Tag Archives: learning

e-Liberate! Shall we agree to lose the e?

25 Nov

eLearning.

What does it mean to you? Check out the Wikipedia definition: Clear as eMud.

At some point in my career I was certainly an eLearning (e-learning? elearning?) professional, even an evangelist. Not anymore. Not that I think there is anything wrong with what eLearning has traditionally been, per se, but just that we have moved beyond the e’s usefulness as a signifier.

As I’ve argued on several occasions, learning is our job, and we all are swimmers in the vast digital sea. Whatever eLearning means to us insiders, a large chunk of our learners and sponsors(!) imagine
e-courses to be clicked through as quickly as possible (if at all) so work can resume. The saddest bit of all is that a good portion of well-intentioned practitioners also think that way about the products we develop.

The Zombie E has had its day, but it is time we kill it.  Jawboneradio via flickr (http://bit.ly/1CbhDCq)

The Zombie E has had its day, but it is time we kill it.
Jawboneradio via flickr (http://bit.ly/1CbhDCq)

However, the shift is underway. I see it in the conferences I attend, via the PLNs I find so valuable, and in noble efforts like the Serious eLearning Manifesto. We now speak of learning experiences, and programmatic efforts to capture and share informal, ongoing, and “back-channel” learning. Through xAPI’s positive influence (more influence than practice at this point), Twitterstorms and organized peer hangouts, the means for professional growth are expanding. We are grappling—and sometimes succeeding—with how to integrate all of our training and learning events under the umbrella of learning practice.

So, what does the e mean? I really don’t know at this point. I no longer think of myself as an “eLearning” professional, but as a learning professional. Courses (tethered to an LMS or not), blended learning, live events, social media feeds, WOL/Show Your Work opportunities, PKM practice—these are all levers to be applied as the learning, professional development, and organizational goals dictate.

Digital delivery, via screens large and small (perhaps “mobile” needs to go, too?), takes the lion’s share of our work. And when live events occur, we work to integrate and amplify the strengths of the two together. So, it’s just learning, right?

Well, then: It’s time to embrace the future by losing the e.

Learning Guild? Learning Manifesto? Learning Industry? Yes, that’s what I’m suggesting. We are learning professionals, implementing learning programs.

Who’d have thunk that AOL’s “You’ve got mail!” (never email) slogan was ahead of its time?

I very much welcome your thoughts, rebuffs, and ideas on this topic. Leave a comment here, or find me at @BenCpdx.

Interesting extra information on the 70-20-10 myth

17 Oct

This is an interesting discussion. I still believe that the 70-20-10 structure is a good way to get folks who have historically relied on formal programs exclusively to think in new ways about their training needs. Informal learning — and developing a culture that honors it and skills for individuals to capture and retrieve it — is crucial in our always-on, data-driven workplaces. However, the writer here is correct that those numbers seem arbitrary and are probably meaningless. So, I guess I ride the fence on this debate, but am very interested to see more thought and research in learning, formal and informal.

From experience to meaning...

I really love blogging, and this reaction on my earlier post on the 70-20-10 myth with extra information by Michelle is an example why I like blogging so much:

Hi,
maybe a recent quote from an article by DeRue and Myers in The Oxford Handbook of leadership and organization (2014) can shed some light in this discussion:

The existing research on experience-based leadership development spans across a wide range of different types of experiences, including informal on-the-job assignments (McCall et al., 1988), coaching and mentoring programs (Ting & Sciscio, 2006), and formal training programs (Burke & Day, 1986). A common assumption in the existing literature is that 70% of leadership development occurs via on-the-job assignments, 20% through working with and learning from other people (e.g., learning from bosses or coworkers), and 10% through formal programs such as training, mentoring or coaching programs (McCall et al., 1988; Robinson & Wick, 1992).

Despite…

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Quality, efficiency or efficacy? Hmmm … I’ll take all three!

22 Sep
fast-cheap-good,

Triangle of compromises, from 11 Bridges.

You’re likely familiar with triangular development tradeoffs: good, fast or cheap—pick two.

However, I suggest that when people are empowered to control their own learning, at their own chosen times, and within a framework that supports personal exploration and mastery, it is the epitome of learning efficiency. That is, better, faster and cheaper!

What does that look like?

Let’s take a look at a common professional services business topic: managing client expectations. It could have been any number of hard or (especially) soft workplace skills, but for our purpose here, let’s go with managing clients.

Traditional training and L & D approaches call for a comprehensive set of learning and mentoring activities. These may include classroom time with role-plays, eLearning courses sequentially laid out in an LMS, conference attendance, webinar sessions, readings, etc. There is nothing wrong with these approaches, but they don’t sit comfortably on two points of the tradeoff triangle, and certainly not all three. If done well, and tracked to metrics to demonstrate efficacy, the traditional treatment is a large, expensive endeavor. It may be worth it in the long run, but it is hard to get support for such rich projects.

Imagine an alternative program, one in which individuals are able to control their own professional development with thoughtful guidance. The added element is that the learners have to demonstrate their work—that is, work out loud as they collect information, connect ideas and form practices that fit into the working culture.

Perhaps you begin by providing a curated, annotated list of articles, videos and websites. Ask the learner to review and reflect on those items. Then, assemble additional resources into a collection (social bookmarked via Diigo, Scoop.it, Delicious, etc.) The collections are open to others, so that they share as they save (share is the new save!) via the enterprise social network (if one exists) or Twitter, Facebook or any other available platform. Every week or so, learners come together to present, discuss, compare and practice together for a short time (say, a working lunch hour, in-person or via web-based meeting platform), under the direction of a mentor and/or learning professional.

What have you gained? A cohort that is mostly self-directed, taking responsibility for their own development, creating a learning and collaborative culture, and normalizing how to manage client expectations (see how the topic almost becomes secondary—in a good way!) together with the manager’s direction.

If you have one or two great ideas for good interactive modules or focused, purposeful webinar topics, great. This framework allows targeted, well-designed instruction to take root in the larger learning culture.

What you end up with is an effective learning program, potentially bringing higher and more diverse quality than is possible from even the best L & D team on its own, while saving the cost of numerous eLearning courses or formal learning events. It drops the assumption that the established practices for client management already in place are better or preordained, welcoming ideas from across the networked world.

It covers all three corners, enabling a full 180° horizon, overcoming false choices that stand in the way of organizational agility and vision.

Open the triangle and see the horizon of learning (and perhaps, the reading rainbow).

Open the triangle and see the horizon of learning (and perhaps, the reading rainbow).

Creative Commons and Discovery Learning

10 Apr

I’m not a graphic designer. I’m a very amateur photographer, and a mostly-non-recording Imagemusician. So, I’ve had little reason to pay very close attention to the Creative Commons movement, and how it is changing the way creators and consumers of digital media interact.

But with a little help from articles like this, I’m realizing more and more that how we share, use, re-share and reference resources that are readily available and a mere click away has a lot to do with the way we learn today. And even more about what ways in which we’ll be learning in a very close-at-hand tomorrow.

It references back to ideas about learners as their own curators and creators instantly enhance learning. For adult learning and professional development, it will be interesting to see the ways this intersects with the move towards “big data” and the movement towards available data crunching and graphic display technology that has been the buzz in the business world recently.

From “Information Workers” to “Learning Workers”

15 Mar

(Adapted from the “About This Blog” page)

frustratedinformationworker

E-Learning Strategist: That is my job title, and it provides me with challenging and fun ways to synthesize my experience from Instructional Design, Teaching, Training, Adult Learning Theory, and E-Learning.

But I find myself begging the question constantly: What is e-learning?

Or to put it another way, since we all use technology everyday in nearly every aspect of our lives, from student to professional to citizen to consumer, in what significant way is “e-learning” different from simply “learning?”

If The Information Age began with the advent of computer-based jobs and grew up to be the world of instant information on any topic, anywhere, any time, then where are we now? I propose that we are entering a post-Information Age, and into a Learning Age. Our main task — as organizations, as professionals, as people — it to constantly learn, adapt and make sense of an ever shifting, technology-driven environment. It’s daunting, isn’t it?

We are, in essence, not “information workers,” not only “knowledge workers,” but learning workers.

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