially the use of web 2.0 platforms in the workplace.

The primary topic of interest? Whether Enterprise 2.0 brings real bang for the buck by making the daily work of organizations measurably more productive, efficient, and innovati

Evidence from Bill Ives:

Enterprise 2.0 Success Stories from Awareness

Enterprise Wiki Success Story from Janssen-Cilag

Making Wikis Work at Novell

An Enterprise 2.0 Poster Child in the IT Department

User Generated Content Success at Little League Baseball

Enterprise Blog and Wiki Success Story from Traction Software – UK’s National Health Service (NHS) Orkney

Another Enterprise Blog and Wiki Success Story from Traction – Shore Bank

Enterprise 2.0 Examples of Managing Projects in the Tools and Food Industries

Enterprise 2.0 Success Stories on the New Sharepoint.

Andy McAfee

Professor Andrew McAfee of Harvard Business School famously introduced the term and concepts behind Enterprise 2.0…. Initially defined by McAfee as “the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers”, the broader global community has attempt to expand, reinvent, and co-opt Enterprise 2.0 with varying degrees of success. But the essential, core meaning has largely stayed the same: Social applications that are optional to use, free of unnecessary structure, highly egalitarian, and support many forms of data.

Tim O’Reilly

A true Web 2.0 application is one that gets better the more people use it. Google gets smarter every time someone makes a link on the web. Google gets smarter every time someone makes a search. It gets smarter every time someone clicks on an ad. And it immediately acts on that information to improve the experience for everyone else. It’s for this reason that I argue that the real heart of Web 2.0 is harnessing collective intelligence.

Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

PowerPoint as learning tool

PowerPoint is the program we love to hate. In the wrong hands, it can create sustained boredom. Used wisely, it’s a get authoring environment.


In one of his first staff meetings after joining IBM, Lou Gerstner flipped off the Powerpoint projector and said, “Let’s just talk about business.” Candor replaced puffery.


Slide after slide of bulleted sentence fragments is an awful thing to endure. If the speaker giving the presentation reads them to you word for word, it makes a bad spectacle even worse. Regardless of these unpleasantries, PowerPoint has become the language of business.

PowerPoint also happens to be learning’s most popular authoring tool. Many software packages enable learning and development leaders to narrate a PowerPoint presentation and upload it to the Web. The problem is that if live lectures are ineffective, prerecorded ones online are going to be even more ineffective. Unfortunately, being a subject-matter expert doesn’t necessarily make someone an expert public speaker. Sadly, many experts think the purpose of a PowerPoint presentation is to expose the audience to content and pure information–as if emotion plays no part in getting a message across.

However, it makes no more sense to blame PowerPoint for boring presentations than to blame fountain pens for forgery.

Steve Denning, the author of several books on storytelling, recalls not being able to get fully engaged into someone’s PowerPoint presentation. He recognized that PowerPoint can be too concrete, and therefore, he abandoned PowerPoint in his own presentations in favor of telling stories. No one missed it. When you hear a powerful story, you internalize it. Your imagination makes it your story, and that’s something that will stick with you.

It makes no more sense to blame PowerPoint for boring prsentations than to blame fountain pens for forgery.

Cliff Atkinson‘s book Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations That Inform, Motivate and Inspire shows how to use Hollywood’s script-writing techniques to focus your ideas, how to use storyboards to establish clarity and how to properly produce the script so that it best engages the audience.

Atkinson recently told me the story of a presentation that made a $250 million difference. Attorney Mark Lanier pled the case against Merck in the first Vioxx-related death trial, brought by the widow of a man who died of a heart attack that she believed was caused by the painkiller. Before preparing his presentation, he read Beyond Bullet Points, and invited Atkinson to Houston to lend a hand in putting his presentation together.

“We used the three-step approach from the book,” Atkinson said. “Then (Lanier’s) flawless delivery took the experience beyond what I imagined possible. He masterfully framed his argument with an even flow of projected images and blended it with personal stories, physical props, a flip chart, a tablet PC, a document projector and a deeply personal connection with his audience.”

Fortune magazine’s coverage of the trial describing Lanier’s presentation said, “The attorney for the plaintiff presented simple and emotional stories that strongly contrasted with Merck’s appeals to colorless reason. Fortune reported that Lanier ‘gave a frighteningly powerful and skillful opening statement. Speaking, without notes and in gloriously plain English, and accompanying nearly every point with imaginative, easily understood (if often hokey) slides and overhead projections, Lanier, a part-time Baptist preacher, took on Merck and its former CEO Ray Gilmartin with merciless, spellbinding savagery.”

Lanier’s technique was persuasive and aimed to get the jurors to believe in his “simple, alluring and emotionally cathartic stories, versus Merck’s appeals to colorless, heavy-going, soporific reason. Lanier is inviting the jurors to join him on a bracing mission to catch a wrongdoer and bring him to justice.” The Texas jury awarded the widow $253.4 million.

You may be thinking, “I don’t have time to do something that elaborate.” Put that in perspective: If you spend months on a complex project, isn’t it worth a few days to wrap up the results into an effective presentation? If you’re using PowerPoint as an authoring system, remember this: A presentation and self-directed learning are two totally different experiences, and the fact that they both may be in PowerPoint doesn’t change that. For compelling presentations, follow the advice in Beyond Bullet Points. And for training that works, follow the tenets of sound instructional design.


Dave Snowden’s story of planning a girl’s birthday party captures the essence of why informal learning trumps corporate claptrap every time:

Imagine organising a birthday party for a group of young children. Would you agree a set of learning objectives with their parents in advance of the party? Would those objectives be aligned with the mission statement for education in the society to which you belong

Would you create a project plan for the party with clear milestones associated with empirical measures of achievement? Would you start the party with a motivational video so that the children did not waste time in play not aligned with the learning objectives? Would you use PowerPoint to demonstrate to the children that their pocket money is linked to achievement of the empirical measures at each milestone? Would you conduct an after action review at the end of the party, update your best practice database and revise standard operation procedures for party management?

No, instead like most parents you would create barriers to prevent certain types of behaviour, you would use attractors (party games, a football, a videotape) to encourage the formation of beneficial largely self organising identities; you would disrupt negative patterns early, to prevent the party becoming chaotic, or necessitating the draconian imposition of authority. At the end of the party you would know whether it had been a success, but you could not define (in other than the most general terms) what that success would look like in advance.


In April 2007, I took part in a panel discussion on The Future of Rapid eLearning Tools. As rapid eLearning (the rapidity is development time, not learning time) had not been on my radar; I approached the topic with beginner’s mind. Usually the approach is to run PowerPoint decks through a software app for display on the web.

How did this approach come about? I trace the genesis back to the late nineties. A training manager who wasn’t going to develop content around a topic from a meeting would make the PowerPoint deck available. Ninety percent had neither sound nor notes. I learn about as much from looking at someone else’s silent PowerPoint presentation as I do from looking at inkblots, yet training directors included this crap in their listings of courses and workshops to bulk up the appearance of what they had to offer.

When is it appropriate to use rapid eLearning development tools? For procedural, how-topics. For things you have to get out the door right away. And I see e-information applications in addition to eLearning. “Information is not instruction,” but sometimes information is all you need.

While no one came out and said it, rapid eLearning can cut the instructional designer out of the process. One member of the audience cautioned against letting the rapid tools fall into the wrong hands. Another said it would be disastrous if content were developed outside of the watchful eye of an instructional designer. It wouldn’t be “real training.” You betcha.

We are learn from one another. In communities. Peer learning. Why deny people tools for formatting and consistency? Clive Shepherd pointed out that this would be a marketing bonanza for the vendors. Get everyone creating content. Millions upon millions of potential customers….

My major ah-ha’s were that Articulate, Adobe Contribute, and Qarbon can play a major role in sharing knowledge and democratizing content. My wish list would include easy assignment of tags. I’d also like to see a content rating system that kicks in automatically. As Wayne Hodgins has said, there’s no excuse not to associate a rating with every scrap of digital content. Another person wanted to be able to pluck (or add) one slide at a time from an existing presentation.

People were concerned about keeping track of swarms of small rapid eLearning chunks. Chris Willis brought up the good old days of Authorware, when everything was right there in one package. Unfortunately, those monoliths were difficult to update and required skilled programmers/designers.

My picture of the future mimics the loose coupling of the web. “Small pieces, loosely bound.” Today’s rapid eLearning tools may evolve into the platform where the small pieces are made.


Slide:ology, Nancy Duarte’s online resources. (Think Al Gore’s eco presentation)
Pecha Kucha Night
Presentations consisting of 20 slides, each shown for 20 seconds
http://www.pecha-kucha.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pecha_Kucha
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/15-09/st_pechakucha

PowerPoint Karaoke
“The person in front of the room launches into a completely impromptu talk from a PowerPoint slide deck she has never seen before. The results are openly, gleefully absurd.”
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/03/02/slide_show/
http://www.zentrale-intelligenz-agentur.de/powerpointkaraoke.html

PowerPoint Does Rocket Science
(aka Did PowerPoint Crash the Space Shuttle?)
Edward Tufte addresses the question, “Does PowerPoint’s cognitive style affect the quality of engineering analysis?” REQUIRED READING.
http://ur1.ca/0y3
also see: http://www.edwardtufte.com/tufte/books_pp

OSCON 2005 Keynote – Identity 2.0
Dick Hardt’s original rapid-fire visual/spoken presentation, emulated later by many.
http://identity20.com/media/OSCON2005/

The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint
Guy Kawasaki’s advice for pitching VCs via PowerPoint. More about VC pitches than PowerPoint, but the 10/20/30 rule is a good one.
http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2005/12/the_102030_rule.html

Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information
David Byrne’s PowerPoint Art
http://www.davidbyrne.com/art/eeei/
http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2005/03/08_byrne.shtml

In Defense of PowerPoint
Don Norman’s essay. “… don’t blame the tool for a poorly prepared, poorly presented talk.”
http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/in_defense_of_p.html

case examples
Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Top-down to loosely coordinated: institutions vs collaboration

Clay Shirky: Institutions vs. collaboration

How to gather pictures of the Mermaid Parade, a very esoteric event a Coney Island? Classic answer would be to form an institution. This takes management, structure, and costs; it’s gong to be limited because you can’t afford everything. You also create a professional class, photographers.

On the other hand, you might leave the individuals where they are. Have them tag (label) photos they upload to an online photo service (Flickr). You arrange the coordination in the group. You can’t control things but it doesn’t cost much.

Flickr replaced planning with coordination. (Like when you got your mobile phone.) Now you can decide as you go.

Consider Open Source. Sparks of genius way out on the long tail can make a change that improves Linux forever. This should put institutions like Microsoft into cardiac arrest.

Blogs are an example of mass amateurization. Are bloggers journalists? It doesn’t matter. That’s the wrong question.

Once the infrastructure becomes generically available, the logic of the support group is revealed to be accessible to anyone, negative and well as possible.

This is a revolution because there’s a change in equilibrium. The printing press kicked off 200 years of chaos. This time: maybe 50 years in which loosely coordinated groups gain high leverage. Since we can see this coming, we might as well get good at it.

books
Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Dump lectures

10 reasons to dump lectures

Donald Clark says, “I give a lot of talks at conferences but always make it clear that this no way to deliver learning. Unfortunately people are addicted to the format. Why? It’s easy just to turn up and listen. It’s a lazy format for lazy learners. Also, I’m astonished at the number of people who turn up for conferences talks and take no notes. It’s is like turning up for a tennis match with no racquet.

This brings me to the one-hour format. Conference talks, lectures in universities, periods in schools and the ‘one-hour’ of e-learning pricing model, all of these fall foul of the deep addiction to the ‘hour of learning’ delivered as a lectures”

1. Babylonian hour: we only have hours because of the Babylonian base-60 number system. It has nothing to do with the psychology of learning.

2. Passive observers: lectures turn students into passive observers. Research shows that participation increases learning, yet few lecturers do this (Brophy & Good, 1986; Fisher & Berliner, 1985; Greenwood, Delquadri, & Hall, 1984).

3. Attention fall-off: our ability to retain information falls off badly after 10-20 minutes. The simple insertion of three ‘two-minute pauses’ led to a difference of two letter grades in a short and long-term recall test (1987, Winter).

4. Note-taking: lectures rely on note taking, yet note-taking is seldom taught, massively reducing their effectiveness (Saski, Swicegood, & Carter, 1983).

5. Disabilities: even slight disabilities in listening, language or motor skills make lectures ineffective, as it is difficult to focus, discriminate and note-take quickly enough in a lecture (Hughes & Suritsky, 1994).

6. One bite at cherry: if something is not understood on first exposure there’s no opportunity to pause, reflect of get clarification. This ‘one bite of the cherry’ approach to learning is against all that we know in the psychology of learning.

7. Cognitive overload: lecturers load up talks with too much detail leading to cognitive overload. In addition they often go ‘off on one’, with tangential material.

8. Tyranny of location: you have to go to a specific place to hear a lecture. This wastes huge amounts of time.

9. Tyranny of time: you have to turn up at a specific time to hear a lecture.

10. Poor presentation: many lecturers have neither the personality nor skills to hold the audience’s attention.

‘Lectures were once useful; but now, when all can read, and books are so numerous, lectures are unnecessary. If your attention fails, and you miss a part of a lecture, it is lost; you cannot go back as you do upon a book’ Samuel Johnson

I am an unabashed fan of Donald. This is one of my favorites from his Plan B blog

Cognition
how people learn
Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Visualization

Visualization is transformative. Humans learn twice as well from images and words as from words alone. Pictures translate across cultures, education levels, and age groups. Yet the majority of the content of corporate learning is text. Schools spend years on verbal literacy and but hours on visual literacy. It is high time for us to open our eyes to the possibilities.

Visual literacy accelerates learning because the richness of the whole picture can be taken in at a glance. Visual metaphors unleash new ideas and spark innovation. Having a sharper eye increases the depth of one’s perception and enjoyment.


Find more videos like this on Internet Time

The Graphic Learning Gallery at Learning 2006

Envisioning

How to Transform an Organization with Visual Learning

See What I Mean, eLearning Magazine

Sight Mammals, T+D Magazine, 2002

From presentations to conversations, Dave Gray

Center for Visual Learning

visualizations

Jay’s old concept images

Visual Thinking school

Isabel Pedersen’s amazing bibliography on visual thinking

Understanding Marcel Duchamp

Powers Of 10

Dave Gray: Think Visual

Viz Think

xplane

bblog

xblog

Dave Gray, Communications Nation

Brian Narrelle

Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Serious Games

Clark Quinn has developed instructional games for decades. Here’s his take on the situation today.

Serious Games (or, to be Politically Correct™, Immersive Learning Simulations) have hit the corporate learning mainstream, so you should be asking yourself: “why are people excited?” Quite simply, because games (I’m not PC™) are probably the most pragmatically effective learning practice you can get. Sure, mentored real performance is the ideal, but there are two potential hiccups: scaling individual mentors has proven to be unrealistically expensive, and mistakes in live practice often are expensive, dangerous, or both. Why do you think we have flight simulators?

For principled reasons, the best learning practice is contextualized, motivating, and challenging. Interestingly, so are the most engaging experiences. It turns out that the elements that cause effective educational practice line up perfectly with those that create engaging experiences. Thus, we can safely say that learning should be ‘hard fun’.

Then the issue becomes if we can do this reliably, repeatably, and on a cost-effective basis. It turns out that the answer to this question is also in the affirmative. While you can’t just shove gamers and educators in a room and expect the result to work (all the bad examples that led to ‘edutainment’ becoming a bad word are evidence), if they understand the alignment above, systematically follow a creative process (no, systematic creativity is not an oxymoron; why do we have brainstorming processes?), and are willing to take time to ‘tune’ the result, we can do this reliably.

The question is really: when to use games. The answer for engine-driven (read: programmed, variable) games is when we have a need for deep practice: when there are complex relationships to explore, or making the change will be really hard. Branching scenarios are useful when we want to experience some contextualized practice but we don’t need a lot of it. And the principles suggest that at minimum, we should write better multiple-choice questions that put learners into contexts where they must make decisions where they’re applying the knowledge, not just reciting it.

And, yes, we can spend millions of dollars (I can help), but for many needs we may not need to. While there isn’t any one tool that lets us do this, there are a number of cost-effective ways to develop and deliver on the resulting design. As I say “if you get the design right, there are lots of ways to implement it; if you don’t get the design right, it doesn’t matter how you implement it”.

Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Papa Bear

PAPA BEAR
Papa Bear, sometimes known as executive management, has slept through Baby’s and Mama’s online collaborative campaigns. Sleep is good, he thinks to himself. Having been around long enough to be sporting an occasional grey hair, Papa’s nose tells him something important is going on.

Papa Bear’s primary concern is milking online collaboration and Enterprise 2.0 for all they are worth. He knows it’s important for workers, clients, and partners to connect and collaborate. Papa Bear wants to be certain he’s leaving no honey, oops money, on the table.

WHERE IS EVERYBODY?
The rest of the business world was hardly standing still while Papa Bear hibernated, for this is the age of networks. Collaborative software will connect prospects and sales people, customers and service, partners and product information, and supply chain with operations.

The future world of business is evolving into plug-and-play, outsourcing functions that are not core. Internet technology provides a common language for connecting business functions and processing routine transactions. “I’ll have my computers talk with your computers.”

Papa Bear knows that without an online collaboration framework in-house, the company could be cut off from its customers and business partners. Also, it’s unlikely many of the people being hired right out of college would buy into the old lone worker with pencil and paper routine.

Papa Bear expects collaboration and network infrastructure to follow the trajectory of IT. At first, computing was relegated to the low- hanging fruit: routine tasks like accounting that were simple to automate with the same logic humans had already applied. In time, IT expanded to become enterprise software, an octopus hooked into sales, inventory, accounting, financial forecasting, HR, marketing, business intelligence, and vendor relations. Collaboration – relationships – give an organisation the agility to adapt to change and the speed to create value ahead of others.

Whenever a bottom-up phenomenon in business evolves into a strategically vital proposition, executive management steps in to insure the firm isn’t treading on thin ice and to track to make sure the return their investment is optimal, neither too risky nor too conservative.

THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN
For three hundred years, bears (and people) have revered efficiency, productivity, the accumulation of wealth, and things they could see and touch. This view of the world became second nature, so obvious that we didn’t question it. Until now. We are in transition from the industrial age to the network era. When it’s difficult for people to make connections, knowledge and power are scarce, and a few ‘haves’ control the ‘have-nots’. We see this top-down structure in feudalism, kingdoms, colonies, armies, and industrial organisations.

When it becomes easy for people to make connections, knowledge and power are distributed, and everyone has a say. The internet lives to make connections, millions of them daily. Connections beget connections, making the whole ever more value, and perhaps ending up a ‘singularity’ where things happen so fast that we no longer recognise what’s going on.

No organisation inhabits these extremes. Even the most command-and-control firm uses email and has internet access; the most networked still harbour unconnected nooks and crannies. Most knowledge organisations today find themselves in this in-between state. They have one foot in the command-and-control model. New hires, at this point twenty-somethings, are bringing the ways they have been doing projects at home with them.

New recruits are refusing to work with organisations that don’t permit them to post a personal profile, use instant messenger, and connect to friends when they encounter a question. Elliott Masie tells of his disappointment with a new hire who had the continual distraction of six friends always a click away on her desktop. How could she concentrate? Then he realised that instead of having one new person working for The Masie Centre, he had seven!

LOOK IN THE MIRROR
We’re not all Motorolas or Ciscos, ready to adopt new technology at the drop of a hat. Most companies are somewhere between being stuck in the past and embracing the future.

I think of organisations with the industrial-age beliefs as ice, because they are rigid. In addition to their orientation to control, ice organisations think business is a zero-sum game; for me to win, you must lose. They have a black-and-white view of the world; things are rigid; the fundamentals still apply. Secrecy is competition advantage; hoarding information is the norm.

Water companies are less sure of themselves or what the future will bring; Reality is the unpredictable result of complex adaptive forces. Nothing’s perfect; stuff happens. Cooperation is a win-win game. Relationships are all-important, and the more open you are, the easier it is to form them.

Where is your organisation? Ice or water? Your answers to a few questions will probably make it clear:

  • Can employees access the entire internet from their desktops?
  • Are People in our company not learning and growing fast enough to keep up with the needs of our business?
  • Does corporate policy forbid blogging outside our firewall.
  • Do our sales people share sales techniques and call reports online?
  • Following a major success or failure, do we take time to reflect on what we’ve learned?
  • Do people know how their work relates to our mission and vision?
  • Do employees in one department know what’s happening in other parts of the company?
  • Is it simple to set up an online meeting here?
  • Does my team frequently talk about the trends and forces that drive our business?
  • Are relationships between departments cooperative and effective?
  • Do we distribute information through podcasts?
  • Do we believe in transparency and openness whenever possible?

You don’t need an answer key to figure out where you are.

If your company is on the water side, you are a candidate for the transformation Andy McAfee describes.

MURPHY’S LAW
In the interest of getting a lot of suggestions in front of you, I have focused on what has worked. One could write a longer paper on what has not gone well. Implementing collaboration online systems is not a day at the beach. Doing it right takes vision, persistence, and courage. Don’t give up; the rewards are worth the effort.

THE NEXT STEP
In your father’s time, workers prospered by knowing how to do their jobs and doing them. In our time, workers get along by connecting with others and staying in sync with ever- changing conditions. Increasingly, what they need to know is not in their heads; it’s a shared understanding held by lots of people. Having exceeded the limits of what any of us can understand on our own, we turn to our collective intelligence to survive.

Organisations at the top of the food chain are shucking off industrial-age thinking as best they can, but it is difficult. Since your great- great- great- great- great- great- great- greatgrandfather’s day, we’ve revered efficiency, productivity, the accumulation of wealth, and things we could see and touch. The game is changing. With one foot in the industrial age and the other in the evolving network age, our organisations are being ripped up the middle. The world is too volatile to wait for it to pass over.

Never before in history has progress raced along at such a rate that children lap their parents. If you’d like to brainstorm how to inject collaborative technology into your organisation, please call me or any thirteen-year old. Collaborate with them.

Organizations & community
Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Mama Bear

MAMA BEAR
Mama Bear is practical. She has little choice: raising a cub while holding down a full-time job is no picnic. Baby Bear was happy to conduct experiments. Mama Bear is hungry for major change. She is chasing after value. Baby Bear was a little scared; Mama is a fearless huntress. Baby Bear tried a few prototypes. Mama contemplates a network of networks that’s grows like a virus.

NETWORK GROWTH
Metcalf’s Law posits that value of a network grows exponentially with the addition of connections. Left unfettered, network nodes reproduce like rabbits on espresso. Think, for example, of the hyper growth of the internet, the web, MySpace, YouTube, and FaceBook. Once social networks take hold, expect them to grow like topsy, too. Moreover, the denser the network, the faster its cycle time. More connections make it quicker to get from one node to another.

Imagine how this can happen in an organisation. The first nodes appear as the company experiments with a few small projects such as co-ordinating online project groups or making it easier to find information with a ‘Wikipedia inside.’ New hires are accustomed to going wherever they wish in a network; imagine that they begin communicating between silos.

HR realises that the company-pedia can accelerate onboarding new employees. Customer service improves as everyone gains access to corporate resources such as who does what and how to find them. Replacing multiple versions with a single source of information cuts bureaucracy and chops email volume back. The growth of corporate connections feeds on itself.

WHAT PROBLEM SHOULD WE BE SOLVING?
Baby Bear was looking for simple applications that showed the potential of online collaboration. Mama Bear is out for the biggest bang for the buck. She will have to explain her choices to the bears with more seniority. It’s sensitive.

Here’s a list of organisational dysfunctions and opportunities for improvement that others have solved using enterprise 2.0. Mama Bear will use the list to set her mind to work; she will share it with the other bears to get their insight. Which of these things will return the most value to the corporation?

Inefficiency and bureaucracy

  • Deluged by internal email
  • Can’t find the right person when you need to
  • People don’t know who knows what
  • Can’t find the right information when you need it
  • Project coordination is tedious and things fall through the cracks
  • Re-invent the same documents and processes over and over again
  • Departments squabble more often than they collaborate
  • Don’t learn from the people who join us from competitors
  • Execs can’t get a read of progress on projects
  • Documentation is dated, versions confuse Not learning
  • Not prepared for the onslaught of digital natives we’re recruiting
  • Training can’t keep pace with the business
  • Training administration, creation, and delivery cost too much
  • Managers hoard information
  • Not learning fast enough to keep up with the needs of our business

Unenthusiastic, sluggish staff

  • Recruiting is harder than ever
  • Some do the minimum to get by
  • People are not innovators and don’t keep up
  • Our know-how is walking out the door due to retirement and turnover
  • People are glum because of the economy, an industry slump, etc
  • Turnover is too high
  • When good people leave, we never see or hear from them again
  • No time for experimentation or prototyping Underdeveloped organisation
  • Difficult to collaborate inside the corporate firewall
  • Difficult to collaborate outside the corporate firewall
  • People prefer to work solo than on teams
  • Takes too long for new hires to become productive
  • Analysis paralysis
  • ‘Wait and see’ attitude = missed opportunities
  • Culture clash, as if we are two organisations with different priorities

Suboptimal execution

  • Not everyone is on the same page
  • Our people don’t know our history, values, culture
  • Set in our ways, reluctant to change
  • Not moving fast enough to stay ahead of competitors
  • Functional silos thwart process improvement
  • Still acting like two separate organisations long after the merger
  • Hard to find out where we are as an organisation
  • Teams don’t talk about the trends and forces that drive our business
  • Don’t reflect on the lessons of our successes and failures
  • Don’t take advantage of our collective intelligence

Substandard revenue

  • Sales are declining, customers are postponing decisions
  • Sales and marketing departments are on different planets
  • Sales force cannot express benefits of new products
  • Sellers unaware of industry conditions and competition
  • Friction in relationships with distributors
  • Partners are not well informed
  • Relationships with customers are arms-length Deficient service
  • Response time to customers is sub-par
  • After-sales enquiries are bogging down our call centres
  • 800 numbers and phone trees are driving customers away
  • Service is inconvenient for customers, not 24/7
  • We don’t learn from our customers
  • Not building customer loyalty
  • Customer and prospects are confused, frustrated

SUSTAINING MOMENTUM
As the organisation’s use of collaborative software crosses the chasm from speciality item to important business process, focus shifts to keeping collaboration vibrant, disseminating lessons learned, and informally benchmarking performance.

Companies that have made the transition suggest these practices for maintaining momentum after initial enthusiasm wears thin:

  • Dismantle roadblocks to collaboration
  • Make the goal and ground rules clear at the outset
  • Structure the initial framework to fit the task
  • Make the online environment attracting and inviting
  • Pre-load templates, background info, defaults
  • Provide emotional support for newcomers
  • Delegate responsibility for keeping the ball rolling to the team
  • Rely on self-regulation
  • Don’t micro-manage
  • Market the service: publicity, seed with enthusiasts, contests
  • Incentives to get things ramped up
  • Report results at least quarterly
  • Conclude project teams with written evaluation
  • Participants suggest “How we can make this better”
  • Don’t skimp on investment. This is all cheap compared to the alternative.
  • Use bots to send periodic reminders about what’s going on
  • Encourage (or enforce!) tagging, making things searchable and thus easier to use

HOW ‘PULL’ GIVES THE USER CHOICE
Many workers are drowning in information and info-clutter. Their lives are not their own because they feel they must deal with every incoming email or announcement.

Every day it’s as if an evil genie dumps boatloads of information, price increases, questions, recall notices, changes to plans, trade regulations, competitive threats, and email into our offices to greet us in the morning.

Most of what we receive is not relevant to our needs; it was the product of a thoughtless cc: or mass mailing. As with spam, the sender incurs no cost but the recipient pays dearly in time and distraction.

One way out of this quagmire is going after the information you need rather than taking all the information that is pushed on you. My first blog post on the first day of 2007 said “The tide will turn, saving humankind from drowning in diversions. At the point of being overwhelmed by repeated shotgun blasts of
infobits, people will turn the gun around and hunt down what they want.”

We’ll be able to select what mail, email, television programmes, phone calls, and reports we want in our lives. We’re accustomed to taking whatever is delivered; in the future, we’ll take what we choose. Media, software, training, and telephones will give us the ability to filter what gets past our personal firewalls.

I’m not predicting that pull will replace push everywhere we get information, just that the balance will shift more toward the pull end of the spectrum than the push.

TRUST
As social networks become more visible in the organisation, they are certain to attract scrutiny by senior managers who never received their Online Collaboration Driver License. Giving every worker the ability to write things into documents that can be seen by all looks like a formula for chaos. And won’t some bad actors muck about, spraying the files with digital graffiti. Time and time again, the answer has turned out to be ‘no.’

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has addressed the issue of vandalism countless times. He draws an analogy to opening a new restaurant. This is America, so the restaurant is going to serve steak. Some steak is tough, so he will provide patrons with steak knives. People can stab one another with knives, so he will seat his guests in cages.

Whoa! Time out! You’ve got to trust the people to behave in a civilised manner or give up on the restaurant idea entirely.

And so it goes with open collaboration in the corporate world. Employees don’t turn into monsters just because they are online. Everything submitted carries the name of its author. What better way to lose your job than by acting foolishly in front of all to see.

Nonetheless, because this is a new medium and because you’ve got corporate attorneys assuming the worst, it’s wise to set expectations and post guidelines. Here’s one organisation’s policy for participating in the in-house wiki:

Assume good faith. Assume that most people who work on the project are trying to help it, not hurt it.

Civility. Being rude, insensitive or petty makes people upset and hinders collaboration. Try to discourage others from being uncivil, and be careful to avoid offending people unintentionally.

Common sense. Don’t do anything in the collaborative environment that you wouldn’t do face to face.

Editing policy. Improve pages wherever you can, and don’t worry about leaving them imperfect. (It’s all beta.)

No personal attacks. Do not make personal attacks. Comment on content, not on the contributor. Personal attacks damage the community and deter users. Nobody likes abuse.

Ownership of articles. You agreed to allow others to modify your work. So let them.

Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Baby Bear


WHERE DOES IT START?

Baby Bear is intensely curious, driven to try new things just for the heck of it. Most collaboration projects begin at the bottom of the organisation and migrate upward. Typically, a young internet enthusiast who knows the web 2.0 environment joins the company. She sees an opportunity to improve local performance with a blog or wiki. She takes a proposal to her manager. One hopes that the manager asks “What’s the business case?” If they decide the proposal is worthy of consideration, the next step will be to create a prototype to try the idea on for size.

Happily, the costs of setting up a web 2.0 application are trivial. Furthermore, applications are simple to program. You no longer need to be a programmer to produce a prototype for show-and-tell. Many a prototype has been developed in a matter of hours.

Baby bear is the application champion. If he is low in the organisation, he probably begins with a simple, free, online wiki to deal with
a local problem and builds support by pointing people to the wiki. Baby bears come in all sizes. In addition to the local enthusiasts, social software projects have been initiated by:

  • CIO – fulfiling request from others
  • CIO – trial, seeing if it lives up to rumours
  • Line manager with specific problem to solve
  • Staff – exploring process improvements
  • HR – best practices, organisation development
  • Exec – read about it in airplane magazine
  • Exec – major push, organisational challenge.

The U.S. Department of Defence spends the most money on training of any organisation in the world, yet a simple web application started by two company commanders on their own has become the most important source of collaboration and knowledge sharing among officers in Iraq.

Two company commanders who had been classmates at West Point shared quarters. In the evening, they would talk over the day’s events and reflect on what they had learned. Sensing that other officers might want to join the conversation, they started a blog. Rather than go through channels, they didn’t ask for permission. (Anyone can set up a blog for free in less than five minutes.)

The blog spread virally among company commanders, becoming more valuable as more voices chimed in. Soon the blog, Company Command, was a must-read. Unlike material coming from the Pentagon, the conversations in the blog told what had happened only hours before; they were in everyday, conversational English, not bureaucratese; they focused on need-to-know information for survival, not something one might use next year.

In another case, a staffer in a large company thought an in-house Wikipedia would help employees find information and retain a corporate memory. A technology evangelist downloaded free software and implemented a wiki behind the firewall. It soon became the bridge among five divisional silos and the go-to place for finding things out. Volunteers populated the system with handy information from all corners. New hires get up to speed by spending a day exploring the in-house information centre.

Bottom-up collaborative environments all over the corporation tend to improve functions that are already in place. Criteria for selection: pick the low-hanging fruit.

When small projects gain enough attention to appear on the corporate radar, responsibility for selecting and implementing social software is delegated to the IT department, either to take the prototype forward or perhaps because the IT press and CIO community say it’s the thing to do. CIO magazine, once sceptical of the web as an intrusion onto IT’s turf, is now singing its praises, e.g.:

One of the driving forces behind Web 2.0 is the virtual office – teams of far-flung experts collaborating online to create a whole greater than the sum of its contributors

A KM system that’s ‘actually being used’ – this kind of language hints at the scepticism both users and CIOs have had about KM for years.

One final bit of good news: Users say the new, simpler KM tools make it easier to justify the investment to your fellow C-level executives. “It can be very difficult to make a pitch to senior management about why knowledge management is important, because it’s not real to them,” explains Northwestern Mutual’s Austin. Now, she just shows them blog users engaged in explaining their projects to coworkers.

Enterprise 2.0 tools make it easier to share and organise information. Tagging and rating provide a straightforward way to find content and make judgments about what to look at. Blogs and wikis are natural collaboration and communication platforms. Social network tools help staff find the right individual or group of people. Enterprise 2.0 has the potential to provide knowledge and content management in a surprisingly cheap and easy fashion using Web-based tools (ABC An Introduction to Web 2.0, CIO magazine, July 12, 2007).

Sometimes IT becomes involved because it controls everything to do with computers. This can have disastrous consequences if IT takes full control. Implementing online collaboration deals more with people issues than software decisions, but IT people solve IT issues.

A typical selection process may involve setting up a matrix of vendors and features, yet features are unimportant compared to ease of use and other factors. Social software is often lightweight, but inexpensive can translate as unimportant to IT. The upshot is that often the customer view is not taken into account.
Little bear needs IT’s help in enforcing the standards necessary for efficiency. IT should lend its expertise and influence in security, compliance, and building a foundation for growth.

If not an IT decision, a business user with a problem to solve probably initiates the inquiry. Sometimes the goal is meta, for example, increasing innovation. More often the issue is immediately practical, for example  onboarding 1,500 new staff or tracking plans for 75 customers. Criteria for selection: solve a burning business problem.

Sometimes executives mandate experiments with social software because they’ve read about it in the business press or hear success stories from colleagues. Their interest may be faster cycle times, unleashing corporate wisdom, consolidating an acquisition, or other over-arching need. Criteria for
project selection: focus on strategically important areas.

One of the driving forces behind Web 2.0 is the virtual office – teams of far-flung experts collaborating online to create a whole greater than the sum of its contributors.

IS BABY BEAR’S ORGANISATION READY FOR THIS?
At this stage, all we have is a prototype. Nonetheless it’s a good idea to test the water before jumping into the pool. At least that will keep you from diving into hot water.

Consultant, online advocate, and champion of NGOs Beth Kanter has lots of experience assessing whether an organisation is ready for online collaboration. Beth thinks you are not ready if:

  • Management is obsessively controlling
  • The organisation will not accept changes in how you work
  • Your employees are not online
  • Everything must be vetted by central authority

On the other hand, you may be prepared if you want to:

  • Make it easy for people to share knowledge
  • Are willing to share ideas in progress and let others join in
  • Want to enable many voices
  • Can deal with messiness

SELECTING A STARTER APPLICATION
Your mileage may vary, but initial projects have a better chance of thriving if:

  • Participants have a shared need.
  • It’s easy for participants to see what’s in it for them.
  • The information involved is not controversial.
  • A sound business case can be made.
  • Stand-alone implementation is feasible (i.e. not requiring connection with other systems)
  • The project yields a good example to use when getting support for other projects.
  • You can open in New Haven.

New Haven? Sixty years ago, producers staged new plays at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, before taking them to Broadway. No critics were in the audience, so if a major overhaul was required before the official release, no one was the wiser. Similarly, if your first prototype bombs, it’s nice to be able to sweep it under the carpet and begin anew.

DOCUMENT THE BUSINESS CASE
To maintain focus, the owner of a project should prepare a document in response to these questions:

  • What is the goal of the collaboration?
  • What’s the current situation?
  • What do you expect it to be after the project?
  • How will this be accomplished?
  • What is the business benefit? (In business terms).
  • How do you quantify the size of the benefit?
  • Who’s going to take part?
  • What might go wrong?
  • Is this a one-time project or an on-going process?
  • Do we have sponsorship higher up?
  • Who will participate on the team?
  • If it’s a one-timer, when will it be completed? What is the kill date?

Display your answers prominently on the wiki, blog, or whatever tool is involved.

COMMITMENT BY TEAM MEMBERS
It’s great to begin a long-term collaboration with a face-to-face meeting. Either in person or virtual, social bonding comes before business, for that’s the platform on which the work will be built. Begin with games and getting-to-know-you exercises. Give people time to talk and become familiar with one another.

Social connections remain vital throughout the collaboration. People work best with people they know. Encourage people to share information about themselves. Post photographs of participants. Pinpoint their locations on a map. It’s important that collaborators are working under the same set of assumptions. Discuss each of these areas and ask for individual commitment to them.

  • Respect the team, and do what is best to accomplish the objective. Be selfless, not selfish.
  • Members will be active. If a member spots something to improve the collaboration, she volunteers to do it.
  • Members freely share ideas and suggestions. They do not hoard information or keep secrets.
  • Members treat each other with respect. The team is committed to continuous improvement.
  • Members care for one another emotionally, helping one another over rough spots and fears.
  • Use whatever tools are appropriate to advance the project: phone calls, on-line meetings.
  • Members trust one another. They ‘make this marriage work.’

Be prepared for push-back. Workers who see collaboration as hindering their work rather than supporting it will be reluctant to join the effort. organisations that are accustomed to a single viewpoint (usually top management’s) can become rattled as other voices begin to speak. It’s useful to recruit a band of early supporters to help sell the value of the project.

ONLINE COLLABORATION DRIVER LICENSE
You cannot learn to swim without getting in the water. You will not appreciate collaborative technology without writing entries in a blog, taking part in a wiki, and subscribing to an RSS feed.

If you haven’t experienced these things, don’t go into denial. Yes, you really need to do them. No, logic is insufficient for grasping what is going on. It needn’t take more than an hour or two, spread out over a week or two to experience these things. Find a private place to practice. Trust us, it’s painless. And you’ll be rewarded with not only your online collaboration license but also a big ah-ha of understanding.

To earn your automobile license, you have to demonstrate that you can drive the vehicle. Likewise, you don’t really qualify for a collaboration driver license until you’ve taken part in a successful collaboration.

Hints on what works with social software

  • Keep it simple
  • Keep it flexible
  • Do it yourself (blog/wiki) or you won’t understand it
  • Be innovative, ever alert to productivity improvements
  • Be open to new ways of doing things
  • Release early and release often. Just do it
  • Promotion is important. Remind people where to look
  • Focus on the function rather than on the tools
  • Provide step-by-step how-to guides
  • Provide the opportunity to celebrate small successes
  • Give people time to practice using the software – it is easy to forget how to do things, especially when you don’t use the software regularly.

Organizations & community
Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Putting web 2.0 to work in your organization

Workers have more sophisticated web 2.0 tools and techniques at home than at work. It’s as if they write with a word processor at home but have only a manual typewriter to use at the office. Individuals get the latest stuff when they want to while the enterprise feels compelled to filter things through entrenched departments, stodgy procedures, drawn-out planning, and multiple layers of approval.  Continue Reading »

Tools for Learning

Comments (1)

Permalink

Mobile Learning

You no longer need to be tethered computer to link to the web; a phone will do. It’s all the same cloud. Learning has broken loose from the classroom. Now it’s breaking loose from physical moorings altogether.

Continue Reading »

Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Clark Quinn

Clark Quinn earned his Ph D in applied cognitive science under Don Norman and has designed mobile, performance support, serious games, online learning, and intelligent learning systems. Before striking out on his own as an advisor to corporations and government, Clark taught at University of New South Wales.

When we get together, the conversation turns to organizational learning strategies, meta-learning, and hops. I asked Clark to lend me a hand in an area I do not know much about: mobile learning. His words appear here, not mine.

Tap into Clark’s thinkiing at Quinnovation. Clark’s Learnlets blog is on my short list.

important voices
Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Lee LeFever

Two years ago I wrote flowing descriptions of how web 2.0 tools worked. When I saw one of Lee LeFever’s shorty videos, I dragged them into the trash.

A year ago, Lee and his bride Sachi returned from a year-long trip around the world. They had uploaded a lot of video for friends and decided to make a simple video of how RSS works. That video, RSS in Plain English has now been seen by 750,000 people! More than 400,000 have watched Wikis in Plain Englist. Overall, more than 1,000,000 have watched Lee and Sachi’s videos. Do a Google search on wikis or social networking and you’ll find a Plane English video on the first page. Lee’s explanation? Make content people want to see. Continue Reading »

important voices
Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Networks

presentation about the evolution of networks

Keynote pdf

Building networks for learning

The truth is that if you take a little time to learn a few basic principals and some of the technical lingo, buying a new computer is no more complicated than building a nuclear reactor from wristwatch parts in a darkened room using only your teeth.

Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Web 2.0 Tools

Taking advantage of Web 2.0 to get things done requires at least a passing understanding the things listed here. Clicking the name in the left column will often take you to a three-minute Common Craft video explanation. That’s a starter, but to get a gut-feel for these tools, you must try them. Write a blog post. Watch a YouTube video. The URLs in the right column are a good place to start.

Warning: Don’t get overconfident. Just knowing the technology will assure your understanding of web 2.0 than studying quill pens will improve your appreciation of Shakespeare.

Tool Purpose Example More
Blog Personal web pages, easy to start and update. Entries are archives; often you can make comments on other’s blogs. WordPress More
Wikis Shared documents on the web. Great for coordination. pbWiki More
Instant messenger Check which pals are online. Chat with them, text or video, in real time. AIM
RSS Subscribe to new content. Pull in what you want. Learning blog cloud
Feed Reader The inbox for scanning and reading your blog subscriptions Google Reader More
Social Bookmarking Shared bookmarks. Tag a website; recall it later. See what other people are looking at. Del.icio.us
Social Networking Connect people online. Find your friends’ friends. Facebook, LinkedIn More
Twitter What my pals are doing right now. “Drinking skinny latte at Starbucks.” Twitter More
Podcasting Personal, on-demand recordings you can subscribe to. IT Conversations
Online Photo Sharing Put your photos online. Share them with others. Flickr More
On-Line Community People working together. Ning
Search Find needles in haystacks. Robot readers “crawl” the web, indexing sites by tags and popularity. Google
YouTube Short online videos. Two-way. YouTube
Virtual worlds Pilot your avatar thruogh a virtual, immersive world. Second Life
World Wide Web A collection of hyperlinked documents, images, video, and information
Tagging
Video blogging

Jane Hart maintains a fantastic resource, The Top 100 Tools for Learning. Her Directory of Learning Tools classifies more than two thousand tools, 72% of them free.

Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Web 2.0 Design Patterns

Web 2.0 Design Patterns

Web 2.0 Design Patterns

In his book, A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander prescribes a format for the concise description of the solution to architectural problems. He writes: “Each pattern describes a problem that occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice.”

  1. The Long Tail
    Small sites make up the bulk of the internet’s content; narrow niches make up the bulk of internet’s the possible applications. Therefore: Leverage customer-self service and algorithmic data management to reach out to the entire web, to the edges and not just the center, to the long tail and not just the head.
  2. Data is the Next Intel Inside
    Applications are increasingly data-driven. Therefore: For competitive advantage, seek to own a unique, hard-to-recreate source of data.
  3. Users Add Value
    The key to competitive advantage in internet applications is the extent to which users add their own data to that which you provide. Therefore: Don’t restrict your “architecture of participation” to software development. Involve your users both implicitly and explicitly in adding value to your application.
  4. Network Effects by Default

    Only a small percentage of users will go to the trouble of adding value to your application. Therefore: Set inclusive defaults for aggregating user data as a side-effect of their use of the application.

  5. Some Rights Reserved. Intellectual property protection limits re-use and prevents experimentation. Therefore: When benefits come from collective adoption, not private restriction, make sure that barriers to adoption are low. Follow existing standards, and use licenses with as few restrictions as possible. Design for “hackability” and “remixability.”
  6. The Perpetual Beta
    When devices and programs are connected to the internet, applications are no longer software artifacts, they are ongoing services. Therefore: Don’t package up new features into monolithic releases, but instead add them on a regular basis as part of the normal user experience. Engage your users as real-time testers, and instrument the service so that you know how people use the new features.
  7. Cooperate, Don’t Control
    Web 2.0 applications are built of a network of cooperating data services. Therefore: Offer web services interfaces and content syndication, and re-use the data services of others. Support lightweight programming models that allow for loosely-coupled systems.
  8. Software Above the Level of a Single Device
    The PC is no longer the only access device for internet applications, and applications that are limited to a single device are less valuable than those that are connected. Therefore: Design your application from the get-go to integrate services across handheld devices, PCs, and internet servers.

Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Tim O’Reilly on Web 2.0

What Is Web 2.0
Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software

by Tim O’Reilly
09/30/2005

In our initial brainstorming, we formulated our sense of Web 2.0 by example:

Web 1.0 Web 2.0
DoubleClick –> Google AdSense
Ofoto –> Flickr
Akamai –> BitTorrent
mp3.com –> Napster
Britannica Online –> Wikipedia
personal websites –> blogging
evite –> upcoming.org and EVDB
domain name speculation –> search engine optimization
page views –> cost per click
screen scraping –> web services
publishing –> participation
content management systems –> wikis
directories (taxonomy) –> tagging (“folksonomy”)
stickiness –> syndication

Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Overview: Tools for Learning

Tools, techniques, and software that support organizational learning and improvement.

Indigenous networks

Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

What Wikipedia teaches us

knives
accuracy
shirky

group
wiki okay

intel
cia
duh
great example

Tools for Learning

Comments (0)

Permalink

Waste of time or productivity enhancer?

GigaOm reports that

Content security firm Clearswift recently tried to quantify the magnitude of the problem with a survey of 827 employees in organizations of 1,000 people and up. Among their findings:

  • 43% of office workers access social media sites from their work computers several times a day
  • 51% spend an hour or more a week on the sites; 13% spend five hours or more
  • 46% have discussed work-related issues on social media sites
  • 46% regularly access Wikipedia during work hours

del.icio.us popular
digg swarm
originalsignal buzz
explore flickr
technorati popular
youtube top favs today

  • 50% believe they have a right to use work computers for personal internet access”
  • internet culture
    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    Keeping informed

    The Learning Blogosphere: Learning blogs River view Cloud Flow page

    A Dozen Blogs Maish Nichani highlights an important learning story or concept every day. Great blog to track if you’re tracking only one.

    Stephen Downes, a researcher at Canada’s National Research Center, tracks & gives his opinions about an enormous amount of information learning, the web, academia, trends, standards, etc. If it’s worth knowing about, Stephen will probably cover it.

    Here’s a Pageflake summary of important eLearning blogs.

    Donald Clark, founder and former CEO of Epic, the UK’s largest eLearning house. A brilliant Scot with a keen sense of humor, Donald loves pointing out that the emperor has no clothes.

    Clive Shepherd, an astute, influential UK eLearning consultant..

    George Siemens, Canadian academic. Father of Connectivism, which posits the knowledge is no longer confined by our skulls; it’s in our networks. His links blog is good, too.

    Mark Oehlert is the go-to guy for serious gaming in learning.

    Harold Jarche is an independent consultant in Canada who blogs daily about learning design, open software, and practical approaches to informal learning.

    David Weinberger talks tags, search, and practical knowledge management better than any of the rest of us.

    Clark Quinn is a cognitive scientist, fan of learning games, bright bulb in mobile learning, and all-around clear thinker.

    Dave Gray thinks visually.

    Jane Hart somehow finds a new elearning tool every day.

    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    Keeping the Mobile Sales Force Informed

    What would you do if you had to keep 150 sales people around the world up to date on healthcare and IT?

    Intel Digital Health had been posting cell phone recordings to a traditional website. Busy sales people couldn’t be counted on to check them out and the medium lacked pizzazz.

    A general manager/VP knew that Cisco, IHOP, and others were distributing information via podcasts. He listened to a sample podcast put together by his staff and gave the project a green light.

    Intel instructional designer Marc Porter took on the project. He purchased a video iPod for every member of the sales force. The iPods remain the property of Intel. When someone leaves the company, they return the iPod, just as they do with their cell phone and laptop.

    On the content front, Marc began by converting the firm’s library into 20 QuickTime videos that were distributed with the machines. Employees were permitted to keep music on the iPods as well as the Intel videos.

    Intel next produced an “The Expert Series” of customer interviews that highlight best practices. These were professionally produced, and the sales force loved them, especially the anecdotal information. 84% were satisfied.

    To develop a podcast, Marc would meet with a subject matter expert to identify a topic, offer a method for producing it, and select the level of presentation.

    Early on, Intel discovered that PowerPoint was the wrong medium for the iPod. They also determined that the iPod is not appropriate for restricted information: iPods have no passive security on board; a lost iPod causes no collateral damage.

    Marc Porter won Intel’s 2007 innovation award for setting up and running the iPod program for Intel Digital Health’s community of practice.

    case examples
    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    CGI Internet Inside

    Three years ago, Knowledge Management at Canada’s CGI was the proverbial black hole that sucked in information and energy but never let it out. The staff who fed the beast were well-meaning but weren’t equipped to provide CGI’s 25,000 employees the up-to-the-moment technical savvy they needed. This is not sustainable in a firm that relies on its wits to outperform its competitors in a fast-moving global field. Executive management made raising staff satisfaction with KM a top priority.

    Ross Button was tapped to head a project to raise collective intelligence. Ross and his staff of two, with in-sourced assistance from specialist groups within the firm, assembled what Ross and I have dubbed Internet Inside. Imagine having your own, custom version of the internet running behind your firewall.

    Continue Reading »

    Business
    case examples
    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    Web techs

    Tool

    Learning Application

    conversation

    Share knowledge and understanding. Differing viewpoints lead to innovation.

    blogs & RSS

    Capture ongoing knowledge, give voice to workers, experts, customers. Blogging’s direct benefit to individual learning is that it helps make implicit knowledge more explicit and as a way of personal knowledge management. RSS:

    tags

    Folksonomy. Recall by topic, hassle-free, any digital asset on the web by its tag. Build a knowledge base incrementally. Find out what others are reading and what’s popular.

    FAQ

    Don’t reinvent the wheel, use a single-source reference

    Podcasts

    Listen to portable recordings during the or in the gym. Still something of a novelty. Great if you can’t read. Many conferences provide podcasts after the fact, so they can be used for professional development.

    Storytelling

    More sophisticated than text. Oral tradition reinforces meaning.

    instrant messenger

    Presence awareness. Immediate one-to-one connection. Speeds communication. Can be limited to one’s contacts.

    Telephone, cell phone Often the simplest, most cost-effective means of delivering performance support, news bulletins, project information.

    social networking

    conferencing

    Locate individuals with common interests or simply see what others with your interests are paying attention to.

    organizational network analysis

    Identify bottlenecks, optimize community bonds, reduce risk of disruptive turnover

    VoIP

    Integrates Instant Messenger with free or cheap telephone service, conference calls, etc.

    Tool

    Learning Application

    Expert Locator

    Find the right person to question or collaborate with.

    communities of practice

    Bottom-up knowledge and innovation. Replaces some training. Professionals create and share knowledge on their own

    Forums

    Participate in discussions. Past messages are archived in perpetuity.

    Team blogs, project blogs

    Coordinate projects, share rules of thumb. Simple, lightweight technology

    wiki

    Cooperative decision-making and documentation. Can replace email with a single copy all refer to. .

    Web conferencing

    Circuitry for learning, innovation, and change. Eliminate distance as a barrier to getting together.

    Collaborative writing

    Quick way to reach consensus. No version control because there is only one version.

    Virtual Meetings

    Eliminate distance

    Virtual Presence

    Provides a readily accessible place for people to chat while watching live slide shows and web tours

    unmeetings

    Great for focusing on topics people want to process. Scant administrative overhead. Don’t wait for the annual meeting!

    Games and simulations Major behavioral or attitudinal change.
    learnscapes Informal learning meets the internet cloud

    Backchannel

    Encourages understanding by sharing multiple viewpoints

    Meta-Learning Self-improvement, accelerate and deepen learning.
    Immersive Environments

    Online training room of the future? Used to conduct meetings, prototype designs, test consumer preferences.

    personal knowledge management

    Online portfolio and job aid. Learning launchpad

    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    Web tools to assist learning

    Tool

    Description

    Learning Need

    conversation

    Talking with another person, the greatest instructional technology ever devised.

    Share knowledge and understanding. Differing viewpoints lead to innovation. Dave Pollard says, “People like information conveyed through conversations and stories because the interactivity and detail gives them context, not just content, and does so economically.”

    blogs & RSS

    Anyone can post essays, reference information, or news on the web.  RSS: Subscribe to blogs, photo albums, columns, whatever. They are delivered to your screen or email at your request, not someone else’s. Aggregator: Read the contents of multiple RSS feeds by subscribing. User chooses = pull system. Same a feed reader.

    Capture ongoing knowledge, give voice to workers, experts, customers. Blogging’s direct benefit to individual learning is that it  helps make implicit knowledge more explicit and as a way of personal knowledge management. RSS:

    Search

    tags

    Folkosnomy. Informal descriptions added to blogs, photos, articles and other digital data, enabling access from anywhere on the net.

    Folksonomy. Recall by topic, hassle-free, any digital asset on the web by its tag. Build a knowledge base incrementally. Find out what others are reading and what’s popular.

    FAQ

    Answers to the most common questions people ask

    Don’t reinvent the wheel, use a single-source reference

    Podcasts

    A digital recording, generally in MP3 format and often played on Apple iPods, on a computer or even burned to a CD and played on your car audio.

    Listen to portable recordings during the or in the gym. Still something of a novelty. Great if you can’t read. Many conferences provide podcasts after the fact, so they can be used for professional development.

    Storytelling

    Memorable, natural way to spread values and goals

    More sophisticated than text. Oral tradition reinforces meaning.

    instrant messenger

    Immediate connection to selected colleagues & customers.

    Presence awareness. Immediate one-to-one connection. Speeds communication. Can be limited to one’s contacts.

    Telephone, cell phone What we used to call a phone + photos, video, audio, downloads, SMS, email, browsing, and more. The M-learning tool of choice. Often the simplest, most cost-effective means of delivering performance support, news bulletins, project information.

    social networking

    conferencing

    A network whose nodes are people or organizations. If software can connect those nodes through common tags, it is called social network software,

    Locate individuals with common interests or simply see what others with your interests are paying attention to.

    organizational network analysis

    Map interactions among individuals or organizations. Software is available to help.

    Identify bottlenecks, optimize community bonds, reduce risk of disruptive turnover

    VoIP

    Telephone over the internet.

    Integrates Instant Messenger with free or cheap telephone service, conference calls, etc.

    Expert Locator

    A yellow pages or database of people identifying their expertise

    Find the right person to question or collaborate with.

    communities of practice

    (Often informal) groups of people who identify with one another professionally who share information, vet newcomers, and develop new practices

    Bottom-up knowledge and innovation. Replaces some training. Professionals create and share knowledge on their own

    Forums

    Discussion board with email. Can be open or closed.

    Participate in discussions. Past messages are archived in perpetuity.

    Team blogs, project blogs

    Shared blogs with a purpose

    Coordinate projects, share rules of thumb. Simple, lightweight technology

    wiki

    Collaboration over time, share ideas, co-create practices, share insights.

    Cooperative decision-making and documentation. Can replace email with a single copy all refer to. .

    Web conferencing

    Converse, create & share knowledge online.

    Circuitry for learning, innovation, and change. Eliminate distance as a barrier to getting together.

    Collaborative writing

    Several people edit the same document

    Quick way to reach consensus. No version control because there is only one version.

    Virtual Meetings

    From conference call to full-video conference in real time

    Eliminate distance

    Virtual Presence

    Persistent online meeting room with screen sharing, stored presentations, chat, etc.

    Provides a readily accessible place for people to chat while watching live slide shows and web tours

    unmeetings

    Impromptu events where participants define the agenda.

    Great for focusing on topics people want to process. Scant administrative overhead. Don’t wait for the annual meeting!

    Games and simulations Practice, practice, practice. Sometimes in a mission-critical  environment (war game s, flight sims, financial trading.) Major behavioral or attitudinal change.
    learnscapes The environment of web-enabled informal learning. Informal learning meets the internet cloud

    Backchannel

    Wireless text communication among participants in a meeting, sometimes surreptitious

    Encourages understanding by sharing multiple viewpoints

    Meta-Learning Learning about learning. Self-improvement, accelerate and deepen learning.
    Immersive Environments

    3D space where avatars meet to build things and interact

    Online training room of the future? Used to conduct meetings, prototype designs, test consumer preferences.

    personal knowledge management

    An individual’s personal pages, links, photos, etc.

    Online portfolio and job aid. Learning launchpad

    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    Tools for social capitalists

    Internet Time’s Tools for Social Capitalists

    Tools and solutions from Jane Hart’s eLearning Handbook

    Do not miss Jane’s one-page eLearning in a Nutshell


    Title/link

    Description

    Learning Need

    conversation

    Talking with another person, the greatest instructional technology ever devised.

    Share knowledge and understanding. Differing viewpoints lead to innovation. Dave Pollard says, “People like information conveyed through conversations and stories because the interactivity and detail gives them context, not just content, and does so economically.”

    blogs & RSS

    Anyone can post essays, reference information, or news on the web.  RSS: Subscribe to blogs, photo albums, columns, whatever. They are delivered to your screen or email at your request, not someone else’s. Aggregator: Read the contents of multiple RSS feeds by subscribing. User chooses = pull system. Same a feed reader.

    Capture ongoing knowledge, give voice to workers, experts, customers. Blogging’s direct benefit to individual learning is that it  helps make implicit knowledge more explicit and as a way of personal knowledge management. RSS:

    Search

    tags

    Folkosnomy. Informal descriptions added to blogs, photos, articles and other digital data, enabling access from anywhere on the net. Used to index Technorati, Flickr, Del.icio.us. Metadata: Tags which are drawn from an approved set of codes and labels

    Folksonomy. Recall by topic, hassle-free, any digital asset on the web by its tag. Build a knowledge base incrementally. Find out what others are reading and what’s popular. Metadata: Recall information by topic. Rigid but orderly. Appropriate for things that do not change much. Can be constructed collaboratively for communities of practice. Aggregator: For information triage. Save time by skimming the headlines or summaries of feeds so you can read only the ones you want to know more about. Usually not required to go to actual site of feed

    Using del.icio.us to foster collaboration.

    FAQ

    Answers to the most common questions people ask

    Don’t reinvent the wheel, use a single-source reference

    Widgets Insert on a web page tracks information, provides alerts, updatesw in real time. If someone requires a continuous flow of information from a specific location, make it easy for them.

    (usually one-way)

    Podcasts

    A digital recording, generally in MP3 format and often played on Apple iPods, on a computer or even burned to a CD and played on your car audio.

    Listen to portable recordings during the or in the gym. Still something of a novelty. Great if you can’t read. Many conferences provide podcasts after the fact, so they can be used for professional development.

    Storytelling

    Memorable, natural way to spread values and goals

    More sophisticated than text. Oral tradition reinforces meaning.

    Screencasts & Screen Sharing

    Electronic show and tell, “look over the shoulder” demos. Screencasts are recorded; screen sharing is live.

    Explain “how to” by showing the real deal.

    Web tours

    Simple tours of web sites with narration.

    Great discovery learning tool, especially when done n small groups

    Wizards & performance support

    Provides just the info you need.

    In lieu of reading the manual. Once called performance support. Why make people do what the system can do for itself?

    Mash-up

    Two or more web applications linked together, e.g. an interactive map that shows real-time real estate values

    Easily constructed performance support

    Vlogs

    Video-blog

    Podcasts for the eyes

    e-Books Think: book on-screen. Searchable. Need to convey lots of information, often reference info. Maintaining a single copy beats the messy process of distributing multiple hardcopies.

    instrant messenger

    Immediate connection to selected colleagues & customers.

    Presence awareness. Immediate one-to-one connection. Speeds communication. Can be limited to one’s contacts.

    Telephone, cell phone What we used to call a phone + photos, video, audio, downloads, SMS, email, browsing, and more. The M-learning tool of choice. Often the simplest, most cost-effective means of delivering performance support, news bulletins, project information.

    social networking

    conferencing

    A network whose nodes are people or organizations. If software can connect those nodes through common tags, it is called social network software,

    Locate individuals with common interests or simply see what others with your interests are paying attention to.

    organizational network analysis

    Map interactions among individuals or organizations. Software is available to help.

    Identify bottlenecks, optimize community bonds, reduce risk of disruptive turnover

    VoIP

    Telephone over the internet.

    Integrates Instant Messenger with free or cheap telephone service, conference calls, etc.

    Locator

    A yellow pages or database of people identifying their expertise

    Find the right person to question or collaborate with.

    email

    An internet-based means of sending text messages and files to groups or individuals.

    Direct communication to others. Can be used to post to blogs and wikis. Upside: everybody knows. Downside: spam, needless cc:, overflow.

    Email list

    Subscribers to a list send messages for redistribution to all; early but still viable way to share information.

    Conduct discussions and provide updates on an opt-in basis on any platform.

    communities of practice

    (Often informal) groups of people who identify with one another professionally who share information, vet newcomers, and develop new practices

    Bottom-up knowledge and innovation. Replaces some training. Professionals create and share knowledge on their own

    Forums

    Discussion board with email. Can be open or closed.

    Participate in discussions. Past messages are archived in perpetuity.

    Team blogs, project blogs

    Shared blogs with a purpose

    Coordinate projects, share rules of thumb. Simple, lightweight technology

    wiki

    Collaboration over time, share ideas, co-create practices, share insights.

    Cooperative decision-making and documentation. Can replace email with a single copy all refer to. .

    Web conferencing

    Converse, create & share knowledge online.

    Circuitry for learning, innovation, and change. Eliminate distance as a barrier to getting together.

    Collaborative writing

    Several people edit the same document

    Quick way to reach consensus. No version control because there is only one version.

    Jams

    Mass rally online without the travel cost

    Creates team spirit, rapid roll out

    Virtual Meetings

    From conference call to full-video conference in real time

    Eliminate distance

    Virtual Presence

    Persistent online meeting room with screen sharing, stored presentations, chat, etc.

    Provides a readily accessible place for people to chat while watching live slide shows and web tours

    unmeetings

    Impromptu events where participants define the agenda.

    Great for focusing on topics people want to process. Scant administrative overhead. Don’t wait for the annual meeting!

    Open Space, World Cafe

    People rotate through several small-group presentations to discuss things they are passionate about

    Foster innovation. Rapid transformation and buy-in at big picture level among groups.

    Courses

    Courses or workshops Learners come together virtually or in person to follow a curriculum, generally for a fixed period of time and often with after-the-fact recognition in the form of grades, ratings, or certification. Formal learning, but vital for teaching novices a framework on which to hang subsequent learning.
    Games and simulations Practice, practice, practice. Sometimes in a mission-critical  environment (war game s, flight sims, financial trading.) Major behavioral or attitudinal change.

    learnscapes The environment of web-enabled informal learning. Informal learning meets the internet cloud

    Backchannel

    Wireless text communication among participants in a meeting, sometimes surreptitious

    Encourages understanding by sharing multiple viewpoints

    Meta-Learning Learning about learning. Self-improvement, accelerate and deepen learning.
    Immersive Environments

    3D space where avatars meet to build things and interact

    Online training room of the future? Used to conduct meetings, prototype designs, test consumer preferences.

    Walled environment (ELGG )

    Combines blogs, wikis, bulletin boards, tracking, and discussion into a single log-in portal

    Coordination, selective access, and tracking make these valuable for schools or other environments which need protection from the cacophony of the web.

    personal knowledge management

    An individual’s personal pages, links, photos, etc.

    Online portfolio and job aid. Learning launchpad

    “Internet inside”

    Internet software behind the corporate firewall

    Get the familiar advantages of the internet (syndication, search, content creation, file transfer, secure storage) inside the organization. Interoperability, lower total cost of ownership, no vendor lock-in.

    Conversion experience Challenging group experience: Outward Bound, witnessing a miracle, personal catharsis, Center for Creative Leadership, shared hardship or deprivation. Learning to be rather than learning to know. Change belief system.

    web two-oh

    The read/write internet as learning platform. “Small pieces, loosely joined.”

    Great way to learn what you need to know to do the job when you need to know it

    Explorations for teams and individuals. Recommended practice exercises.

    Informal Learning

    Connections & networks

    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    Controls

    The O’Reilly report identified eight core patterns:

    · Harnessing Collective Intelligence: Create an architecture of participation that uses network effects and algorithms to produce software that gets better the more people use it.
    · Data Is the Next “Intel Inside”: Use unique, hard-to-recreate data sources to become the “Intel Inside” for this era in which data has become as important as function.
    · Innovation in Assembly: Build platforms to foster innovation in assembly, where remixing of data and services creates new opportunities and markets.
    · Rich User Experiences: Go beyond traditional web-page metaphors to deliver rich user experiences combining the best of desktop and online software.
    · Software Above the Level of a Single Device: Create software that spans Internet-connected devices and builds on the growing pervasiveness of online experience.
    · Perpetual Beta: Move away from old models of software development and adoption in favor of online, continuously updated, software as a service (SaaS) models.
    · Leveraging the Long Tail: Capture niche markets profitably through the low-cost economics and broad reach enabled by the Internet.
    · Lightweight Models and Cost-Effective Scalability: Use lightweight business- and software-development models to build products and businesses quickly and cost-effectively.

    McAfee’s SLATES
    Search
    For any information to be valuable, the users must be able to find it. Hence, effective search tools are critical.

    Links
    Place hyperlinks everywhere, allow for jumps from article to article.

    Authoring
    Anyone can be an author of content. Rather than having a fixed structure of people who create content, and people who review it, new material can be generated by any users.

    Tagging
    Tags are web 2.0 term for placing a user-specific mark onto a document that indicates its relevance or importance.

    Extensions
    By use of a collaborative filtering algorithm, the extension facility can suggest related documents, using the premise: “if you like this, then by extension you will like that”. This same approach is used at Amazon to suggest related books using buying history and preferences.

    Signals
    The enterprise application must generate signals to users that new content has appeared. The conditions for generating the signals should be user-specifiable.

    “CONTROLS” from Serus

    Collaborative
    This is a restatement of the idea that anyone can be an author of content, however, it adds in the idea that the resulting document may be a quantitative report or table, in which some numbers come from one participant in the collaboration, and some from others.

    Options-based
    The system should generate the set of options that the manager has to deal with, include adding in the branches to the initial set of choices when the new information about the hurricane is received.

    Notifications
    The system should generate alerts for the exception conditions. In this case, the placement of the order which exceeds the forecast would start a rescheduling activity right at the time that the order is place.

    Tags & Comments
    This is restatement of the idea of tagging that was present in the McAfee article, with the additional capability that the tagging is now on dynamic content rather than static documents. For instance the tagging and commenting is critical in cross-organizational approval of a plan or document, e.g., Jim will add a comment that “I will approve if Jack approves”, then Jack will add a comment that says “ I will approve if the date is shifted from 3/12 to 3/16”, etc. This kind of paper trail must also be non-revocable, because in the enterprise, it will also be used for tracking Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. An example commenting threads might look like:

    Real-time
    Content is fetched up to the minute, as is shown in the example regarding weather. The same is true for the factory status reports, which come in from TSMC on a real-time basis. Actually, in many cases each individual factory is only generating a report every 4 to 6 hours but the factories are in 3 or 4 different time times, so that there is a time reconciliation issue to deal with as well.

    Open
    Uses open systems content, such as XML. This enables effective transmission of content between the different sites.

    Links
    This is a modification of the “Links everywhere” criteria of the McAfee article, with the idea that the links are also joining the different raw data sources the analysis results, the working documents, and the completed scenarios. It means that when an analysis is sent out, it is not in a set of distinct spreadsheets, but is automatically linked together.

    Scenarios
    The generation of the what-ifs and expected results is critical in the above situation. To carry out the what-if’s the operation manager is trying out different routing plans, different time delays, and different schedules.

    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    Web 2.0 tools

    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    Unmeetings

    BETA

    Unmeetings

    Open source, open space, grapevines and gossip, conversations and stories, learning spaces and learnscapes, unconferences and The World Cafe, podcasts and wikis, graphics and concept maps, complexity and community…these are part and parcel of the free-range learning I investigated relentlessly while writing The Book Continue Reading »

    Organizations & community
    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    Blogs are no longer just blogs

    Today our lives are so entangled with the web, it’s tough to remember what things were like in the early days. Having one’s own website was a badge of innovation, but it was difficult for others to find your website, particularly in the days before search engines. Getting a site up and running was a major personal win; most sites didn’t change much over time.

    Blogs originated as a means of sharing discoveries on the web. That’s why people share blogrolls. It’s also why the most recent entries appear above the fold. Since old news is ho-hum, you don’t expect to lose much of value when archives scroll off the page.

    While blogs began as a means of putting simple points and advice on the web, their ease-of-use led blogs to play a much larger role. Blogs empower non-technical people to post information to the web. When people realized how drop-dead simple it was to post to blogs, they began using them as diaries, family photo albums, professional updates, and group calendars.

    As the novelty of nifty-looking but never-changing websites waned, some web designers began posting fresh content to their websites frequently. The time was right, but I felt like a pioneer when I converted my home pages to blog; I hadn’t seen anyone else do it.

    Blogging attracted both experimenters who enjoyed pushing the boundaries and doctrinaire conservatives who always colored within the lines. Conservatives said blog entries were sacrosanct. Like a daily newspaper of record, once an item was printed, it was not to be changed. Experimenters said that blogs were personal sites to which you could post anything you pleased. Dave Winer, an accomplished but cantankerous blogger, had a reputation for changing his web posts frequently. Programmer Mark Pilgrim wrote a program that listed each change to Dave’s blog. (Dave, who had just been appointed to the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School, hinted that he would bring legal action against Mark).

    My own blogs are host to essays, documentation, stories, photos, diagrams, video, jokes, and anything else that comes to mind. I am not comfortable having items of lasting value disappear off the bottom of the page. People may find a prior post through a Google search but this is not enough for someone who wants to look through, say, my past articles and stories on Total Cost of Ownership of various PCs.

    To keep the oldies-but-goodies alive, I post them to my wiki and/or tag them on Del.icio.us.

    My primary blog is Internet Time Blog. It deals with business issues, travel, and anything that catches my interest. The Informal Learning Blog came out to accompany and extend my book and research in informal learning. I keep private blogs for research.

    My latest blog is for working with the un-book project. I’m using it to categorize, tag, and store paragraphs of findings. Blogs automatically create relational databases of entries. What’s on top no longer matters, for no one will read this blog top to bottom; indexes and tags will lead them there.

    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    News from the Blogosphere

    Learning: Learning blogs (River view) (Cloud) | L&D Pageflakes

    Business: Business Week | Forbes | Fortune | Fast Company | Strategy and Business

    Web: Web 2.0 | Tech News Blogs

    General: NYT | Salon & Slate | Newsweek | First Monday | Edge | Onion | MIT Tech Review | CIO Google News

    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    Management innovation

    “If you’ve spent any time inside large organizations, you know that expecting them to be strategically nimble, restlessly innovative, or highly engaging place to work–or anything else than merely efficient–is like expecting a dog to do the tango,” writes Gary Hamel in his new book, The Future of Management.

    People inevitably shortchange the future by investing all of their energy in the present. Take the practice of management; it’s whirling around in a squirrel cage, running hard and going nowhere. Management values (e.g., control, precision, stability, discipline, and reliability) have not changed in a century. Business has streamlined strategy, production, services, and operations. We’ve cut the inefficiencies from every business process but the most important: management itself.

    Managers are in denial about this. Their people are naturally innovative and flexible; the organizations they work for are not. A handful of companies “get it.” Look at the Whole Foods Declaration of Interdependence. or the corporate culture of W. L. Gore & Associates or Google’s philosophy of doing business. These organizations trust their employees to do the right thing; they give them room to maneuver; and the employees excel with gusto. Why not you?

    Business hierarchies focus so hard on the top as to blind themselves to opportunities bubbling up from the bottom. It’s a new ball game. Instead of maximizing efficiency and avoiding irregularities, managers must create organizations that are limber, feisty, and fully human.

    What to do? Hamel and i agree: you must embrace what I’ve been calling internet values. These include giving everyone a voice, experiment often, power comes from below, communities are self-defining, decisions are peer-based, and just about everything is decentralized. If you’re wondering how to implement this, buy the book.

    Changes in management mandate changes for learning professionals. At the dawn of the network age, managers enjoyed the luxury of annual planning. With objectives fully in mind, managers communicated the firm’s goals to the training department, which in turn translated those goals into workshops, learning management systems, and so forth. Back then, the past resembled the future closely enough that driving by the rearview mirror was feasible. Today’s rapid changes require responsive driving skills. The road is being built a little way ahead and may take a turn we don’t expect.

    Today’s managers work with scenarios and possibilities, not single-track plans. Handing off this bundle of uncertainties to training departments requires new models. Instructional design works best when performance gaps are apparent; ISD lacks the framework to invent non-learning solutions. Meta-learning and flexible infrastructure are becoming more important than individual topics. Some instructional designers will become learnscape architects; others will champion networks and foster professional communities. Learning-to-be will supplant learning-to-know.

    Internet Time Group is a founding member of a network determined to come up with ways managers and learning professionals can prosper in this ambiguous new environment.  

    Gary Hamel’s a wake-up call to corporations that are floundering around with web 2.0 issues is to be found in The Future of Management:

    Unlike their counterparts in medicine, engineering, and computer science, business school professors don’t generally see themselves as the inventors of new methods, tools and approaches. Most study management as it is, and seldom dream of management as it might be, or should be. They describe, but they don’t create.

    I’ve received the same message from clients. You can’t change management. You have to wait for them to move and let a new generation take the reins. Like Hamel, I’m too optimistic to accept dysfunction as destiny. Let’s not trick ourselves. Adopting blogs and wikis to speed up obsolete management practices is admirable, but it’s a short-term fix.

    While e-mail, Intranets, webcasts, and a burgeoning array of online collaboration tools have helped to make management more efficient, there’s little evidence that the Web has dramatically altered the responsibilities of business leaders, or fundamentally changed the way in which they do their jobs—at least thus far. Looking forward, though, there’s every reason to believe that the Internet will change the work of management just as thoroughly as it’s changed every other facet of commercial life. Why? Because the Internet is an immensely powerful tool for multiplying human accomplishment—a goal that is central to the work of every manager and the design of every management system.

    Don’t believe it? Hamel points to five serious design flaws of “modern” management. Read Hamel’s words; I’ll provide shorthand descriptions:

    1. Design flaw #1: Share of voice equals share of power. Solution? Democratize ideas. Encourage meaningful, cross-boundary conversation.

    2. Design flaw #2: Creative apartheid. Make innovation everyone’s job.

    3. Design flaw #3: Under-informed decisions. Use opinion markets to gather the wisdom of the in-house crowd.

    4. Design flaw #4: A monopsony for new ideas. (That’s the second time today I’ve encountered that word. It means “a market with only one buyer.”) Set up in-house angel decision-makers who can invest in the ventures of intrapreneurs.

    5. Design flaw #5: Persistent misalignment between power and competence. Fluid authority.

    Are these changes going to occur rapidly? No way. Organizational inertia is HUGE.

    Turkeys don’t vote for Thanksgiving, and senior vice presidents are unlikely to vote for a dramatic redistribution of authority. Nevertheless, the companies that take an early lead in webifying their management models are likely to enjoy even greater long-term rewards than companies which, like Amazon, pioneered new Web-based business models, or, like FedEx, have used the Internet to transform their operating model.

    Hamel’s book won’t please everyone. Is it legitimate to build an argument around such oddball outfits as Google, W.R. Gore, and Whole Foods? And as with any call for giant change to long-established processes, management conservatives are going to suggest Hamel’s smoking something. While the details will be a whole lot different, I buy Hamel’s core argument and plan to continue exploring management innovation here.

    Gary Hamel at HBS Publishing     

    Gary Hamel is Visiting Professor of Strategic and International Management at the London Business School; cofounder ofStrategos, an international consulting company; and director of theManagement Innovation Lab. He is the author of Leading the Revolution and coauthor of Competing for the Future, two landmark books that have appeared on every management best seller list. He has also written numerous articles for Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and many other business publications. Hamel lives in Northern California. For more, you can also visit garyhamel.com.   

     

    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    Ralph Koster

    Ralph Koster

    Bio, blog, RSSTheory of Fun

    Here’s the presentation that kick-started the book.

    Theory of Fun website

    Cognition
    how people learn
    important voices
    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    Games & simulations

    Clark Aldrich’s Style Guide for Serious Games and Simulations: A Free Online Textbook on the New Media and Language of Learning to Do, not just Learning to Know, is a brilliant compendium of advice, examples, and explanations

    Virtual Leader Case Study: Fortune 100 company saves an extra day of work every week

    Case Study: United States Military Academy – Self-Paced Practiceware Deployment Beats Traditional Approach

    Ralph Koster

    Cognition
    Tools for Learning

    Comments (0)

    Permalink

    Clicky Web Analytics