Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Better late than never thoughts on the week

The more I go thorough this class the more neat stuff I find and plan to use in my PERSONAL life. However, I am still not sold on the value of these in my PROFESSIONAL life as an instructional designer. I get the sense that there may be value to the tools, but I don’t think we have uncovered the killer instructional application or unique value add that is needed to drive the use of these tools.

I am especially not sold on the use of virtual teaming. From my experience, the majority of instructional teams simply divide up the work. This allows people spend minimal effort and still get a good grade for a completed project. But, they don’t gain the added learning that the team and collaboration are supposed to provide. In my view, they are an educational (grade focused) exercise that does not translate well into the professional (performance focused) world.

Of course that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Team 1 Blended Learning Exercise Response

Situation – rolling out new software to the field.
Question #1 – what are some blended learning approaches to support this?

With any new software rollout, training is usually involved in two ways.
Teaching how to use the software
Addressing change management issues

Here are a few learning solutions that can be blended together to address these.

Teaching software usage
The key is to develop user centric learning that is focused on how learners will use the software on the job.
Delivery options:

  • Self-paced software simulation e-Learning

  • Online classroom demonstration via WebEx or a similar tool

  • Performance support oriented web site including answers to frequently asked questions and "How To" task animations

  • Face to face classroom instruction with hands on practice

  • Web-based and printable job aids

  • Individual mentoring

Dealing with change management issues
The key is to address people’s natural discomfort with change by highlighting the benefits to the user and the organization of the change.
Delivery options to discuss the change:
  • Face to face meetings

  • Online synchronous meetings

  • Self-paced multimedia introductions (audio narrated PowerPoint movies, video introductions, etc.)

  • Individual mentoring

The best combination of these options will vary based on many things including the scope of the change, the ease of use level of the software, the climate of the organization, and the target audience.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Thoughts on the week

I am not sold on the value of a plus / delta post. I prefer a more free form comment on the learning of the week. The important element of the post from a learning perspective is learner reflection. I think general comments on the week allows this reflection to be more meaningful, at least to me it is.

I do not think the educational class model works well for this target audience – working professionals taking an enrichment class. The problem is that the educational class model leverages the fact that most learners are motivated to do the assignments by the fact that they want a grade or certification. In this case, the learners are motivated by a desire to learn the tools. However, with other pressing work / life demands, completing the class assignments tends to fall in priority. This is especially true if the learner feels they are learning and getting what they wanted out of the class.

It is important to keep in mind that adult learners are motivated by applicability of the content to their jobs / lives. Context is king. When learners cease to see the context, they often cease to see the value and stop.

In the spirit of applicability, here are some of my thoughts on how I may use these tools in my job.

- Use of groups and wikis to facilitate collaborative learning and experience sharing of groups of new hire sales folks. We regularly organize new groups of sales people into “rookie classes.” They go through several learning experiences together, but are dispersed geographically. Currently, their collaboration tool of choice is e-mail. I am thinking that we may look at the use of groups and wikis to allow their discussions to have more permanence than an e-mail which is delete-able and non-sharable across rookie classes.

- Use of wikis as expertise repositories. I am not yet sure that there is value to this above a normal web page, but I am playing with the idea.

That is all for the week, back to work. :-)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Week 2 Reflections

While this week took less time than the first week, I find that I am still spending more time on this than I had planned. Good thing I am learning some stuff. J

It was interesting learning more about some of the newer things that Yahoo has, like My Web and 360. I am seeing several uses of these in my personal life. However, I have yet to really see a killer use for them in a corporate learning environment.

I did not want to establish a second Blog. I am a bit concerned about these Blogs, given that they will become findable out on the web under my name. I find that I am hesitant to write anything unless I have really thought it through. This takes time I do not currently have. I wish I had originally established my Blog under an alias.

Social Bookmarking vs Wikis

Social bookmarking is simply a way of storing favorite web page links in a sharable, web-based location. You can see how may others share the same bookmark, but others cannot edit your bookmark. You can also easily see the bookmarks of people liked to you (friends, family, contacts). Through the use of tagging, you can make your links searchable. The search feature is valuable in exploratory learning experiences. Also, you could provide a list of links, gather them together through the use of an unusual tag, and have a group of learners search under that tag to find the specific content you want them to view.

A wiki is simply a web page that can be edited by other people. So, while you could provide others a list of bookmarks through a wiki, anyone would generally be able to edit it. You often have some ability to limit the ability to edit, but then that would be taking away the key advantage of using a wiki vs a static web page. One reason to possibly use a wiki for bookmark sharing vs a social bookmarking site is if you wanted to allow others to add comments to the links and provide related links.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Blogging thought for the day

“If I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed.”

- Talking Heads

Monday, April 17, 2006

Week 1 reflections

So reflecting back on week 1 of the Collaboration in Learning class:

  • It appears that introducing 3 new technologies (blogs, RSS, wikis) at the same time is a bit much for working professionals.
  • Technologies that are designed for the educational market (Elluminate) do not necessarily work well in the corporate environment out of the box.
  • If reacting to classmate’s comments is going to be realistically accomplished with any sort of valuable feedback, the number of students needs to be limited in some fashion. I would suggest breaking the group up into review teams of no more that 5 students. I know I am not going to be reading the comments of 22 other students in addition to the instructor.
  • I need to figure out how to organize my desktop better to manage all these different browser windows that I ended up opening.

While there were numerous challenges in getting up to speed with these new technologies, I did learn a number of things this week. Let’s hear it for failure based learning. :-)

It is not about "training"

Companies do not care what their people know, only that they can perform on the job.

If there was no training, people could still figure out how to do their jobs. It might take them a while, but through trial and error they could eventually figure it out.

The goal of “training” is to reduce the time required before workers are productive in their job. To achieve this goal, traditional pre-performance training is becoming increasingly less valuable.

In order to perform, workers need:
The knowledge of how to perform. This knowledge does not necessarily need to be stored in their brains. It is just as valuable if they can readily access it when needed in another form (job aid, web site, mentor, etc.).
Tools to perform.
Motivation to perform.

Traditional training only addresses one of these. True performance consulting leads to actual performance.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Here is a picture so that I can put it in my profile.