May 20, 2009

Social learning

(Taken from my internal blog at work.)

This is a blog post 'on demand'. There is this new thing out from IBM Research, called the 'blog muse' that lets people request others to blog about a certain topic. The tool will find the 'experts' on the topic and ask them to dedicate an article on is. As I like the approach of 'blogging on demand' a lot, here is my view on 'social learning':

Social learning is not new at all. Some call it informal learning. I think learning is the oldest profession in the world (yes, not the other on), and it has mostly been a social activity until the mass education system of the industrial age changed that somewhat to a sender/receiver happening. What is the most natural thing you do when you are stuck at whatever you are doing at work? You ask the ones next to you. Conversation is social learning (and as Jay Cross called it a lost art.) The thing is that the person next to you is probably not the best person to ask, just the most availabe one. Enter technology. We have a lot of technology now that enables us to make social leaning work better. Social learning has always existed, social networking technology makes it work more and better.

  • We have always been able to ask someone for guidance. But now we have technology to ask people far away (IM), asynchrounously (forums, email), to search for experts, etc
  • We have always been able to coach people. Now we can do it remote, virtual, faster and further.
  • We have alway been able to write down our experience in journals.Now with blogs people can follow our journey and learn from that anywhere and all time.
  • We have always been able to work together on documents. Now we can do that remote in real time via whiteboards, wikis, etc
  • We have always been able to search for expertise. Now a system can link us in real time with available experts via social networking and profiles.
  • We have always been able to bookmark interesting information and learning. Now social bookmarking makes that availabe to the crowd, and the crowd tells us what is worthwhile.

The hugh potential of social learning or informal learning is not to make it formal (and kill it), but to unlock the potential of 70 to 80% of learning on the workplace. Do that by supporting it instead of forbidding it (install your own social software instead of blocking access to facebook), by making it visible, and by making it count.

May 15, 2009


This quote deserves its own post:

All too often, we support content, not learners.
(Patti Shank)

It's true, we all too often do. Protecting learners from the vast amount of unnecessary content would be one good place to start. It's not because the content exists, or someone thinks it wouldn't hurt to know that everyone needs it. Is there an 80/20 rule here that enables us to cut 80% of the content and allow people still to do the actions we wanted them to do by giving the training?

I3 change implementation model

The May edition of 'E-learn magazine' mentions the I3 Change Implementation model in its article 'e-learning means change'. In the 6c learning model, I refer to 4C as context, and adapting to your company's context. Change management is one of the ways to do that. I3 simplifies change implementation to inform, involve, integrate.

  • Phase 1: Inform, generate awareness = answering the what, why, how, who, when and whatsinitforme questions, via posters, emails, presentations, speeches, etc
  • Phase 2: Involve, generate involvement = change attitudes and behaviors and start with key influencers. You can use meetings, road shows, lunches, etc
  • Phase 3: Integrate, generate commitment = make sure the change is accepted as the norm, for example linking it in with the current performance evaluation, key initiatives, processes, etc

May 13, 2009

Weird. Left brain or right brain test.

I'm not a firm believer that artistic and mathematical skills are neatly split among right and left brain. The different halves don't do exactly the same, but the simplistic picture that is sometimes put up of it is an urban legend of learning if you ask me (and read 'brain rules' book by John Medina).

But that's not the point, have a look at this site, and tell if the lady spins clockwise or counterclockwise. That says if you are right (rechts) or left (links) brained. The weird thing is that if you do some other activity she might suddenly change rotation. Is this really a proof that we use right/left brain for different activities? Or some other weird experiment? It does freak me out...

Learning can make an argument

This graph comes from Datanews, a local weekly IT magazine. It lists the education budget per employee for the major Belgian IT companies.
So, why would you select, say, IBM to outsource your IT to instead of EDS? IBM employees get more than double of the education every year. That is strong evidence they are more competent and knowledgeable on the latest developments.
Learning can make a sales argument too. We don't use that enough.

Talent On Demand - book review

For profit corporations have one goal for talent management (including learning): to make supply meet demand.

Read my review on this enlightening book on my homo competens blog.

May 4, 2009

10 steps for integrating e-learning into a business

Kevin Kruse (2004) suggests ten steps for integrating e-learning into a business, I've put in brackets how that links to the 6C dimensions of the 6C learning model:
  1. identify the business need (1C)
  2. gain leadership support (6C)
  3. assess your culture (4C)
  4. choose the technology (2C)
  5. Gather your resources (6C)
  6. identify the appropriate learning model (1C)
  7. define your content strategy (3C)
  8. ensure you've got support (5C)
  9. manage the transition (4C)
  10. measure it (6C)

May 3, 2009

Impact of learning

The video by Kirkpatrick on features in my last post deserves some extra attention. Around 39 min into the video, two slides are discussed on what impacts the effectiveness of a learning program.

Activities contributing to learning effectiveness:
  • pre-work contributes for 26%,
  • the learning event itself for 24%,
  • the follow up for 50%;
What do we see in the spending behavior of the learning function?
  • 10% goes to the preparation,
  • 85% to the learning event and
  • 5% to the follow.
The speaker concludes that we are spending the money were we ware the most comfortable: the learning event itself.

In the next slide the causes of training failure are displayed: lack of preparation or readiness 20%, bad learning intervention 10%, application environment 70%.

It builds a strong case to have more of our attention and money spent on the afterlife of a course. Actually, the whole idea of learning being an event is not the right approach. People learn through a period over time in which they soak in knowledge and skills, learn to apply them optimally and adapt to their working environment and job. : business video education portal is a collection of educational videos for general business use. The library covers the usual topics found in an MBA course.

Take for example this video tagged with learning. It's a son-of-a-Kirkpatrick talking about measuring the impact of learning.