Dec 29, 2008

New 6C learning site is live

The new 6C learning site is live.

It replaces the old one (on Dotnetnuke, and not updated for over two years) and also has the updated version of the framework. The useful stuff from the library on the old site is still available, along with a few overview presentations of the 6 areas: Concept, Computer Infrastructure, Content, Context, Collaboration, Coordination.

The new site has been made with the standard and free version of Google Apps, more specifically the Google Sites application. I must say I'm impressed by this new feature (a port from JotSpot that Google purchased). The only moderatly difficult part is to change the DNS records of my domain to point to the google services, but the applications are very easy to use. I also integrated the overview presentations directly from Google Docs. At first I tried to make them with That must be the most beautiful web application I've seen to date, but it just was too slow to be any good to me, so I gave Google presentations a shot.

Oh, it's on

6C learning framework : new slides

Here are the new slide decks to introduce the 6C learning framework. They are available on and soon on the brand new site

6C learning in 6 questions

6C learning how to samples


I'm going to close down the old 6C learning forum very soon now and start an all new site. I thought the following forum posts deserved preserving, so I'm going to dump them just in one big post here:

Some interesting free documents at the website:
- 13 ways to manage informal learning
- 50 ideas for free e-learning
- 7 ways to market e-learning


This site gives info on a hosted LMS system they describe as 'learning 2.0', based on AJAX and all that 'web 2.0' stuff.
It's English only, but has a virtual tour and extensive online help. You can create your own free hosting account and create a course. You can charge students for your course (nuvvo charges 8% transaction fee).

A nice example of podcasts used for learning.

It has small training movies on how to provide first aid. Put it on your ipod of PDA and use it (just in time) when you need it!
Creating online content is a team sport

(taken from Patti Shank)
Most folks who build online instructional materials can't do it all. But building good online learning in
any kind of effective and efficient manner requires that one possess expanded skills.

Here are the major skills that are often needed for building online instructional materials:

Instructional design
Graphic/visual design
Technical writing
Creative writing
Information design/architecture
Web authoring
Quality assurance
Learning infrastructure
Project management

Yeah, it's a lot. Before you become overwhelmed, however, keep in mind that not every project requires
deep skills in all these areas. But a lack of skills (and not knowing when other skills are needed) leads
to ineffective (or worse) online instruction.

Survey by Explores Myths About Online Learning
When online higher-education students were asked what they think the biggest myth is about online learning, their top three responses were: "It requires less time and effort," "The work is easier" and "It is a less effective educational/learning format," according to a recent survey by More than half these students indicated they spent more than 10 hours per week on their course work. Despite the workload, 90 percent of the online students surveyed indicated their experience was good or better, with more than 83 percent saying they would recommend online education to others.
ROI calculation is a natural next (or first?) step in e-learning : why do we spend that money? What do we get back?

Here is a link to a toolkit for return calculationin workforce change management:
'The rise of the high-performance learning organisation'\learn\rise_hp.xml

1- Alignment of learning initiatives to the business goals of the organisation
2- Measurement of the overall business impact of the learning function
3- Movement of learning outside the 'four walls' of the organisation to include other members of the overall value chain such as customers and channel partners
4- A focus on competency development of the organisation's most critical job families
5- Integration of learning with other human performance systems and functions such as knowledge management, performance support and talent management
6- Blended delivery approaches that include classroom as well as both synchronous and asynchronous electronic learning
7- Mature design and delivery of leadership development courses

Pick the low hanging fruit

As a recommendation, you should identify the 'low hanging fruit' for your learning projects. If you concentrate on the quick wins, you can quickly prove the value of learning and get the necessary credibility and executive support for your next step in the learning transformation.

Some ideas to help identify those learning needs:
- what is the main goal of the company this year?
- compliance with regulatory directives
- organisational change (merger, acquisition, reorganisation, moving to another building,...)
- performance improvement (new product, cost reduction)
- competitive forces
- new hiree training
- IT projects (IP telephony, desktop upgrade, SAP introduction, ...)

Any more ideas on the 'low hanging fruits'? What is the key learning need this year in your organisation?
free ebook the business impact of e-learning

Just found this on the internet:

It can be ordered (paying) or downloaded (free). It's a disseration of a doctoral student at universty Nuyenrode (June 05).
Justify elearning investments in three phases

Just came accross a Gartner study (ID G00131076, publication date 13 Oct 2005) on e-learning investments.
Their point is that e-learning requires sustained investments over many years but justification for this spending will change with time. They advise to use a three-phased approach to retain the support of corporate managers.

Phase 1 : e-learning lowers training costs (= justify investments on cost savings)
Phase 2 : e-learning makes employees more productive (= operational/tactical benefits)
Phase 3 : e-learning helps achieve business goals

Any comments on this justification?

An IBM executive briefing paper (see documents) lists three similar phases for governance of learning:
1- Training efficiency
2- Business Unit Performance
3- Enterprise Readiness

Dec 19, 2008

Facebook on the workfloor: the numbers

I read a lot of companies ban Facebook access for their employees because 'non productive'. It reminds me of the times companies banned Internet access alltogether because 'non productive' and 'not work related'. We'll need to go through the same with social software. Yes, it can be misused. So? Not allowing people to interact with their network is cutting them from half of their knowledge (a lobotomy as I call it). Ask for responsible use, make a code, track abuse. But don't just cut it...

Anyway, some numbers on Facebook usage on the workfloor from this week's edition of Vacature:
- 18% uses Facebook at work more than half an hour a day
- 29% says their boss knows they use Facebook at work
- 57% has both personal and professional friends in their network
- 17% has their boss added to their friends list
- 34% of hr people screen candidates on Facebook

Dec 17, 2008

the smart cut: reading Training Industry Inc ezine

Clips from reading this month's edition of Training Industry magazine:

- Ed Cohen reflects on the current crisis in the editorial as "One thing history tells us is that the parachute will open... this economic cycle will come to an end." The article is entitled "weather this storm, prepare for the next". I don't agree with his notion that this is like any other crisis our young industry faced, this one could be much deeper. But I do like his idea of "the perfect storm" building up. When the economic thing, together with the demographic thing, the new leadership for a changing environment thing and others all happen simultaneously and all simultaneously impact learning. It is in contrast with Clive Shepherd who thinks the only crisis is the economic one to worry about right now and that thinking of new generations of learners at this time is like rearranging the desk chairs on the Titanic. One more point of interest is the quote "Companies that treat their people well, even during difficult times, will be the long term winners." I agree, don't just stop learning flat, not even for one quarter. Cut it smart, not alltogether, you will cut in your own future, not your own fat.

- Doug Harward lists 7 concrete ideas for impacting the bottom line : leverage internal resources, reduce administration, reduce travel for training, consolidate vendors, reduca your vendor's cost, rationalize portfolios and convert learning courses into learning content. Let me turn this useful list into 7 questions:
  • Can you involve your internal talent for what you do best?
  • Are you generating lots of reports noone reads?
  • Are travel costs bigger than the training costs itself?
  • Do you have a lot of vendors that each have a small piece of the training cake?
  • Can you renegotiate with your vendors?
  • How does a particular course impact the corporate mission?
  • Are you leveraging the wealth of information on your intranet besides what is locked in your LMS?

- There is a very good article on informal learning. Take the 'perfect storm' as an opportunity to push more into a blessed, supported and sustained informal approach to learning on the workplace.

the smart cut : why do we need click here click there application training?

Why do we still make such an amount of e-learning that is nothing more than 'click here, click there' application training? That is sooooo last century.
When productivity tools like office applications were on the rise and getting employee productivity to new heights, it was a very natural thing to have book shelves full of 'how to work with application X'. I guess it's because that was the way we learned back then: thorough, step by step, building knowledge that would last a lifetime because things never changed. But these applications kept on changing every year, books were reprinted and reprinted, and e-learning took off with one of its killer applications: application simulations. The camtasias and other tools of this world specialised in making 'click here, click there' training got big. They even got into 'application cloning' for training purposes (like Datango or Assima).
Now we see the rise of social software that will bring the next productivity kick, moving productivity from the individual to the group. Did you notice the total absense of traditional learning for these tools? There are no shelves at my book store full of books on how to use Facebook, write an article on Wikipedia, twitter or blog or how to use Yahoo Messenger or Skype. We have gotten used to working with applications without needing the details. It's like getting directions in a building: we are just told where to go, and we find our way. Nobody at the reception desk will explain how to take the elevator, open a door or such things. We kind of collectively figured out that a button with 'cancel' will cancel the transaction, please stop teaching us that already! We have figured out how to interact with an application and get what we want. And applications have learned to ignore the engineering design and go for somewhat usability. That helps too. Finding your way around a web site or application is a basic skill. Acquiring that skill should have been done years ago and if you are not on that waggon, it's too late for businesses to spend money on that. Go back to school, or have the government take that up.

I would say: it's time to cut most of that 'click here, click there' training. If I would ask you what you learned in the end you would say 'I learned to click a button'. Kudoos, you're an A student. What we need is to know what the application is capable off, how it fits in what needs to be done (process, task, whatever), the 10 basic things to get us started, who we can ask for help if not the person next to us and especially what it will change in our work lives (and by the way, for the better.)
Allow me to suggest an alternative to application training. Did you ever hear of Jing? It's made by TechSmith, the creators of CamTasia. It is a very easy stripped down version that allows end-users to take a snapshot of an area of their screen and annotate it, or to make a small video recording of their application. Try it out, a child can do it. I imagine a 'learntube' site in your corporation where you host channels like "How to ... with SAP", "How to ... with Lotus Domino". The learning department makes the first 10 movies with basic tasks and posts them. All others are uploaded by users. It's rated by the community and the best rated will be on top. It's searchable. It's a community tool for and by the community, out of the formal learning loop. And it wouldn't cost a great deal. Makes sense? Stupid? Let me know...

the smart cut: CLO magazine article 'the outlook is not getting any better'

Chief Learning Officer published an article on the economic downturn with the title 'The Outlook's Not Getting Any Better'. Yes, companies continue to announce massive layoffs. Here are some sentences of the article I found worth quoting:

- 70 percent of HR professionals feel budget cuts across entire organizations are likely

- Typically, training is one of the first items to be cut, but Cohen believes organizations should avoid that route....In the case of budget cuts, learning and development organizations need to be prepared. To avoid haphazard cutting, organizations should look to see they can tighten their belts.“You really need to think about what the costs are associated with training,” Cohen said. “You try to find ways to continue learning but minimize other structural costs that go along with it. If it’s possible, shorten the length of training. Where you might have purchased a three-day course [before], think about purchasing a one-day course. ... But my hope for organizations is that they find a way to continue the learning, but reduce the cost associated with that learning.”

- Learning becomes even more critical when an organization is cutting back on raises or bonuses, as these are ways to retain employees. ... An employee will remember [that the] organization tried to give [them] as much as they could, instead of cutting as much as they could.

Key point to remember for smart cutting: 1. It will happen, so please prepare. 2. Don't stop the learning as a whole, but cut its cost via all possible ways 3. You can use learning to retain the people you want to keep, especially at year end when folks think over their next moves...

Dec 16, 2008

The smart cut - go open source (or even open content)

You probably have a lot of expensive licensed software you use for learning. An LMS for administration and e-learning delivery, authoring tools, collaboration tools, social software, ...

Open source software is not something just for the home or geeks. It can have its place in the corporation as well. Sure, only the license is free and you will need to work out the sustainability, support and other issues via a community. But for the most popular open source softwares there are companies who provide services like installation, customization, maintenance, hosting or support for you.

The most popular open source LMS (learning management system) no doubt is Moodle. It comes with a lot of modules the community has made, in multiple languages and has a thriving community and business around it. It started mainly of in schools, but has corporate attention now too, albeit currently a lot for test servers or departemental learning servers. There are others: Dokeos in Belgium, ILIAS in Germany (scorm certified even!), Atutor in Canada, ... But maybe the one with the biggest corporate endorsement behind it is Sakai, a Java based open source LMS.

You'll find a lot of open source software for learning on the web or even on this blog. Just have a fair look at what open source software can mean for your smart cut.
Some more I recently discovered:
- Pachyderm is for web-based authoring of multimedia presentations.
- : Salasaga is an open source authoring tool for making application simulations e-learning.

Oh, and there is even open content too! MIT started to put its content openly on the web. (See MITOpencourseware) Why can't industries not do that? Do all car manufacturers need their own modules on basic engine stuff? Do all banks need their own version of how to calculate the value of options? But maybe I'm dreaming now...

Jef Staes at the Creativity Forum

What can I say, I'm a fan of the man and his red monkeys. And he has more and more in English now.

Dec 15, 2008

The smart cut - make, keep, freeze and cut

This is a suggestion for smart cutting your training catalog. It deals with the formal part of learning, anything that comes in classrooms or has to do with courses, curricula, certification and the likes. So it does not deal with the informal (or natural) part like communities of practice, social networks, forums, having a mentor, etc.

Here it goes:

Step 1 : Find out what the top 5 business priorities are for the year. If it's a big organization, you might need to do this exercise for various regions or business units. I can imagine for example that the business and learning needs in emerging markets as India and Russia might be different from the established ones with near zero growth.

Step 2 : Now get out your catalog of training and map it to the business priorities. Assign an impact number: 3 if the impact is this quarter, 2 if it is short term (like less than a year), 1 if it is a long term benefit (like next year).

Step 3 : Keep (or make if non-existing) the learning related to the business priorities that have an immediate impact (3).

Step 4 : Keep (or make if non-existing) the learning related to all you MUST do. This includes legal requirements on export regulations training, security training, ... depending on your industry. There might also be promises to unions that cannot be broken on short term, so that's a MUST training too.

Step 5 : Freeze, all other training that relates to business objectives, but without immediate impact. Unfreeze when there's an economic uptick.

Step 6 : Cut all other training out of your catalog. (You might push it off to informal learning or do-it-yourself learning.)

Would this work? Does it make sense? I bet the MS Office training you organize, be it via classroom or via e-learning, doesn't fit the business priorities. Why are we even still having formal training that just shows what buttons to press? That is so last century. But leadership training or sales training might make a lot of sense now. So keep that.

The point is: when you need to cut, decide on what to keep (or make), freeze or cut. And do it based on business priorities.

Dec 11, 2008

The smart cut: Check.point article on learning in a tightening economy

Checkpoint learning today published an article entitled 'Technology enabled Learning in a Tightening Economy'. Here are some cuts I made from the article:

"For such a young industry as ours, we’ve had more than our fair share of ups and downs. But this time, we may be able to defend ourselves." : true, for a young industry we had our swings, but hey, that's what it means to be in business today. Things are more volatile and prone to go to extremes than ever before. It's a new given. Don't know who showed it at Online Educa, but the number of days the stock market grows or shrinks more than 4% has gone through the roof the last years.

"If we can demonstrate that the value delivered by learning technologies can navigate an organisation through troubled times, we may have less to fear than ever before. The problem is that when it comes to the value we create and the benefits we deliver, our industry has on the whole failed to present a unified, clear, and above all business-driven case." : all too much true. And ROI is not necessarily the best way to prove your value. Just prove if with real evidence, not hippie talk. There was an interesting talk about evidence of learning on Learning 2008 by Doug Lynch.

But the reason I am mentioning the article here is their view on the 2 agendas that go on at the same time:

"The efficiency agenda" – use technology to deal with similar learning challenges as previously, but cut cost and time
"The effectiveness agenda" – use technology to add value in a way only new technologies can; to address learning and performance challenges in new ways

And then they go on with a nice table with examples of both. But hey, you can read for yourself. Key point for the smart cut: work both on efficiency and effectiveness.

Dec 10, 2008

The smart cut - calling the learning field to think about it

Hello fellow learning professional!

It's all around us: in the newspaper I read about car and steel plants that stop production for a few months. My bank is still there, but others are not. Germany and other leading economies are officially in recession. So what will 2009 bring for learning? It's the economy, stupid!

In the last weeks I had the privilege to hear many people talk about their views on the impact of this crisis. Some are in denial, think it will not happen to them, think they'll sweat it out, think they are untouchable as Iceland. Some predict the end of the capitalist industrial age. Some don't know. Here are a few of the mixed messages:

- I read in a poll amongst Belgian employees they still expect a raise next year, crisis or no crisis.
- Jay Cross says: First off, be aware that the magnitude of the financial meltdown is almost beyond comprehension. ... We are witnessing the final meltdown of the industrial economy.As in other tough economic times, training budgets will be cut. That’s a given. But I can foresee training departments being eliminated almost entirely. And I fully expect a third of more of the corporations in our audience today will be re-engineered, chopped up, overtaken, and dismembered beyond recognition by this time next year.
- Clive Shepherd agrees: In this situation, for learning and development professionals to be fussing too much about the needs of a new generation of learners would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. First let's deal with the iceberg.
- Most learning chiefs don't expect their budget to get cut.
- Lucy Kellaway predicts the year of the CFO in the Economist. The financial manager will gain influence over all others, and many CEOs might be replaced by people with a financial background. The war on talent will not be the key topic of 2009.

So there seems to be a crisis arriving, but we are unsure on how long it will take and how deep the impact will be and if we need to act. But understand this: HR and learning departments will be asked to cut. History has its way of showing that.

So I would say DON'T do anything of the following: deny, hide, berry your head in the sand, wait until the storm is over, fear, wait for the ax to fall, do business as usual, ...

I would recommend the learning industry to take the ax in its own hand, and cut smart. Because that is our duty: to make sure we don't blindly cut but do it smart. Actually, with the 'opportunity' of this crisis, and the demographic shift, and our understanding on how adults really learn most (no, it's not through formal classroom training), and advances in collaborative technology this is a great moment to cut learning right.

This is a call to all people involved in learning to help think about the smart cut.
I know you are all busy, but any ideas?

the smart cut
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: learningcutcrisise-learn...)

6C learning framework adjusted

I just never got around to make the changes till now. The original 6C learning framework dates back 4 years and was based on (e)learning projects I was doing at the time and my thesis at the Vlerick school. Things have shifted from that time. So I did some updates to the wording of the 6 attention areas of the framework. It's not making the framework fundamentally different, just more adjusted to current thinking.

The framework just puts forward 6 attention areas you need to address in learning projects. How you fill it up is entirely based on your best judgment.

1C - Concept
Answer this question: what makes learning matter? What's the vision? Goal?

2C - Computer Infrastructure
Get the fundamentals right, think about your learning infrastructure. This means technology.
(Still looking for a better term that also starts with a C, any suggestions?)

3C - Content
What is it about? Get in relevant, good quality, to the point content.

4C - Context (previously known as Culture and Attitude)
Put the content in the right context, adapt for personal goals and company or general culture. Make it relevant to the job and community. Connect with previous knowledge and future application of the learning.

5C - Collaboration (previously known as Coaching)
Collaborate with experts (coaching) or peers (social networks). Learning is a social activity.

6C - Coordination (previously known as Coordination and Control)
Now steer the whole thing and monitor. Loop back to the concept and fix if the goals are not reached or not in an optimal way.

I still need to update the 6C learning site itself, but I'm not sure that is still going to be in 2008...

Dec 9, 2008

Guess where human capital builds up most?

I saw this slide during Richard Straub's presenation on Online Educa Berlin. It's taken from the Lisbon Council. It shows how you human capital (what you learn) evolves during your lifetime. Guess what the big red part it? It's what you learn on the job...

Dec 8, 2008

The 5 minute university

As seen before the workshop of Jay Cross started...

Dec 4, 2008

Just a thought...

Will this whole Generation Y thing give the learning profession finally the momentum to change learning to what we know and wanted a long time ago?

(thought on Dec 4 somewhere in the middle row of the Online Educa Berlin Potsdam room listening to Clive Shepherd)

Dec 3, 2008

Online Educa Berlin braindump: day minus one

Tomorrow the conference starts, but today was the pre-workshop day. I attended a workshop by Jay Cross on informal learning. And when it arrives, get his book on informal learning too. During lunch I attended a press conference in German, believe it or not.

First: Berlin is always a great place to visit this time of year, and it looked like it was going to snow, but it turned out just thick rain.

Now for the braindump of what I remember of today and scribbled (oh, I usually scribble quotes or catchy phrases):
- There is a great video on YouTube by the comedian Guido Sarducci on education, need to look that one up.
- informal learning = natural learing = fun
- management 2.0 : find out yourself how to connect the dots
- don't concentrate on the individual, but on people working together
- Nodes want to connect / hiearchies are unstable
- there is no difference in learning and teaching
- it's ok to lurk (= hang around), you also learn from that
- Something they do at La Caixa (Barcelona): have project blogs maintained by the project manager - sounds like a really good idea for internal project communication
- Swiss study: the most enjoyed informal learning what also with the least learning outcome. (!?)
- 70/20/10 rule : 70 percent of learning is from working with it / 20 percent learn through others, 10% formal learning via courses and the likes

And I also learned that this year my attention span to listen to speakers that don't use images has dropped to a minute or a few minutes at most. Then my minds starts wandering away on me. Need to watch that.

Well, off to the speakers reception now!

PS If all bloggers would kindly tag their Online Educa Berlin posts with oeb08, we can consolidate that faster for the big battle of the blogger session at the end on Friday.

Dec 1, 2008

Video from Learning 2008 (Masie)

Elliott Masie posted some video of his latest Learning 2008 conference. I haven't been able to go this year, but I attended last year. Haven't seen all the video's yet, but I recognise some speakers from last year. For example I remember Doug Lynch giving an interesting speech on ROI for learning and moving to evidenced based. This year Elliott asked him the top one thing the learning field should do in the current time. His answer: "Demonstrate that what we do matters." Bulls eye.

Oh, and the 'Learning is the only way to go' video is funny...