Monday, November 15, 2010

Open Letter to Adobe

Dear Adobe:

I am very disappointed.

I just spent 5 hours this weekend republishing and reposting Captivate 5 tutorials broken by your latest Flash Player upgrade.

I was lucky. I only had 3 aggregate projects to recreate and nothing on my LMS. If I had to repost those tutorials to my LMS, I would have had to add another 10-30 minutes per tutorial.

I appreciate the effort made by your Captivate 5 team to release a bug fix within a day of discovering the issue. However, the fix really needed to come from the Flash Player team that broke it.

I am now going to spend my day contact other Captivate 5 users at my institution to assist them through this process and evaluating the carnage.

MAKING YOUR CLIENT REPUBLISH ALL OF THEIR TUTORIALS IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE SOLUTION!

From the comments on this Adobe Captivate Blog post, it appears Adobe is going to re-evaluate their testing protocols for updates.

I look forward to your organization applying the lessons learned from this episode.

Sincerely,
A long term and loyal Adobe product user.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lessons in Marketing an LMS

The upgrade of our LMS provided a fantastic opportunity to finally "market" this bugger.

Before the upgrade, or any marketing, we had 2500 active users. This was all word of mouth.

Sally, Sid and I came up with a plan.

Before the upgrade - we did the obligatory warnings and added
- an introductory movie (thank you employers for letting me share this piece of epicness)
- quick references that we included with the warning emails
- a customized "the system is out" page that included the above movie and the quick reference

Directly after the upgrade we did
- In-person workshops. I wound up training 15 people.
- a big, apparently popular, presentation on SkillPort in our Service Excellence conference. I say apparently because my session wound up being only 1/2 full

I have some monthly online sessions scheduled for the next 3 months. The first one is next week. I currently have 0 people.

Funny how the seemingly high demand vanishes when you actually give them the opportunity to DO something.

Here are the conclusions I have come to as a result

1) I am a lousy marketer

2) Maybe the quick references and movies were so good that people felt no need to avail themselves of the instructor-led, in-person training

3) Maybe the system itself is so well designed folks don't need training (personally - I am digging the SkillPort 7.0 re-design)

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Any ideas on how to better market this thing are welcome.
Thanks.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Notes from an LMS upgrade

I am sharing the note I sent to my management chain regarding the upgrade. Names have been changed ...because.....

I did NOT change the name of the LMS vendor, because I thought they did a bang-up job with this new version and with the upgrade.

---------------------------
The SkillPort upgrade that occurred on October 15th was successful.

Time scheduled: 12:01am October 15th - 8:00am October 16th (32 hours)
Actual time: 12:01am October 15th -7:30pm October 15th (19.5 hours with end user testing)

General Comments

I was impressed by the teamwork demonstrated by the IT department during this process. These teams were kind enough to help without requiring a project manager or a lot of browbeating.

- The (Portal Team) did a great job testing the LDAP. The code for LDAP worked without a hitch. M also called me to make sure everything was working correctly once SkillSoft notified us that the update was complete.

- P set up the redirect page we provided and took it down as requested. He also did a fantastic job of following up with me to make sure everything was in place for the upgrade day.

Lessons learned

- This is the second time the search function in our SkillSoft installation was missing some features (instructor-led training, custom content, learning programs) after upgrade. B caught this Monday morning when he went looking for instructor-led classes. SkillSoft fixed it 24 hours later. There was a workaround using Catalog that we could use in the meantime. I need to incorporate a fuller search test into my post-upgrade test scripts.

- Now that I know there is a change board approving outages, I will start that process much earlier. Especially since SkillPort upgrades require downtime during normal business hours.

-The batch add templates changed unexpectedly. This was a detail I missed when preparing for the upgrade. LC and the enterprise development team are working to revise the report so the resulting .csv file meets the new template. Thankfully, the batch add process did not break altogether and I can quickly make the conversion to the new format with the previous report. I will need to take a closer look at our batch add processes and current reporting needs during the next upgrade.

Feedback on SkillPort 7.0 so far

- Overwhelmingly positive. General feedback - it is easier to find things, especially in the Search and Learn section.

- Also receiving positive feedback on the new My Progress section of the site. Especially when I show them the printable reports and how to view ALL of the items done since SkillPort went live.

I will be receiving a LOT more feedback during today's SkillPort session during Service Excellence and will forward any specific feedback to the team.

Update: Feedback during the Service Excellence session was also positive. This tells me that the vendor did a great job making the interface more user-friendly.

------------------------------------------

It feels good to be able to send a positive email regarding an upgrade to management. Particularly when the potential for disaster on both the vendor AND client end was high.

After working with the new system for a bit, I am finding some odds and ends quirks. Often, those quirks fall under the "That's NEAT!" category rather than the "Ugh, gotta work around this" category. Pretty rare for software upgrades.

The biggest process that broke is the ability to directly link specific tutorials to things like emails and external web sites.

Unfortunately, we could not accurately test this with the sandbox environment before the upgrade. I'm afraid this is a result of the re-design / re-code and how SkillPort 7.0 brings up tutorial information.

The initial process was jury-rigged anyway, but that jury-rigged process has become an important part of our operations.

Thankfully, SkillSoft has proven to be incredibly responsive. I think this will be an issue that is resolved in short-order. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

#DL10 - Reflections on DevLearn and other stuff

As those who talked to me at DevLearn found out - I haven't had much blogging or eLearning mojo lately. I've been so busy that times I would normally use to reflect - I just couldn't.

I couldn't decide whether DevLearn came at a perfect time or at the worst time.

On the one hand, it came at the perfect time. I got an opportunity to briefly catch up with my eLearning buddies, get away from the office (something I DESPERATELY needed), think a little, and make sure that my plans meshed with where the industry is heading. I am also thrilled that I FINALLY got a chance to meet Harold Jarche (@hjarche) in person. Albeit way too briefly.

On the other hand, it came at the worst time. I had my SO and a friend with me and couldn't focus the way I normally do during conferences. Some of the sessions seemed too familiar - only because I followed the ideas as they were fermenting in the blogosphere. And because I had been so busy and so silent on the interwebz, I didn't feel like I had very much to contribute to the party this time.

I think I needed the time away from the office more than the fantastic information DevLearn provides. I was

To the relief of my employers, I did manage to walk away with two things of value from the week (besides a reduction in burnout).

1) Biggest takeaway - as a profession, we need to be focused more on creating learning environments and systems and less on building courses or creating content. Courses, training programs and the like are just a very small piece of what needs to be a larger support system for our organizations.

As trainers - we are the voice of the end-user. We can leverage this to our advantage and expand our role to be organizational engineers, not just "trainers".

I've started arguing for a consideration of support systems in a couple of my projects. Not just wikis, online tutorials etc - but the human systems surrounding assisting the end-user at the time of need. Who is responsible for what? Who can people talk to? When? How? What tools will we need to help the end user as they perform x task? Is this process sustainable or will we need to come up with a new process / design for later stages as the product / project matures?

Interestingly, my clients are often still stuck on "training"

And I keep asking them "So what happens after that?"

Maybe if I keep asking, I will see a glimmer of light behind the blank stares.

2) Josh Little and Nemo Chu's workshop on Building High Impact Learning Communities gave me an opportunity to at least start the strategic planning for aspects of a support system for a couple of projects that I am working on. One for a very mature product, one for a fairly new implementation.

A major weakness of mine is marketing. I keep hoping that people would magically start taking advantage of the resources we have available at the University. The workshop helped provide some direction in the creation of strategy.

This, I hope, will prove to be invaluable.

--------------------------------------------------

BTW - New DevLearn 2010 link on the blog and this post.

DevLearn 10

Click it to see all of my DevLearn 2010 notes.

Next conference: Educause Mid-Atlantic in Baltimore, MD.
I am actually PRESENTING at this one.
Poster session currently scheduled around 1pm on Thursday, January 13. If this goes well, you may see variations on this theme at other conferences.

Part of that pesky personal growth thing.....

Thursday, November 04, 2010

#DL10 Random Thursday Thoughts

Had a chance to talk to BJ (who happens to work for QualComm). The example Lance Dublin gave is still more of a "push" technology than he let on. Still a good solution - used to help onboard employees through their first 52 weeks. It's all about culture sharing.

----------------------------------

The biggest takeaway for me so far - we (as eLearning specialists) are in a fantastic position to help create learning / sharing environments. Let the subject matter expert create the content.

These environments are not necessarily technological.

Many of us work in a space in our organization where we get to touch all corners. We are in a prime position to help facilitate and cultivate these environments / cultures in our orgs. Even just the simple "hey you should talk to...." improves value to the organization.

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The other takeaway - my focus on support vs. "traditional" training / course development is a sound strategy. A course is only a very very small part of what we need to be doing.

I think as educators we are in a position where we should be inserting ourselves much earlier into project processes. Sometimes, we are the only voice of the end-user when systems (whether technological, organizational or other) are being designed and developed.

I've seen too many systems developed recently where the end-user was forgotten during the development process - despite the end user being CRITICAL to the success of that system. Then they want to blame the problem on "training" when really the system is missing a consistent model, has too many exceptions and too many complicated inputs. No wonder change fails.

-----------------------------------

I hear it is very pretty outside.......

#DL10 Thursday Afternoon Keynote

Presenter: Brent Schlenker
We are at a point of turmoil and flux (same point of turmoil and flux we've been in)
We are starting to see stuff coming to fruition (true)

-----------------------------------
Presenter: Marcia Conner


Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate
- 5 billion mobile phone subscribers
- 96% of folks under 30 are n a social network
- $650 billion in productivity is lost from unnecessary business process interruptions
- People aren’t connecting as they need to be.
- 9 in 10 trust strangers for recommendations

The demand for progress is clear…just not in your organization

Remember - we are together and not alone.

Focusing on the user - becomes a message that carries through in all the work that you are doing. "I am loved" - from the Learning and Development org in Helzberg diamonds. Thoughtout the org - top / down to customers.

find pearls amid sand easier than ever before.
Also learned that change grows in unlikely corners

They went from being the org focused on education to being the org focused on how people learned.
- Connected and connecting people

Social media not always social - we are looking at a little screen in an empty room.

But this time we are connecting people.

We have always been connecting - but not necessarily in the same way.

LMS - moving to collaborative technologies
- managing educational content similar to sharing


Not the same as informal learning.
- When reading a book and not talking - not social, but informal
- When in a classroom having discussion - social and formal.
- #lrnchat - formal and social

Social media is technology used to engage 3 or more people.
- 3 people: new dynamic. Different perspective and new ears.

Social learning - participating with others to make sense of new ideas
- Social learning theory has been around for close to 50 years.
- Now a small version of the larger idea that we talk about today

Today - more participating and engaging, not just modeling behavior.

What is new is how powerfully social media and social learning work together.

Social media often viewed as a channel. For marketing.
- But much for effective when connecting people together.
- Help people make better decisions

Alone isn't lonely or remote.

Telus - uses flip cams to demonstrate what is going on and upload. Helps folks in the field. In one instance - 1 minute, 40 responses. Includes customers.

Technology changes - humans don't

If your org isn't moving into the space because it is afraid of the technology - remind them people will always connect.

The technologies are not core to the message. It is what the technologies can DO

Social Media Categories
- Social Networks / Online communities (we have them inside the firewall)
+ Many have consumer-facing + employee to employee options
- Media Sharing - video, podcasts, etc
- Microsharing - twitter
+ People who don't blog, don't like "micro-blogging" any better
+ Little pieces of info conveyed across the miles between the big blocks of work we do.
- Living content - Google Docs, Wikis
+ Can contribute, add etc.
+ perpetual beta
- Personal / Virtual immersive environments

There are actually 125 different social media categories - bookmarking, tagging etc

But this is all a continuation of how people naturally work and learn together.

the network makes us safer
Who has best stories?

Who is not using social media because what you do is "too secret".
- Mayo Clinic - where we will end up when all else fails.
- Using social media technologies to manage the flow of info ON THEIR OWN TIME.
+ Not like the beepers
+ Can filter as needed
- Can use the microsharing to ask quickly without meeting in person

Social media can be used to improve knowledge sharing
- foster learning
- provide more informal learning opportunities
- Improve communications
- Finding resources more easily
- Boosting collaboration
- Build organizational relationships

Social media allows people to learn even if they don't think about the work they do as being "educational"

What are you doing? By answering that question - you are educating people around you.

What do you need to know NOW?

We had better be asking what the workplace of the future will be doing.
- Workplace: more women, less likely to have someone take care of details at home for them.
- Deloitte - found that people were interested in changing jobs. Allowed people to find parts of the org they were not aware of and KEEP THE PEOPLE.

Rogers Diffusion Curve of Innovation
- We are still in the Innovator stage
- Not too late to get started.

(and my computer is about to die...... sigh.....)

#DL10 Focus on Research

Focus on Research
Presenters: Brent Schlenker, Ellen Wagner, David Mallon, Melissa(?)Lombardi

When you think of research, do any of you have a research org that you already turn to?
- Some do: includes Ambien Insights, some have research division

Research place where the rubber hits the road
- Challenge to figure out what is being said
- We get squeezed. When we look at it - making it happen is hard.

Questions from audience
- Emerging user interface for mobile devices? mLearning?
+ Wagner - one interface?
- LMS red-head step-child. How will this evolve?
- Low-hanging fruit - creating a learning organization
- What is the latest stuff on transfer of learning?
- Most common things folks think are great but don't work?
- Where does performance fit in?
- Best evaluation strategies
- Games in courses and do adults find this insulting? Does it work?
- Thought leaders - who do you follow? (Dead and alive)

In tech circles - performance = speed + feeds

Women over 40 biggest gaming demographic.
- Adoption of games.
- Solitaire. Casual games. Facebook.
- Research from web use firm NPR.

We borrow a lot of the research and cool stuff that doesn't seem related from other groups.
- Wireless connections? How many wireless connections in the world. 5 billion. Why mobile learning becoming so important.
- Look at related fields and sources. NOT just eLearning.

mLearning
- No shortage of sources of adoption data
- Public source: UN, technology data. Figuring out digital divide questions.
- In terms of mobile learning in corporations - very small
+ Stumbling - who gets the mobile device
+ What does the mobile device mean if you are hourly?
- Data tells us that there is more energy / more successes now than 2 years ago.
+ Bank of America - 44K mobile learning users going live now.
- Still doing boring things - replicating powerpoints (again)
- What's the REALLY useful stuff
+ Geolocation
+ Finding friends
+ decision support
- Health Care - major jump in mobile learning.
+ Frightening free apps. Like emergency room triage
- Intersection between consumer use of mobile devices and use in applications around learning / performance.
+ Mobile learning is a complicated space for an enterprise
+ First - have to get enterprise mobility period
+ Is there real learning going on?
- Learning and Training depts the hole in the donut. We use mobile devices
+ Do we really want to take a course on a phone.
+ Can do web conferences on the phone
+ But I think we are looking for less clunky, more seamless experiences
- If you are out of the office more than 20% - you are a mobile worker.
- What is going on in the consumer world?
+ CTIA
+ UTC
+ comScore
+ Silicon Alley Insider Chart of the Day

What are the industries saying about what we are doing?!?

Performance - a lot of the data for mobile really more focused on performance.
- When you are out of the office, you need customer contact. Documentation.
- Not just a small mobile app.
- What about getting the context while you are travelling.
- Mobile Learning is evolving. Mobile Performance Support here and now.

Real time when needed.

We use these devices because they are convenient.

2 distinct things happening
1) user experience
2) management of learning (like the admin pieces + efficiency)
+ Class approvals
+ Scheduling etc

LMS evolution
- As we understand it - on its way out
- Highly mature market
- 50-60 LMS companies. None of them want to BE an LMS company
+ Talent management suite (we are headed this direction)
+ or Continuous Learning Environment / Social Learning Platform etc
+ or specialist providers
-- Health Care (audiences or a particular vertical)
- Lots of high profile consolidation
+ Talent companies buying learning companies
- Growth in 1K-10K employees. Global.
- Why people buy LMS
+ eLearning delivery
+ Better administration (always will have compliance training + onboarding)

Seeing convergence - orgs are viewing learning
- Reduction in view of learning as formal event
- We "get" the formal part. What about the "after the fact"?

Organizational performance - content management
- How do I make the right info accessible through different ways
- Delivery channels always changing.
- What is core to us? What will have a longer shelf life? Questions org will have to ask.

Publishers are buying LMS companies - more content managment.
- From that - predictive analytics.

We will all be dealing with pattern strategies
- Help with predictions
- Looking at all that data and the patterns. Look at what is really going on in an organization

Predictive analytics (not seeing it so much in eLearning)
- K-12 - predicting points where students will fail and succeed. Policy around it.
- By this time next year, we will be embracing this.

In corporate world, will show up in guise of workforce planning.
- Single system that does this in integrated way.
- How many of x do you have in place. All in the HR systems.
- Not necessarily the learning org anymore. Resource management on human capital.

Learning and Development does more than talent management. Could get squirrely.
- Start seeing the ground up.
- Learning (formal or informal) need mechanism for serving the person.

Until you start creating agreement on "learning" and how to prove "learning", may be tough to determine whether learning happened.
- Community of inquiry - Phil Ice, Karen Swan, Sebastian Dias
- Transfer of training

Business audiences don't care. Do your salesguys sell more?

We need to understand whether what we do is effective?
Are we picking the most efficient way to do it?
Are we aligned with the business?

Frankly - our sr execs don't care about transfer of learning.

Most important metric - moving business metrics forward.
- They don't care. We have to prove we have business' back

What is the low hanging fruit?
- Individual development planning process. 2x the revenue if you have a development planning process per employee.
- Org with a strong learning culture 40-60% better at innovation
- Set a goal that every person in company have 1 thing attached to job that they will get better at next year.
- Most effective way to build learning org - reflection. ex. after project reviews
- We can help business do better at this.

More effective than learning as intervention.

Learning needs to be about helping people be teachers.

Where orgs held managers accountable for personnel development - more successful.

Also look at aspirations of workers
- how can you harness that.
- Intrinsic learning and motivation, seeking relationships,

Organizations that take a strategic view towards career management = less turnover

We find people who WANT to do something.

Career Lattice - the distinction between work and home being rapidly obliterated.
- What does success look like?
- Some of the personalization of learning - separate lives is artifice

Pew Center for Internet in American Life

Massive undercurrent and shift in culture
- the technologies, how we live work lives, merger of the various parts of our lives
- As learning professionals - our old world required "training org" and butts in seats.
- Shift is not just generational. But we are all experiencing it in different ways.

What do we become now?

Where does our value lie within the organization?

Let's use it to empower us.

We are so US centric. Look at chinese example. Because other cultures are much better at channeling intrinsic motivation.

#dl10 Better Live News

Because I have been slack this year. For various reasons.

Shawn Rosler The Gordon Ramsay of eLearning

The DevLearn 10 Twitter Feed Search #dl10

#DL10 Social Learning in Practice

Presentation: Social Learning in Practice: Separating Truth from Myth, Reality from Hype
Presenter: Lance Dublin

Using the concept to solve a business problem.

Questions
- How to do it
- Reasonable expectations - return on investment
- Benefits v pitfalls
- Risk, reward and revenue
- Examples
- Practical application

Context - environment, framework, everything around us
- sets up our expectations

Social learning - have you ever asked question of someone else? Not in a classroom.

Mental models get in the way. How things make sense to you. Perceptions.
- preconceived expectations

Learning hasn't changed.
- Cave baby and modern american baby - both learn to walk just fine. Cave baby just didn't have the technology and still get same result.
- Tools different. Learning itself the same

Learning taxonomy hasn't changed.
- Blooms taxonomy. Change from nouns to verbs.
- Albert Bandura (1977)- social learning theorist
+ One person alone, you have no idea what you learned
+ Most human behavior learned through observation and modeling.
- Innovations come together through tribes. Very seldom does innovation happen through an individual.

We have used social learning. We just may not have used the social media technologies.

Most of the traffic is the younger generation
- the natives are social
- The more social the technology, the faster it is integrated into our culture

We can still do the same things (talk to people across space ), just now better, faster, cheaper.
- Still struggle with time and place - but we are now more social. Now any time, any place.

We are dependent on others to work.
- We have found ways to work together across time and place.

We need to differentiate between the technology and the learning

Social learning has been around for a long time.
Social software has been around almost 50 years
The new social learning is enabled by easy-to-use, socially focused and commercially available tools.

We are able to learn socially - but we can enhance and extend through the new tools.

There will be more of it.

Plus - workplace has changed. new tools

We have been really good with the formal - classes, courses, web conferencing etc
But the informal channel has been around long before - just different tools.

The opportunity is in the space in between
- Mentoring, Knowledge cases, immersive games, podcasts etc

Move towards more intentional informal
- Reading and searching
- Coaching and mentoring
- blogs and wikis
- Podcasts and video

Have you ever done a search with the intention of doing something?

The technologies are allowing us to work in the intentional/informal space.

Groups of people are doing this together. Not just one person.

Case studies
- Qualcomm
+ Business problem - communicate and reinforce corporate culture and values, disseminate info, ID trends, share attitudes and behaviors and onboard new employees.
+ Capturing employee stories - 52 weeks.
+ Emails sending out cultural value every week. All you had in 2005.
+ Moved to website. eMails push. Website pull.
+ The website - allow folks to contribute pictures, video etc.
+ From company controlling content to employees providing content.
+ L&D group serving as the hub and steering the conversation. In initial version - was driving and defining the change.
+ Organic and generating own energy at this point.
+ Driving people to stories.

Social media - about social groups coming together and sharing.

Pictures powerful because they allow you to tell a story.
- Video same way
- Family groups, tribes, cultures communicate through stories.

Social media allows us to tell stories on a scale we never could before.

Qualcomm's problem right now - too many stories.
- Ask them about incentivising (may need to talk to BJ about this case study)

Success about the authenticity of the culture.

In any of these implementations about 20%. If you move 20% of the population - you eventually move everyone else.

Google
- Business problem: how do you grow and innovate by growing and innovating by attracting and nurturing the best and brightest engineers around the world.
- How do you train them? Mentoring? "Training?"
- Solution: iEngEdu - Google's engineering learning platform
+ The engineering community ITSELF with minimal guidance and some direct support (3 ISD people) design, develops and delivers consistent quality learning.
+ Smart search engine to learning
+ ISD provides all the templates. Engineers who have the info provides the info. Engineers who need the info can get it.
+ They are spending all of the time putting together the tools. Vs. the content.
- THey track usage. These metrics are going up.

We don't do social learning. We solve business problems.

Genentech
- Business Problem: Better ways to share ideas and build ideas. Help them self-organize. Push the results out.
- Solution:
+ 4-6 full time people
+ Community platform combining interactive learning methodologies and techniques
+ Using Google Docs along with social networks, microblogging tools, alumni and mentoring communities etc
+ Offloaded the technology. Use the staff to link people into the technology.
+ The L&D people are prodding the communities and helping people talk.
+ L&D setting up the infrastructure - allow THEM to create the content.
+ Also measuring usage and participation. Increasing and successfully pulling people in.

Building an ecosystem to solve the problem.

Notice it is NOT managing the content. (trend across all 3 solutions)

Toshiba
- Business Problem: Lots of competition, need to innovate and respond quickly
- Solution
+ 2 people left in L&D to help support sales folks.
+ Toshiba exchange - People (the community), Content, Tools to access and use
+ Exchange info, build relationships, share sales success
+ built so that it doesn't require training
+ Using NO proprietary technologies (you tube, facebook, wikipedia). All off the shelf.
+ "Has the potential to change the way we do business" - President of Toshiba

Lessons Learned.
- Speed - prepare to accelerate. Just start somewhere.
- Action learning - nothing's certain. Your end product will look different from what you are designing.
- Integration - must be part of a system
- Pragmatism - leverage opportunities
- Work from right to left - keep the eye on the problem you are trying to solve in mind
- Focus on people - demonstrate value TO THEM

People are social
We have new tools
Learning better together
Context is king. If the context is right, they go there.

Learning is not on a continuum.
- The 3rd dimension is contextual

#DL10 Morning Keynote

Presenter: Brent Schlenker

What is the new face of learning?
- Customized learner experiences
- social

You will start to see this theme throughout. Being social - across media, space, time. In person and virtual.

It is NOT about the technology. At the end of the day - about you and the people.

How do you get your learners to connect with you and other professionals.

Technology to help people connect.

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The New Know
Presenter: Thorton May

"The challenges you face are real. They are serious and many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time." - President Obama

We are the most important element of society - the teachers.

We are in a unique moment in economic history. (not necessarily unprecedented)

(Dude, this guy talks fast.....hopefully, someone gets video)
(This video may give some idea)

He is a futurist.
- "Not like this is a real job...."
- or demand and demo

He is an empirical futurist. Well-connected. Travel. Brutally hones. Pathologically observant.
- Goes through 1000 business cards a week
- Takes the business cards and type into a word document

"Your network will keep you safe." your human network.

This is an opportunity to create a keep you safe network.

3 questions
- What do you know?
- What do you need to know?
- How do you come to know?

Catherine Schulz - Be Wrong, Adventures in the Margins of Error

Because we live in a Web 2.0 world

Exercises
- Which historical moment most closely resembles the situation we find ourselves in today?

(we came up with the Printing Press)

We as educators will have to be extraordinary pattern recognizers.
- When the mic to you - the energy level went UP
- We are working on behavioral change as a result of knowledge

Most of the enterprises we are trying to implement change into - they are EXHAUSTED.

Add up the multitasking - we are working a 43 hour day.

we need to give the mic up.

Ever since Socrates - professors have known
- Sitting in the back of the room somehow protects you - not!

Other ideas for similar times
- beginnings of eLearning
- More folks got Printing press (way of sharing info). From the cheers, lots had a similar idea
- Horses to motorcars
- Space race
- Plastics
- Hunter gatherer to agriculture.
- Writing

History doesn't repeat itself - but it rhymes....

What patterns / trends do you see in the responses?
- Technological catalyst
- How do you make a spike?

Thorton May - we ARE the spike

Differences - catalyst could be from any aspect of existence (audience)
- clarify, not instantaneous. Eventually affects everyone

Trap in question like this, by looking at the past we try to use the past as a framework for prediction. This never works (audience). This could be futile.

Thorton May - history can inform. But not six sigma. Let's make new mistakes, not old mistakes.

Power change - all of these technologies and spikes are about power change (audience)

Responses from other groups / audiences
- FDR, the day after Pearl Harbor
- We are criminally unprepared.

Civil War
- illustration of what we are facing. We turn the corner having no idea what is around.
- (please see Pickett's Charge)

We are at a major inflection point.
- The TEACHERS are.

Liminal point - the most awkward point in time when the stable was empty but was rebuilt into a garage

When the C level hears eLearning - what is the first thing that comes to mind?

Cisco - eLearning will make email look like a rounding error

Real trend is - there are these tribes and they think differently
- How are you thinking?

As educators - we need to look at mental models
- Our mental models can be dysfunctional. Should be monitored, managed and upgraded
- Who looks at this in their educational environment?

With regard to learning
- agree / high resources = champions
- agree / low resources = allies
- disagree / low resources = don't care
- disagree / high resources = blockers (gotta figure out who they are and what to do with them)

For us - our impulse is to "educate" the blockers.
- How are you going to "move" them?

Many disciplines advance one funeral at a time.

Have you ever put that blocker's resume on Monster? (hm.......)

The thing about blockers, many of them have children.
- Many as "dim" as they are......
- Hire the kid as admin assistant. Will change the relationship. Took hostages.

How does the rest of the enterprise think about eLearning?
Are we of one mind?
What are we going to do about that?

CEOs think about - competition, revenues, changing landscape, franchisees, execution and risk.

What 3 ways the world we be different 3 years from now?
(We didn't come up with much - audience)
- Intersection between games and learning
- Information will be free. Remember: information itself is NOT learning.
+ the cost point may be in the learning
- More telecommuting / remote
- More global
- Removal of command and control
- We are exfoliating the folks at the top of the enterprise
- mobile device will replace the computer
- ecommerce and communication tighter. Conversion of languages at point of need.
- large population that will still need to be successful without the technology.
- students: more self-reliant. Learning more self-propelled. We need to facilitate.
- we need to share our stuff more

Generational issue is a pattern
- Use of social media is a learning technology. But they see it as a living technology

Change is happening - the monster pattern

Technologies don't last forever.
- Technologies become non-strategic
- We need to manage the entire lifecycle

One way things are going to be different - acceleration

Alvin Toffler - Future Shock.
- We are going to have problems keeping up
- As things change, the power relationship changes

Hinges of history swinging now every 5 years.
- Major reboot. Technolgy, social, cultural

New world, new game, new rules, new behaviors
- Who is going to teach this?
- We are

The pace of change is NOT UNIFORM
- Highest opportunity is to understand where the disconnects are with the pace of change
- Desynchronization
- We can help the organization re-synchronize

Currently have disconnect between storage and processing of info

Every day NSA stores 4x all the info in the Library of Congress.
- they can only put Eyes on 50%. Never mind processing it.

15 years - every molecule on this plannet will be IP addressable.
- Oracle..."That's a license!" (yikes)

In the next 4 year - 2x as much data as today!

Information overload is a feature! What does all that info mean?
- There is nothing we cannot know!!!!
- We are the path to that knowledge

What is going to be obsolete next? (Charlie Rose)
Ignorance (CEO Intel)

It is no longer acceptable not to know.
- You will be SHUNNED by society

Teachers will be the only affordable path out of ignorance.

We are going to have instant replay for any managerial decision that happens.

Is eLearning under-Caesared?
- The amount you are asking for my ransom is not enough - ask double.
- What part of value happens without what we do.

We need to increase our self-worth.
- We are insanely valuable.

Did the people in the Middle Ages KNOW they were living in the Middle ages?
- No concept of progress

We are the progress!

Do the men and women in our organization KNOW we are at a hinge in history.

When you light the rocket - will you have a happy puppy?

#DL10 Early Morning Thoughts

I find that I am needing this time to get away and just think.

A conversation with Cammy Bean clarified what I have been doing over the last year.

The instructor-led training I have been designing has been focused on making the project teams feel better and giving the end-user help and support resources.

The important part of these instructional design is the support resources - NOT the classroom training. This despite the project team's focus on the classroom training being the "true" deliverable. You know....check the box.

When I think about the objectives for the 4-5 courses I have created this year, the first objective is always along the lines of "find and use help resources."

With the reduction of classroom space, the first question I find myself asking anyone who is insisting on classroom training is - do you need the conversation? If not - there are other options.

One of the action items I am taking away from this conference is to get more people at our university comfortable with Elluminate, Captivate and not always thinking classroom first.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

#dl10 The Power of Pull

So far, it's been nice to see old friends again. Ran into BJ this morning and chatted briefly about LMSs and courses.

All Brent is now missing is disco lights.

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DevLearn Twitter feed - all the cool kids are here.

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Emergence of new culture of learning
- We know how to do learning and training when stable. Know nothing when world constantly changing.

Our old institutions aren't hacking it very well. Nor are our schools, etc.

20th century - Push economy. Scalable efficiency the goal.
- predictable, hierarchy, control, organizational routines, minimize variances
- S-curve, stable over decades (few real changes in 60 years)
- More you do something, better you get at it.
- Diminishing returns curve
+ Why we are trying to move faster / harder for same amount of progress
- Carries over to education
+ Predictable curriculum
+ Standards based
+ Authority focused

The 21st c infrastructure is driven by the continual exponential advances in computation, storage and bandwidth.

No stability in sight!

From S curve to rapid set of punctuated moves.
- Never ending.
- unrelenting, exponential.

Change is accelerating. Tiny blips that change the game every year.

Have to re-think everything
Change the way you do everything on a regular basis.
The change often very fundamental / base.

Our challenge - how do we take the tools and this new reality and thrive.

The half-life of a given skill is now 3-5 years.
Ability to predict the future getting worse

How do we move from thinking about stocks of knowledge / knowledge assets and protecting those assets to participating in knowledge flows and creating new knowledge.

From sharing knowledge (explicit) to creating new knowledge (strong tacit component)

Whole purpose of this gathering - participating at the edges.

Big shift
From push to pull
From stocks to flow

(My thought: those who can't figure out how to pull knowledge will be left behind)

Crisis of imagination - embracing change, not fearing it.
- how do you begin to ask "What could I do now?"
- How do we add imagination to our workforce?

2nd shift - the explosion of data.
- Every 2 days, we now create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003. - Eric Schmidt, CEO Google.

Preparing students/workforce for this world of constant change.
- We need to think how we learn, esp the tacit
- What we need to learn
- how new media has changed the game fundamentally

Creating a resilient mindset - ability to change, adapt, re-conceptualize and engage in deep listening with humility.
- Can't run from change anymore.

Gaming - if you are not learning, it ain't fun.
- An environment where people thrive on change.

How kids became champion surfers
- Fail fail fail and fail some more
- Took videos and deconstructed frame by frame
- Used video to deconstruct own performance
- Pulled best ideas from adjacencies (wind surfing, skateboarding, motocross.....)
- Accessing spikes of capability around the world, leveraging networks of practice in an ecosystem
- Attracting others to help them around the world
- Deeply collaborating with each other.

A passionate pursuit of extreme performance with a deep questing disposition and a commitment to indwelling.
- Always looking around for new ideas to pull into their space.
- Indwelling - Marinate in the complex phenomena until you can absorb it.

World of Warcraft - what is happening here?
- First domain we have been able to measure exponential learning

MMOGs are
- Virtual spaces which both define and are defined by the players who inhabit them
- Pay close attention to the 'social life' on the edge of the game.
- The edge is often referred to as a knowledge economy

2 kinds of learning spaces
- in game learning - tinkering/experimentation. Get a feel for the 'system'
- knowledge economy around the edge of the game

Dashboards - WoW way too complicated to figure out what is going on without complex analysis tools and dashboards
- Dashboards always handcrafted by each player and key to masterful play
- Allows players to reflect on own performance

Why do managers get dashboards and we don't?

How do we empower each of us with tools for self-reflection

After-action reviews - key is the replay and analyze the metrics. Discuss what they could have done better.

WoW - blending the tacit and the cognitive
- Collective indwelling and reglection. Marinating together in a problem space with joint action.

Study of chess champions
- Way 1 - study moves and rules. Play in cognitive ways. Think through everything. Constant competition and reflection.
- Way 2 - (the really good people and make it to the next level) play speed chess. 30 seconds or faster per move.That experience leads to extreme champion behavior.
+ What is going on at THAT level?
- Indwelling complements / transcends cognition.

What is happening outside of the game?
- rich knowledge economy around the game.
- forums, blogs, wikis, videos.
- Sheer AMOUNT of activity. 10-15K new ideas posted every night on WoW. How do you process this?
+ Answer: self-organized guilds/knowledge refining community. Folks organize and extract ideas that they feed into the teams.

Are there upper bounds to how much people learn and how fast?

How do you access info / attract info / achieve performance acceleration?

Access - ability to find, learn about and connect with people, products and knowledge to address unanticipated needs.
- Individuals: Social networks that can scale.

How do you find something that you don't even know you need to know?
- Attract people to us who may be able to help one day when we may need it.

How often do you get out of your comfort zone?
- This is amazingly important
- People become too dependent on one facet of their lives.
- Folks tend to isolate themselves from the flows of new knowledge and the people creating them

Achieve - pulling out our full potential by harnessing network effects.

Breaking free of the red queen effect
- Experience curves to collaboration curves
- harnessing networks effects where the more people that participate, the greater the potential returns.

Purpose of the 21st century firm is to achieve scalable capability building (building talent)
- Learning from others as they learn from you
- Accelerate bootstrapping in an ecosystem

Do your organizational routines allow you to experiment? build groups? try things out?

The challenge we have - how do we create contexts? remixable dashboards for us? right kinds of social learning communities? permit rapid learning?

If we want to compete in the 21st century - training and HR has to be at the table
And we have to think about how we are going to transform the organization (not just putting courses on the table)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

#DL10 High Impact Learning Communities Pt 4

This particular section is more hands-on / thought time. Creating your own strategy.
My initial thoughts on what I want to do (at least the partials) is at the link below

Wendy's Learning Community Plan

I will probably update the link later as we get more groups submit their ideas or when I find a better link.

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Bonus with launch - you have a new toy folks want to play with.
Growth - the hardest.

Technologies most likely to be adopted when conveniently placed.

You can design a learning community with the understanding that there will be peaks and valleys in participation. Depends on the type of community.

Also - how do you define success?

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For maintaining engagement, some ideas include opportunities to meet with special executives, special training opportunities, events and games within the community.

Seed questions.

Encourage immediate contributions from the new folks.
- What was the one tip you found most useful when learning.....

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Sustain
- super-users can schedule, moderate, approve/deny content, etc
- you ultimately want the value of the community to be intrinsic to the community
- Chair / gardener - and maybe have it change every year
- Make sure that you are innovating to continue to make sharing etc easier.
- Keep funneling new members

-----------------------------------

You control the rate at which people learn.
And none of this is impossible.

#DL10 High Impact Learning Communities Pt 3

(distracted trying to get work stuff done)

Keep the learner (needs + context of the learner) in mind when designing a social learning solution.

Some tools being considered by the audience
- Jive, Sharepoint, Online forums, Saba, Jambok, Salesforce, Webex Connect, Cubetree, Ning, Moodle, Wordpress, Documentum, Google Apps, Listserv

Remember to create purpose
- Who, what and why of community.

Marketing your learning community
- creating buy-in is similar to internal marketing.
- Goal: get your learner to CRAVE knowledge
- Internal marketing mission critical.

Marketing - remarkable posters - worth remarking about.
+ not about DPI, color schemes and pictures
+ gotta make the poster stick out.
+ think outside the box - quantity or location (bathrooms are a great place to advertise)
+ look for places where folks aren't competing with their time.
+ use area around
+ look at "marketing" to get an idea for how best to communicate your project
+ Don't need large budgets.
+ you are either remarkable or invisible. NOTHING in between.

How to
- Where does a person generally walk by / look at during the course of a day?
- Communication methods available?
- Size, quantity, color contrast, placement, attachment
- Connect all 3
+ Massive poster on the side of your conference room
+ Post-it notes in kitchen - lots and placed by everything you touch

Err on the side of humor / good nature

- effective headlines
- powerful logos

Marketing - effective headline
- vs. catchy headline. 8 people read the headline. 2 people read the rest of the poster
- The headline will need to sell itself (see books)

Principles for creating ultra-effective headlines
- Promise something
+ Value - better, faster, cheaper
- Practical
+ change behavior
+ moving your body rather than just moving your mind

What does almost every employee need?
- job security
- productivity
- best friend at work / support / sense of belonging and community
- empowerment
- satisfaction / meaning in work
- pay
- recognition / self-worth

How to [verb] (noun+descriptor) with/via/in # (noun+descriptor)
How to [beat] your (closest competition) with these #3 (social media tactics)
How to [engage] your (students) via #two (timeless motivational stories).

This may take many more drafts to get something just right.
Will allow you to brainstorm using the formula.

Marketing - Powerful logos
- communicate credibility
- remember - lots of things vying for attention. Depending on past experience, you may or may not have reputation
- some companies see the training org as a "this will be a distraction" or not important
- Sometimes shaking the reputation through marketing can be useful, allow you to start fresh.

If this training program suddenly evaporates, will learners cry out for a replacement?
- goal answer is "yes"

For your champions / initial seeders - want 10% of final audience number
- 15 minimum

One idea: Instead of next step - "rest of you come in", invite group but don't invite the rest.
Let THEM invite the rest - nomination
- create scarcity
- Not everyone can be part of the "elites"

#DL10 High Impact Learning Communities Pt 2

For my example (and goals) I am trying to develop a community of Banner users.

I'll provide the link when everything is finished.

One thought about participation
- remove anonymity and attach value to participation
- 90/9/1 rule

Make sure you gain support and buy in from the beginning. Especially from leadership and key stakeholders.

Key objections
1) I (or my people) don't have time
2) Someone might put up the wrong information
3) Our team already has a wiki
4) Who is going to monitor it?
5) Die on the vine - no one will visit
6) Not secure
7) We already have another tool (LMS, etc)
8) We could get sued (discoverable)
9) Insufficiently transparent or TOO transparent
10) costs too much
11) Not enough controls
12) Unintended use of information
13) My folks won't use this medium
14) Folks will be afraid to post / make mistakes
15) won't meet the tech specs
16) They are going to need yet another login / tool fatigue
17) but we have email!
18) How are you going to prove this works? can't measure this works. Can't quantify in dollars
19)people will be twittering all day
20) Have to get IT involved
21) Not fitting IT roadmap
22) What are the other divisions doing? Duplicating effort?

Most successful communities when looking at cost/benefit use the top-line revenue growth argument vs. saving benefit (employee time/salary etc)

Oh yes - and make friends with the IT department.

#DL10 Building High Impact Learning Communities

Presenters: Josh Little and Nemo Chu
Bloomfire
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Goal: How to become an internal marketer to your learners. Ongoing engagement.

(interesting - 2 people in the room looking to learn more about "community learning" but it struck me that they are still thinking of learning as a one-shot event deal.)

Objectives
- Identify the pain
- talk the talk
- overcome objections
- make a business case
- launch a community

Reason to launch a community - to make the business (and people) better

What is collaborative learning?
- 2 or more people attempt to learn something together. (Wikipedia)

Wikipedia as accurate as Britannica (even more so since errors fixed in minutes rather than years)

Who wants to be a millionaire
50/50 - 50% right
phone a friend - 65% right
ask the audience - 91% right

Crowdsourcing - use wisdom of crowd to find right answer. Folks who don't know will cancel each other out. Because the folks who know will be louder and together.
- Outsourcing of tasks, traditionally performed by a single person performed by a group
- Benefits
+ Do more with less
+ Wisdom of crowd
+ Expand the talent pool
- Wikipedia
- Examples: Digg, Netflix - crowdsourcing the development of a decision engine.

None of us is as smart as all of us.

Can you crowdsource your training?
- Yes

The Pain
- Corporate Trainers
+ Lots to do. No budget.
- Small Businesses
+ Pass on tribal knowledge. Very inconsistent. No training infrastructure.
- Thought Leaders
+ On the road a lot. Need to "duplicate self."
- Brand Marketers
+ Products very technical. Novices need to learn from experts.

Need to move from traditions - top down. Things not trickling down fast enough (or at all)

Move to collaborative - leadership at center.

This is a big step. NOT re-doing the org chart. Redoing the learning map.
- How you get and archive knowledge.

Long Tail - niche content, something for everyone. Often applied to markets.
- Think about frequency of use.
- Most organizations don't create the specific information that may be needed down the road.
- Just in case v. Just in time.
+ 80-90% of what you need to do your job is in the long tail (specifics)
- Also helps to convince clients to slim down the course if the specifics are still being addressed. Not want to dump everything in the course.
- Amazon an example of the long tail. Can find anything no matter how esoteric.

Your training program - why can't you have it all?
- For most, the long tail doesn't exist. More because they can't get to it.

Principles of Collaborative Learning
- Learn or Die
- We all learn and teach every day
- Great teachers rule the universe
+ truly great managers, leaders etc also great teachers
+ Help people recognize that they can actually share too!
- Learning is about sharing and collaboration
+ Everything we learn is afforded or created by someone else
- People learn best from their peers
- Great learning experiences
+ Has nothing to do with the bells and whistles of elearning
+ Everything to do with creativity, humor, diversity, timing, passion, individualization
- good enough is good enough
+ Great learning experiences REAL and in the trenches
- people learn when they are ready to learn
+ not when WE are ready to teach them (please see comment in my prior post as a reminder)
+learning does not have to be about time and place.
- empower, not enroll
- There is energy and potential in the crowd.
+they have expertise you need
+ got to agree on "good enough is good enough"
+ think about the alternative (usually nothing)

Trying to move towards community.
- If it is OK in a training room to say something wrong, why is it not ok in a learning community?
+ we could use it as a teachable moment.
+ part of it is framework
+ part of it is rewarding pro-activity,
+ good gardening to help mitigate the fear of "documenting my stupidity"

Trying to build a community for the ENTIRE org - next to impossible.
- Unless really trying to flatten communication

Think in term of communities of practice
- group of like-minded, like-tasked professional.
- Content related
- Job role, team, project (GW examples: help desk, Banner (tool)

Business Case - 3 questions
- What would my organization gain if we made 1 momre sale.
- What would my organization save by avoiding one adverse event
- Is the sum of #1 or #2 greater than the cost of launching a learning community (cost + human cost)

Case studies
- Spinweb, Michael Reynolds
+learning center - help augment support center
+ Goal: Better customer service to clients
+ Org roadblocks - "sounds hard", populate with lots of content.
+ resolve - populate as you go.
+ to launch - put content in, tell clients and promote. Gradually build following.
+ launch received - positive feedback.
+ challenges - sometimes people not familiar with how to interact. Find a specific question, send link, encourage folks to register and explore with the initial link as an intro
+ successful practices - mention to EVERYONE. When help desk call, meet people, during training, etc

DO NOT OVERANALYZE
- eLearning - 2 minute tutorials help
- Just post content. Make the knowledge available as quickly as possible.

Overstock.com
- learning community for software developers of front end.
- Wanting to document and preserve institutional knowledge. make it available to those who need it.
- need to have incentives to contribute. Otherwise, get the 85 watch / 15 post.
- learning curve for new hires dramatically reduced. Get them up to speed fast because can just give them one link.
- don't make your community TOO specific and closed. Learn from others outside the team too.

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Made it to #DL10

My goal for this conference: to get my eLearning mojo back.

Life and work since Innovations in eLearning have conspired to make me utterly burned out on everything related to eLearning, education, etc.

I have become increasingly convinced that the existance of training departments is solely to check the "training" box during a project or for "compliance."

My bitter self has come to the conclusion that folks in the workplace don't actually want to learn. They want to prove to their boss they are making an "effort". Or escape their cubicle. Or check the box marked "training".

I am hoping that my colleagues at this conference will talk me off this particular ledge.

Please.

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The most successful thing I have done recently is to develop support materials for various projects. The simple documents seem to be the most successful. Go figure.

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Oh yes - also developed an introductory movie for our LMS upgrade to entertain people during the required outage. That went over very well. Particularly the epic goth orchestral soundtrack. I am going to try to get permission to share the movie from my employers.

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Hope to see you all at DevLearn 2010!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Just Doing It

FYI - I am doing a fundraiser for Wounded Warriors and Livestrong called Fight Gone Bad.

My fundraising page is here, if you are willing to help.

The 2 charities:
Livestrong is Lance Armstrong's foundation to eradicate cancer.

Wounded Warriors is for wounded US soldiers.

I personally consider myself very lucky to have friends who have or are voluntarily serving our country and who, to date, have not needed the service of the Wounded Warrior Foundation.

To my friends currently overseas - come home safe and soon.

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Dan S is one of the gentlemen I work out with at 5:30am most mornings. I've known him for about a year. Sometime in April, he got it in his head that he was going to compete in CrossFit.

He ratcheted his diet down. Lost 35# in 3 months.
He worked very hard towards getting a pullup - I watched him do 3 in a row, easily, last week.
He managed to get a handstand pushup within a couple of weeks of putting his mind to it.

I'm watching him work his tail off most mornings as he trains for the CrossFit sectionals in March.

He'll be 50 soon. Dan started in January 2009.

I decided in April I wanted to compete in the Masters.

Next year will be the 2nd year CrossFit has a Masters section.

Dan and I talked after a workout one morning. I had watched him finish a workout that challenged him to the core. Part of his training.

I have no idea if I can even finish the workout. The least I can do is try. Figured I'd just do it. Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky with what comes out of the hopper.

I had been coming up with a list of reasons why I couldn't compete.
- I suck at pullups
- I suck at double-unders
- I don't have a muscle up
- I don't have a handstand pushup
- I just barely do some workouts at 65#
- I suck at running (and flat out hate doing it)
- I suck at rowing
...ad nauseum

"....figured I'd just do it....."

Dan's words haunted me for a couple of days.

In the 14 months since I started this CrossFit thing, I have never competed. Never done a major "group" workout.

"...figured I'd just do it...."

Dan's the reason I am doing Fight Gone Bad.

"...figured I'd just do it..."

Thanks Dan. For everything.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Do This and Feel Better

Kelly Starrett, a physical therapist and owner of San Francisco CrossFit, is putting together one of the best online courses I've seen.

Mobility WOD

What makes this brilliant:

- Each workout is only 10 minutes.
- The information builds on itself
- ANYONE can do it - though the audience is CrossFitters
- You do 1 per day. I enjoy the surprise factor
- The videos + brief post explain the exercise and why it will help
- Starting in post 3 - he's got a physical test and retest to prove that the exercise helps.

The objectives of the course are simple
1) Get more flexible
2) Don't get injured
3) Learn anatomy to help achieve objectives 1 and 2

It's on the student to do the work.

This Mobility WOD post demonstrates what I am talking about.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A New Strategy for Reporting

I've been working with Sally to create a new implementation plan. She and the director have been working on a strategic plan for this LMS.

Read more...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Scope Shrinkage

Monday morning, I put in the final batch add of our staff in our SkillPort LMS.

No groups.
No increase in reporting capabilities.
Very little that actually met the requirements we so painfully gathered.

At least it is progress.

It is also incredibly disappointing.

So how did we get here?

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Throughout the entire project, the senior business analyst has been struggling to create an accurate organizational chart from our enterprise system.

We were running short on time. The senior business analyst was not only struggling to automate the process, she was also pulled into a politically sensitive project that wound up taking all of the time she needed to work with us.

I called the Senior HRIS administrator to figure out how to get the information I needed to create the organizational structure manually. Mostly - position names.

I had the rough structure from the error report from our last test. My planned process - pick through the error report, find the errored position code in our enterprise system, create the new batch add group file. Once I have enough - add the groups and affected users. Pull a new error report. Repeat until I have all the groups in and the error report comes up clean. Figured it would be about 16 hours of monotonous administrative and spreadsheet tasks.

Right before I asked the HRIS administrator how to find the information I needed, I found it. And an unpleasant surprise....

We had 2 position codes for the University President.

Essentially - our "accurate" enterprise system had 2 parallel organizational structures. One for the old president and one for the new one.

The HRIS administrator heard me groan on the other end of the line.

Wendy - if it makes you feel any better...there is another project.

Please don't say "I.... M....." (No, I will not name the project. Some of us have turned it into a "drinking game" and I don't want to ruin the fun.)

Nope - this is for salary planning and merit pay. We have to have an accurate organizational structure for this to work. It all has to be done by Open Enrollment.

So if I can convince the primary stakeholder that waiting for this project to end will help us in the long run, we'll be OK.

She's involved in this salary planning project.

I GUESS that's good news.....

--------------------------------

Thankfully, that primary stakeholder is Sally. I am convinced she is a saint - because anyone else in her position would have completely flipped. Especially as she has spent the past few months watching this project slowly shrink into nothingness.

I laid out the issues.
- We don't have a way to get an accurate organizational structure out of our enterprise system.

- Our top level has 2 position codes - the base of our organizational structure. If the top level has 2 codes (one of which is deactivated), how can we expect our organizational structure to be correct?

- The other project she is on is going to correct this issue.

- That other project is due about the time we do the upgrade in October.

- We are getting more sandbox time around then. (Such is the joy of hosted solutions - our access to a testing environment is at the whim of the vendor).

- If we put the users in, at least we can do assignments on the university-level to individuals, including course registration. So we at least gain a small something.

We took a look at our current timeline for all of the pieces of our project.

I think we can do this Wendy.

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I'm very fortunate to be working with an understanding stakeholder.
However, I can't help but feel I have "failed" in some way.
Such is the risk you take when retrofitting a solution around pre-existing resources.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Creating Magic

Jon Matzner, one of the coaches at my gym, reminded me of Derek Siver's story of his encounter with a great teacher.

Sometimes, it takes another set of eyes from an unexpected direction to revisit an idea.

Jon looked at Kimo as the type of teacher he wants to be. One with high expectations that inspires high performance in his pupils. I see that in Jon's coaching. I try to do the same thing in my classroom. Lots of focus, little fluff.

What made Derek's interaction with Kimo so magical wasn't just a motivated teacher with high expectations - it was a motivated student who craved the challenge.

I realized, upon reading this essay more carefully, that I want to be the type of STUDENT that can take the pace. That expects that much more from myself. That can be fully present in that moment.

It also forced me to ask myself if there is really any "goal" that will motivate me like that? And upon reflection, I have realized that I am very lazy. It's been OK to move at the standard pace. My excuse has been "well - it's more likely to stick that way."

But what if....

What if I could be that student? The one who craves challenge? The one who needs the adrenaline rush? What would that feel like? What needs to happen to get there? What needs to be sacrificed?

Figuring out how to be that student can only help me be that teacher.

QuoteGarden - Learning

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Update on Life and Stuff and Things

I had the Captivate 5 post hanging out for the past month. Partially to really put the product through its paces. Partially because I just haven't had time to write much.

Work Things

Been extra-special busy at work this past year. There will be a write-up of the SkillPort LMS project in the near future.

I've had a number of online tutorials out for review for 6-12 months that are finally coming back to me. One of the bonuses working for a university - they move slooooooow. Managed to get one set up and should have the 2nd (larger and more complicated) set completed by the end of September. Good times.

My audio recording tools + Windows 7 = bad juju. I think I may finally have the gremlins trained.

Michael, the web guy, has been freed from my clutches. After working together through an amazingly complicated project, he's taken that project and his other assignments and run with them. I tell him every day how thankful I am to have real help.

Personal Stuff

Shelving the going back to school thing for now.
1) As much as I tried to talk myself into it, my heart just wasn't in it.
2) Life got a little crazy

My significant other and I are purchasing a house. We will be moving in early September. I learned some things about house-buying.
1) There are a LOT of people who want their fingers in your money

2) The process is amazingly complicated

3) It takes just one crazy person (in our case, the listing agent for the house we are buying) to make the process even less pleasant than buying a car or getting teeth pulled. That's saying something.

4) It is very important to have a great buyers agent to smooth things over when the crazy person attacks. I sense that for 95% of real estate transactions, there is at least one crazy person in the mix.

5) I hope to not do this again anytime soon.

What little spare time I have had left has been spent at the gym. More as a sanity check than anything else.

I'd like to thank the more consistent bloggers and tweeters for keeping me informed and up-to-date with doings in the eLearning space. I've been taking much more than I have been giving recently. You have no idea how much I appreciate the input and ideas.

Attempting Big Goals with Others



Hugh MacLeod - of course

This week, our team had a sit-down with our new deputy muck.

He asked if there was anything he could do to help.

My colleagues had already voiced everything I could think of, but since he expected an answer - I told him about my big hairy audacious goal for the next 5 years.

To build a system where an employee can easily find any information and/or training he or she needs to get better at his or her job.


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The difference between this big hairy audacious goal and most of the big goals I have is the need for others to perform particular tasks to help achieve the goal.

Many of my goals have used others for information and mentorship, but I am the one who ultimately has to perform the work.
- Building a useful tutorial library and support system for a particular application
- Losing 25 pounds and increasing strength
- Finishing my Masters degrees

Occasionally, I will have one partner-in-crime who helps with the heavy lifting
- Creating a Moodle site
- Creating a mobile synchronous online meeting system (in the days before cheap webcams and WebEx)

This time - I need many others to perform the work too.

Learning to play well with others has been a long-time challenge of mine. Simply learning to ask for help has been a challenge.

It has dawned on me that I am now starting the advanced class in collaboration. Adding others to the big hairy audacious goal technical team and trusting them to do their piece has been the theme for the past year or so.

When it is just me, or me and one other person, the politics are easy. Communication and division of labor is easy. The more players - the more complicated.

- Does everyone you need to work with see the value of the big hairy goal? Sometimes, the resource you need the most has the least need for your little project and couldn't care less whether you succeed or not. Doesn't even matter if the mucky mucks SAY it is valuable and "prioritizes" it (whatever that looks like).

- Who does what? Often - with more people, there is some skill overlap. Or, skill overlap with other parties saying the other person should do it. Or, no one with the skill set and pointing fingers at the person for whom the big hairy goal is most important and telling them they should figure it out - even if they are miserably ill-equipped to do so.

- What is the timeline? Do we all agree? Can we all meet it? What other priorities are on each team-member's plate? Does everyone share the same work-ethic? Do they all see the timeline in the same way (a suggestion or a drop-dead, no-flex deadline)?

- Do all of our managers agree about the level of prioritization? Because with more people, the more likelihood the management gets involved. The higher the likelihood of your project being hijacked for the purposes of political posturing.

The more people you need to do the heavy lifting for the big hairy audacious goal - the higher the likelihood of failure. The greater the need for diplomacy, tact and salesmanship.

Basically, all of the skills required for "leadership."

Right now, I'm being tested. And this time, I can't just throw up my hands and either run away or do the damn thing myself.

Looks like I'm "leveling up" whether I want to or not. Wish me luck.....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thoughts on Captivate 5

I had hoped to stall the upgrade a bit longer. Unfortunately, our purchasing arm ixnayed those plans - forcing all new users to purchase Captivate 5.

This is a major UI change, so I had to get up to speed pronto. I have 2 groups purchasing Captivate 5 and starting the eLearning conversion process.

Below are my thoughts.

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- Digging the new tabs and the ability to see properties on the same screen. Took some getting used to, but now that I know where to look - I'm a fan.

- The lack of a storyboard view really threw me. Finally figured out that I needed to expand the Filmstrip to see all of the slides and move things around.

- Big change in my personal workflow - I need to remember to set the Object Styles for each of the standard objects first thing - BEFORE I start filming. It will make the filming process much easier.

- Took awhile to figure out the Master Slide concept. I can see how this will work great if I am using different backgrounds throughout my presentation. I need to experiment more to see how this is going to work most effectively and why you would create multiple Master Slides.

- No more saving separate Captivate Template files. Now I need to create a baseline project. Makes sense. Especially since most of the people I work with tend to copy/paste items from old projects anyway rather than work from set templates.

- Once I took care of the Windows 7 audio problems, Captivate 5 seems to have a much better audio processor.

- Adore the copy/paste slide feature and the ability to have multiple projects open at once. Hooray!!!!

As with any UI change, this one is taking me a while to get used to its quirks. Right now, I am slower with my development and editing. Thankfully, I had a much easier time wrapping my head around the UI logic than I did with Office 2007.

Overall - liking the new Captivate. Haven't tried the Mac version yet since my MacBook Pro is in the process of melting (don't ask). If anyone has any further feedback on Captivate 5 - please comment.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

EDUCAUSE Mid-Atlantic Submission

I hinted yesterday in my twitter and facebook feeds that I was working on a conference submission.

Below is approximately what I sent.

If this goes well, I may submit another version of this session elsewhere.

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Title:Converting to eLearning: A Support and Training Structure

Session Format and Resources:
- Poster session (multiple presentations, same room. One on one format)
- Resources needed
o Standard slide deck
o Multimedia
o Software demo
o Participant access to explore online tools and resources
o Electronic handouts
- Rationale: To provide an opportunity to demonstrate our live setup and provide aids and resources to participants. Also to gain feedback from other experienced eLearning specialists and higher education institutions who are also going down this path.

Suggested Audience: Frontline Practictioners
The session I am proposing will most benefit people who: are new to the content area.

Session Tracks: Supporting the Enterprise through Innovative and Effective IT solutions, Teaching, Learning and Research

Abstract (100 word limit):George Washington University faces a reduction of physical classroom spaces for staff training. As a result, staff trainers and subject matter experts are turning to eLearning to support instructor-led learning or entirely replace instructor-led classes. This poster session will provide a model for helping clients convert their instructor-led materials to eLearning materials. The model includes: eLearning development tools, supportive training, file-sharing solutions, instructional design assistance and LMS scoring and tracking of the resulting solution.

Statement of Problem or Issue (250 word limit): This presentation will directly address how you assist educators and subject-matter experts unfamiliar with eLearning, and wanting to convert material into an eLearning-friendly format, in the conversion of their instructor-led courses. This session will also provide techniques for avoiding the production of click-to-death tutorials.

Description of Activity, Project or Solution(500 word limit):
We designed our eLearning conversion support structure to take advantage of tools and resources already available to the staff trainers at George Washington University. Since the 2 staff eLearning specialists cannot perform all of the eLearning development that needs to take place, we had to come up with a system that allowed other staff trainers and subject matter experts to create their own eLearning materials.

Training and support currently happens as needed by the clients. This allows the eLearning specialist to discuss the specific needs of the client groups as they convert their materials.

Our support structure for elearning conversion contains the following pieces:
- eLearning Blueprint (Instructional Design). Most of our clients are intimidated by the conversion of their materials into eLearning. Often, we are asked to convert huge PowerPoint slide decks. A third-party instructional design tool provides a template for helping clients design and organize their eLearning projects so the result is more effective and engaging.

- eLearning Matrix (Design Tool). This tool assists clients as they determine the appropriate method of delivery.

- Adobe Captivate (Development Tool). We use this as our baseline eLearning development tool. We provide training on Captivate for new users and specific considerations for George Washington University’s environment. We also provide pre-designed templates with the appropriate size settings, university-approved graphics and consistent behavior and appearance across the objects.

- eRooms (File Sharing) . We use this to permit sharing of the base Captivate file. This helps us troubleshoot the file directly and fix potential issues as needed. We also use this as notification for when the tutorial is ready to be ported into SkillPort, our LMS.

- Elluminate (Remote Access). We use this as a real-time troubleshooting and support tool if the client has a quick question or issue.

- SkillPort (LMS). This tool will be the primary content library and reporting mechanism for staff training at the University. Subject Matter Experts, Trainers and Management are provided with reports through this system. A future project will connect the output from SkillPort to a Data Warehouse, allowing reporting on the business impact of our educational initiatives.

Human resources:
- A staff eLearning specialist serves as the primary support person and Captivate expert. She performs the initial training on all of the resources available for eLearning conversion and ongoing support through their design and development processes.

- Each client group has at least one eLearning developer who serves as the primary point of contact between the staff eLearning specialist and the client group

- The Division of IT Help Desk assists with technical issues surrounding installation of any needed software, access to the various resources and PC issues.
Future plans

- A steering committee has been put together to discuss governance and quality assurance for tutorials posted on SkillPort. There are plans for a QA and approval process for all tutorials created for the LMS.

- There are discussions surrounding the creation of a more formal and regularly-scheduled series of classes on eLearning development as the demand for eLearning conversion increases.

Impact (250 word limit):
The Staff Leadership and Development team piloted our model. With their feedback, we have rolled out this support system to Financial Systems and Services, Payroll, Data Warehousing, University Compliance and Medical Center Research Compliance.

Importance or Relevance to Other Institutions (250 word limit)
This presentation will address some common challenges facing universities as they move towards blended and online staff learning solutions.

- Convincing clients that converting a PowerPoint used in their instructor-led class will not result in effective eLearning

- Keeping up with the increasing demand for eLearning creation, particularly at institutions where real estate is scarce.

- Supporting staff trainers and subject matter experts who are in the process of converting their classes to eLearning – either by choice or by circumstance (lack of availability of classroom space, executive initiatives, reduction in training staff, etc)

Session Interaction (250 word limit):
This poster session is specifically designed to accommodate questions and conversations. The presentation of the model, will only take 15-20 minutes at most. The presenter will be encouraging questions and comments at any time throughout the poster session. Demonstrations of any and all tools we use to help support our staff trainers and subject matter experts, will occur as requested by the attendees.
Job aids for implementing the model will be available during the session.

Session Outcomes (250 word limit):

At the end of this session, the attendee will be able to:
- Design and plan their own support and training system for converting instructor led training into a blended learning or eLearning solution

- Identify and assess tools they can use for implementing the model at their own institution

- Utilize various techniques for facilitating the creation of robust, interactive eLearning rather than click-to-death tutorials.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Working with the Deaf

The manager was tasked to train an individual who has been given a new task. This individual is profoundly deaf.

The deaf student had attempted to take an eLearning course on the task. The thought was that he would be able to work the tutorial at his own pace. That, apparently, didn't work. (I haven't seen the tutorial, so I am not certain whether it was an instructional design flaw, lack of 508 compliance or some other issue that is the culprit.)

As a result, the deaf student's managers reached out to my manager for some one-on-one instructor-led training on this new task.

My manager had worried about this session. She asked me to step in and observe once I had completed my own class. I walked in at the 45 minute mark.

It wasn't going well.

As I watched, my manager tried everything in the book to help him understand and perform his new task.
- Screen pointing
- Model and repeat
- Repetition
- Writing and drawing

She would talk slowly and wait for the interpreters to provide translation. She worked very hard to keep her frustration levels down and her tone level (I was behind her, so I couldn't see her face).

No matter what she tried...He just wasn't getting it.

The student used two sign-language interpreters (I've personally never seen that before). The interpreters switched off as the manager delivered the training. At first, the interpreters switched off every 30 minutes, then every 15, then as often as they could convince the other to take over. They cut off the session at 2 hours. The class was only supposed to take one.

The sign language interpreters I've met tend to be incredibly careful with body language and facial expressions. I could tell this was out of the norm. One started displaying the "This guy's a moron" facial expression. The other performed the universal slow breath exhalation of frustration. It appeared that at least one of them had worked with this individual before - and seemed none-too-happy about having to translate for him again.

Something is not right here.

I also got the sincere feeling that I was witnessing the "Willful Stupidity Act." I had seen the "willful stupidity act" before among the hearing population. The willful stupidity act is usually demonstrated by folks who are only interested in their job for the paycheck. They want nothing to do with learning new skills or taking on new responsibilities. No amount of persuasion, motivation or training is going to help this person. If anything, training just gives the individual one more thing to blame his or her "lack of performance" on. The trainer becomes a new scapegoat.

Before the student left, he threw up his hands and complained about how he was expected to do all this work.

We've heard this before.

"You need to have a conversation with your manager."

When everyone had left, my manager turned to me - "I don't think he got a thing out of it."

I didn't think he did either.

We both wondered whether trying to pay attention to the screen AND trying to pay attention to the translator caused the issue. Maybe.

I inquired about any online training he had been exposed to. Maybe he just needed to have something that offers a slower pace and text. Already tried - with resources for questions while he worked through the tutorial.

My manager demonstrated all of the strategies I knew about for working with the hearing impaired, so I couldn't think of any new ideas.

Are there other things we could have tried?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How I Use Facebook

My use of Facebook, as well as the types of friends on it, has evolved over the past couple of years.

Current friend makeup - part professional, part co-workers, part current friends / acquaintances / family, part folks from high-school / college.

I am finding that this has been the best way to keep up with folks that I actually want to talk to from 20+ years back. Better than trying to write letters / xmas cards. Better than trying to dig up some outdated phone number / e-mail / physical address. I catch up with them. They catch up with me. We can see what interests each of us currently have. And, thankfully, most of my friends update with cool links / video etc. Not just "FML! I hate my job!" That would make reading my feed depressing.

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I've been playing a couple of Facebook games. Unfortunately, I find they quickly devolve into the "doing chores" variety. My Tribe is starting to feel like that. Gave up on Social City pretty quickly. Lots of friends on Frontierville - so I may join them to see if the social thing improves the experience or just makes me feel obligated to do chores.

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Best use of Facebook - library of links and videos that I find interesting that I do not necessarily want to organize. Sadly, many of these videos seem to feature Muppets. I guess that is not a bad thing.