Jan 27, 2010

Dokeos open course LMS becomes Chamilo

There are a few dozen open source Learning Management Systems out there like Moodle (most popular), ILIAS, aTutor, etc. For years I kept an eye on what Dokeos did, an open source from Belgium that did quite well. Dokeos I believe itself was a fork of the Claroline system because of some difference in view. For the last years Dokeos has gone more and more into a commercial direction, with a stripped free version. And now the community of Dokeos developers thinks that has gone too far, so meet the newest fork: chamilo. A few weeks ago this new project kicked off, bringing the old Dokeos code back to a 'real' open source and free community. It is so interesting to see what is going on with socially developed software and their communities. It's not Coronation street, but it is its own kind of soap :) .

Jan 17, 2010

Five trends for brainstorming on learning innovation

Disclaimer: written with dictation software

Last week I lead a brainstorming session for the learning innovation stream at work. It is based on the methods of the corporate GPS by the district of creativity. That method works pretty well because at the end of the afternoon or table was literally full of yellow sticky notes. the GPS brainstorming works with one central question and six themes. The central question was our department's motto "better learning for a smarter workforce", and one of the teams or trends is an open category. I wanted to share with you the five trends chosen.

We learning
We tend to have individual development plans, individual learning, individual assessment, leading to individual behavior and individual performance. for the large majority of services however individual performance doesn't matter. Unless you are an artist or a blacksmith, what counts is the performance of the team. There is not so much you can do just on your own. So this trend investigates what we can do to help the team learn better, and how to assess the competence of the team rather than the individual.

Gesture, touch and voice
This year we expect major breakthroughs in the interaction between people and computer systems. Just look at these videos of Microsoft's project not tell or debt TED video on sixth sense. so far in the learning we have worked primarily with audio and vision. What can these new interfaces do for learning?

More with less
There is increasing pressure on the learning and development department to do more with less, to become more productive. That demand becomes stronger in an economic crisis, but never ever goes away. The credo more with less is not only valid for the production side of learning programs, learners also need more relevant learning and have less time for the learning activity.

Not computers
This trend is about using any learning technology, but not the traditional computer or laptop system. Think about mobiles, think about TV, think about tablets, think about RFID tags, think about e-readers, think about augmented reality goggles, anything but computers.

Learning friendly
For this trend, try to get content out of your head, and focus on creating a learning friendly environment where the context and collaboration aspects are suited for optimal learning. What makes an organization in learning friendly environment?

I'm using a trial version of the site teepin.com to capture all ideas for our innovation work. So far feedback from people has been positive, and the ideas keep streaming in.

Jan 13, 2010

My take on 2010

Now it's my turn to make some predictions on this new year. I guess my main observation is this one: there is not one dominant trend for this year. Everything that was, will continue.

There are new emerging ways to interact with computer systems, and they are targeted for a breakthrough this year. I'm thinking off Microsoft's project Natal, and the sixth sense video on TED. Touching screens will become more commonplace, on traditional computers and all new toys like tablets. Speaking of toys: Google released one, and Apple might soon. Once again, this is the year that mobile learning is supposed to have a breakthrough. for the software part of technology, the bet is clear. if you still twitter is cooled this year, you will have missed the wave.

Within corporations learning and development and is encapsulates it evermore within the broader spectrum of talent management. That trend will continue in process, in platforms, and in departmental structures.

This one never goes away: doing more with less. Crisis or no crisis, there will always be pressure on the learning folks to achieve more [and measurable] results in less time, which has budget, and less people. Don't just think of doing the same stings better, but doing other things. The way retrained 10 years ago will never return.

The debate we had a few years ago about a new generation of learners entering the workforce, was not an accurate one. I'm not contributing to the big question whether learning styles in new generations really exists, and ig generations are defined by age. Research is not conclusive on that. What we will need to deal with in corporations is developing and transferring skills between at least four generations of workers, which may because of their history have different expectations and/or styles. So far boat education and training have mainly dealt with one dominant generation at the time. This simplified life is over, at least for the corporate world. It is not about new generations, it's about accommodating multiple generations, also in your training programs. my hope is that our solution will not be like the one we invent it to accommodate people with all kinds of disabilities for learning. Because of cost reasons, we don't often go for a one-size-fits-all, boring, least common denominator approach. I would hope that we find ways to generate a set of learning activities on the same topic, where people with different preferences and backgrounds will all find the learning they deserve.

And now for the big theme
So there is no single dominant theme. Big deal. Let's invent one. I declared this to be my theme for learning in 2010: learning for a better world. We tend to focus a lot on all the things that are wrong with learning or not adjusted to the current times anymore. But on a positive spin, learning has made a hell of a lot of difference over the years. We did fulfil on our potential to unlock talent and give it access to education and opportunity to florish. Not for all (yet), but for many more than ever before. We did achieve productivty gains in the learning administration and delivery. We did apply new technology and new insights for the better. I like to think that learning in all its forms does make a difference for the better in this world. So let's focus on that. Let us think about all the great things we have achieved, while also carefully considering where we might have done better, and should do so in the future. Learning makes the world a better place. Let us make that the theme of this year. It immediatly answers the ever heard cry for the results and impact of our profession.

PS Made with dictation software, so sorry for all the odd words I didn't spot before I pushed the publish button.

What other people predict for 2010

Disclaimer: I'm still playing with my dictation software. If you see any odd words, that's the reason.

By now, most people have reflected on learning in 2009, and made some predictions for learning in 2010. Some brave people even compared their own predictions which the reality of 2009. in this article, I'm going over some quotes that I found about what people think 2010 will bring in learning land.

Bersin: Josh Bersin released a report in December entitled "corporate learning and talent management predictions for 2010". here are the predictions that strike me:

  • Human resources starts a major transformation from strategic to business driven
  • Leadership development programs focus on first-line management
  • A shift from e-learning to we learning
  • More integration of talent management systems and the acquisition of stand-alone vendors
  • Measurement of human resources and learning alike is a major priority
Inge (Ignatia): I hope Inge is right in expressing that in 2010 learning research will favor pedagogy over technology as the prime focus. Another quotes that strike me: "Learning again for the simple reason that the learning is all around us, and done with every tool we have". Predictions include ubiquitous learing and augmented reality.

Jeanne Meister: she describes corporate learning in 2010 with five words: social, mobile, collaborative, engaging, fun. Was engaging and fun not a promise we made about e-learning a long, long, long time ago? It's probably one of those good intentions you repeat every year, like doing more sports.

Learning Solutions Magazine (Bill Brandon): I think this one nails it: "for most e-learning practitioners, 2010 will be the same as 2009, with no significant changes in practice or tools. However, the need to cut costs will drive constant incremental changes in several areas." Other quotes that strike me:
  • the area where management sees the most opportunity to cut learning costs is design and production.
  • Most notable for tools is the shift of high-cost applications to cloud.(That's a substitution of tools.)
  • subject matter networks as opposed to subject matter experts (via Mark Oehlert)
  • Google wave
  • and then the usual stuff about mobile learning, games and simulations, and augmented reality
Elliott Masie: his predictions include weariness with compliance training, and the search for alternative compliance communication other than making boring e-learning. That is a huge prediction if you know has almost 70% of all e-learning offered is for compliance rather than performance and development purposes. Another prediction is about social networks integrating actionable requests. And then some on video and Skype.

And those are just a few. So what to make of all of that? Where do you put your money?

Jan 3, 2010

I'm reading work smarter by Jay cross and friends

I've just read the first hundred pages of the un-book Work Smarter, written by Jay cross and friends. It is a self published book on lulu.com. Up to page 100 [where I am now] it is surprisingly good for a beta book. I will not write a review here. Instead, I will present you with some key sentences and slogans that have catched my eye. I'm a sucker for a good slogan, it will give you an idea of what the book is about as much as a review would do. I'm a reader of Jay's blog, so I am familiar with his thinking already.

The workplace is an open book exam. Indeed, why stuff all necessarily knowledge in your poor head? Nowadays it's more important to find out at the moment of needs by leveraging your connections and all the web content that is available at your fingertips.

Continual learning to problem solving and collaboration is the key. Again, I agree. You can give them a fish, or you can teach them how to fish. The likelihood that we can train people to deal with the exact situations we intend to train for, is small. It is better to train people how to cope with situations they might encounter.

Knowledge workers need leaders, not managers. Their work is better driven by values done by rules. Managing is not anymore when it's used to be. What does a manager know about the ever-changing world of the professional? These days, your hierarchical supervisor can tell you what needs to be done and where to end up, but not how to get there anymore.

Informal learning, the major source of knowledge and innovation, is left to chance. I'm not an advocate of turning in formal learning in perform on learning. Instead, I favor informal learning to be supported, encouraged, made visible, and in the end make it count.

Executives don't want learning: they want execution, they want performance. In a business setting, it's indeed all about performance and the value that performance will generate. In my book Homo competence, I use the picture below. Learning is only important in so far it helps competence.

Modern instructional design needs to focus on creating flexible environments that nurture learning, rather than rigid programs that attempt to force lessons into the head of learners. Maybe we should have a label "learning friendly", awarded by the learners themselves?

Performance support trumps training every time.but there is a lot of pressure to do the training thing. Even if we know we are overloading people at a moment they will forget because not relevant yet. In the defense of the training folks: they don't really get to say whether the training will go ahead, they just get to make it and deliver it.

Your charter as chief learning Officer is to optimize learning throughout the organization, not just in the pockets that once belonged to HR.The attention of learning folks should indeed spend outside of their traditional kingdom into all corners of the organization, its partners, and its customers.

Free range learners. I just like the terminology I can picture them in my head :-)

Too many people who talk about the ROI of learning are focused on being precisely wrong rather than directionally correct. The ancient 'impact of learning' debate.

You must manage what you can't measure. In the industrial age it used to be the other way around: you can't manage what you can't measure. Now you need to. But how? And how to do it in a meaningful and trusted way?

These are the slogans and key sentences that I wrote down until page 100. As I said before, there's nothing major I disagree which. I like his work. But I'm not part of the group that wants a revolution. I rather pragmatic and how we get to the promised land based on what we have today. You can't change false systems like education and corporate training in a small time frame. Not even if you shout at it.