Category Archives: Popular

10 most popular posts of 2012


Google Analytics tells me these are 2012′s greatest hits on


pinkDan Pink’s new book

Dan Pink has written another best seller. (The book won’t be released until December 31 but is already in its third printing.) The U.S. Government reports that one worker in eight is a sales person. Dan disagrees. He thinks we’re all sales people, even though a lot of us are engaged in “non-sales selling.” Instructors, lawyers, doctors, bankers, and you and I spend a lot of time persuading, influencing, and convincing others to do something even though it doesn’t ring the cash register.


Learning by Doing


Sitting Kills

eamesThe science is still evolving, but we believe that sitting is harmful in itself,” says Dr. Toni Yancey, a professor of health services at the University of California, Los Angeles.



The Coherent Organization

Organizations and their people are members of many different types of networks, for example, communities of practice, the company social network, and close-knit collaborative work teams. You need to optimize participation in all of them.


A Puzzler

What do the following people have in common?

(They did not graduate from college.)


Formula for Happiness

Here’s the overall prescription.

  • Relationships. Nurture your connections. Be compassionate. Express your gratitude. Love others.
  • Flow. Enjoy peak performance by doing what you enjoy. Seek appropriate challenges. Apply your signature strengths. JFDI.
  • Mindful. Pay attention. Count your blessings. Savor the good stuff. Be open. Express your joy in life. Favor positive emotions over negative.
  • Calling. Embrace a noble cause, something bigger than yourself. Take note of your progress. Don’t let the bastards get you down.


Giving My Computers a Break

Could my outbursts against the computer be stressing me out? Nobel prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman has demonstrated that the slightest emotional transaction can color one’s mood for hours. And I was swearing at my computer whenever I hit a glitch, which translates into one rant every fifteen or twenty minutes throughout the day.

Would it make me happier if I stopped griping about the machine? I decided to find out. (It’s working.)


Nothing Personal

What does the phrase Don’t take this personally bring to mind?

Being fired?

Not being selected for the new project team?

Being assigned a task you don’t want to do?

Who’s kidding whom? These things are very personal.


Why Corporate Training is Broken And How to Fix It

The world of business is undergoing a profound shift. Workers are making more of their own decisions. They don’t want to be told what to do. They want to learn but they don’t want to be trained. Learning is shifting from top-down to bottom-up and sideways. Collaboration is replacing command and control.

It’s not that training departments have started screwing up; it’s that the world around them has changed. Training departments push training, while workers search and ask for the information they need. Both just want to get the job done, but they’re operating in different eras. The disparity creates a power struggle that the workers are destined to win.


Flipping Corporate Learning
More important for learning outcomes, the time spent in class can be put to more productive use. Learners convene to get answers to questions, discuss examples, put what they’ve learned in context, debate, explore, and extend their knowledge. Instead of passively listening to an instructor, they actively engage the material. Instructors, freed of the need to mouth the words of lessons, focus on helping learners understand things and coaching individuals. These activities can take place online, and people can learn from one another in virtual communities and support groups.

July 2010 Best of Informal Learning Flow

Best of Informal Learning Flow

July 1, 2010 to July 30, 2010

A few minutes ago, we inadvertently posted June’s articles by mistake. My goof. Please overlook it. Here’s the right stuff.

Featured Sources

The following are the top items from featured sources based on social signals.

  1. 10 Reasons to Stop Apologizing for Your Online Life–, July 15, 2010
  2. “Millions” Of Home Routers Vulnerable To Web Hack– News , July 13, 2010
  3. The next wave of programming languages– OReilly Radar, July 6, 2010
  4. The Willpower Paradox– Scientific American, July 26, 2010
  5. How To Find Images You Can Use Legally– Workplace Learning Today, July 9, 2010
  6. Misfit Entrepreneurs–, July 20, 2010
  7. What The Knicks Just Told LeBron: Come To New York And Make $1 Billion– News , July 1, 2010
  8. Where Facebook’s half a billion users reside– OReilly Radar, July 21, 2010
  9. How the Old Spice Videos Are Being Made– ReadWriteWeb, July 14, 2010
  10. How Social Media Drives New Business: Six Case Studies– TechCrunch, July 17, 2010
  11. Social Media’s Critical Path: Relevance to Resonance to Significance–, July 19, 2010
  12. Ten Reasons Chinese Companies Fail In The U.S.– News , July 21, 2010
  13. App Inventor and the culture wars– OReilly Radar, July 15, 2010
  14. 10 Inspiring TED Talks for Startups– ReadWriteWeb, July 13, 2010
  15. Extispicium– Cognitive Edge, July 1, 2010
  16. Five Ways Pixar Makes Better Decisions–, July 15, 2010
  17. Yahoo! Media Chief Says Content Farms Won’t Kill Journalism As We Know It– News , July 21, 2010
  18. In defense of games in the workplace– OReilly Radar, July 19, 2010
  19. You Got A Touchscreen, I Got A Touchscreen…– Lockergnome Blog Network, July 8, 2010
  20. Why Johnny Can’t Name His Colors– Scientific American, July 12, 2010
  21. How Knowledge Management Is Moving Away From the Repository as Goal–, July 9, 2010
  22. BookLiberator Lets You Make E-Books Cheaply (And Is Definitely Not Intended For Copyright Violation!)– News , July 19, 2010
  23. Everything You Need To Know About The Fragmented Mobile Developer Ecosystem– TechCrunch, July 5, 2010
  24. Blog – ‘Activity Streams’ Will Be the Glue of Your Online Life– Technology Review Feed – Tech Review Top Stories, June 30, 2010
  25. Plants cannot ‘think and remember,’ but there’s nothing stupid about them: They’re shockingly sophisticated– Scientific American, July 16, 2010
  26. Why Your Customers Don’t Want to Talk to You–, July 28, 2010
  27. Researchers Show How Twitter, Twitpic Make Stalking Simple– News , July 19, 2010
  28. Web 2.0 risks and rewards for federal agencies– OReilly Radar, July 23, 2010
  29. Wikis and Learning – 60 Resources– eLearning Technology, July 13, 2010
  30. Later School Start Time Leads To Better Students– Scientific American, July 5, 2010
  31. The illusion of progress lights a fire– Mind Hacks, July 20, 2010
  32. your rapid prototyping tool for ipad: keynote– Adaptive Path, July 15, 2010
  33. How to support informal learning– Informal Learning, July 12, 2010
  34. Having Reasons– Half an Hour, July 6, 2010
  35. Modern scholarship is a race against its own obsolescence– Abject Learning, July 19, 2010
  36. R-Buttons and the Open Marketplace– Doc Searls Weblog, July 19, 2010
  37. [2b2k] Long-form and web-form arguments– Joho the Blog, July 18, 2010
  38. –, July 21, 2010
  39. Infographic: Our App-Happy World– Fast Company, July 20, 2010
  40. Top 10 USB Thumb Drive Tricks [Lifehacker Top 10]– Lifehacker, July 10, 2010
  41. Building an Audio Collection for All the World’s Languages– The Long Now Blog, July 21, 2010
  42. Robot teachers – endlessly patient, CPD updates in seconds– Donald Clark Plan B, July 20, 2010
  43. Getting All A’s But Flunking Life – IQ Scores Climb As Creativity Sinks– Eide Neurolearning Blog, July 19, 2010
  44. The Evolving Nature of the Corporation– Irving Wladawsky-Berger, July 9, 2010
  45. The Social Media Cigarette Break– Learnlets, July 6, 2010
  46. No place for the young in the economy now – Food is the key– Robert Paterson’s Weblog, July 18, 2010
  47. Kill The Meeting– edublogs, July 28, 2010
  48. It’s all relative– Internet Time, July 17, 2010
  49. Amazing Story of Openness – 2010ED366 a story.– Dave’s Educational Blog, July 23, 2010
  50. EVER TRIED TO HIT A MOVING TARGET AT TWENTY PACES WITH A COLT 45?– Performance Learning Productivity, July 15, 2010
  51. Video: Secure Passwords – Explained By Common Craft– Common Craft – Explanations In Plain English –, July 7, 2010

Other Sources

The following are the top items based on social signals.

  1. Well Played, Blackboard, July 8, 2010
  2. An introduction to social media – for learning and performance enhancement, July 7, 2010
  3. Blackboard Takes eLearning to the Education Enterprise, July 12, 2010
  4. Role Shift, July 5, 2010

Hot Topics

Information (1067)

  1. How to support informal learning, July 12, 2010
  2. Outsource the Work, Not the Leadership, July 19, 2010
  3. Managing in Complexity, July 13, 2010
  4. Knowledge sharing, one at a time, July 21, 2010

customers (593)

  1. Why Your Customers Don’t Want to Talk to You, July 28, 2010
  2. How Call Centers Use Behavioral Economics to Sway Customers, July 13, 2010
  3. Four Lessons on Culture and Customer Service from Zappos Founder, Tony Hsieh, July 14, 2010
  4. Social Media’s Critical Path: Relevance to Resonance to Significance, July 19, 2010

Company (1468)

  1. Ten Reasons Chinese Companies Fail In The U.S., July 21, 2010
  2. How Reframers Unleash Innovation in Their Companies (And Beyond), July 13, 2010
  3. White House Tax Plans Favor Foreign Companies, July 21, 2010
  4. Companies Clutching Cash But Stingy With Jobs, July 1, 2010

partners (295)

  1. Product Management Software Company Atlassian Takes A Huge, $60 Million First Round Of Funding From Accel, July 14, 2010
  2. GE Partners With Big Silicon Valley VC Firms On Smart Grid, July 13, 2010
  3. EveryTrail Partners With Fodors And Others To Launch Interactive Travel Guides, July 23, 2010
  4. For Partners: The 12 Benefits and Risks of Windows Azure, July 12, 2010

Google (696)

  1. Google Secretly Invested $100+ Million In Zynga, Preparing To Launch Google Games, July 10, 2010
  2. Google vs. World: 79 Places Google is Being Sued or Blocked (Map), July 15, 2010
  3. Google Launches “App Inventor,” DIY App Creation Tool for Android, July 12, 2010
  4. Google Offers Mobile Payment with Chrome Checkout Extension, July 5, 2010

Jay's latest book focuses on social & informal learning in the cloud

The January 2010 Edition of Working Smarter was released today. Subtitled Informal Learning in the Cloud, this edition focuses on social learning and implementing web 2.0 technology.

The hardcopy version of Working Smarter costs $19.98. Believe me, I’m not trying to fool you with trick pricing. My publisher’s algorithm won’t let me charge $20 even. I figured $19.98 was better than $20.01. Buy the 240-page hard copy.

The download version of Working Smarter costs $12.00. I prefer the hard copy myself but your mileage may vary. And of course you can get the soft copy right away. Buy the download.

Here’s a map of the book:
Working Smarter Topic Map
(Click the map)


Introduction … 3
What can you achieve with this book?…3
Who should read this book?…4
How the book is organized …4
An unbook6
New in 2010 …7
Preface .. 10
Cataclysm …10
Internet Time Alliance…12
Working Smarter … 14
Network Effects …14
Business Results…21
What can we do to improve this informal learning?…23
Techniques and Patterns…24
Rethinking Learning in Organizations…30
Getting Started…35
Informal Learning …36
Genesis of the Informal Learning Poster …37
Become a Chief Meta-Learning Officer…93
Social media for collaboration…110
Resources on line ….119
The Research Page…119
The Home Page …120
Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies .121
People and their Brains….128
Network Effects…139
Business Results….153
Speak the Language of Business …156
ROI is in the mind of the beholder …162
Perspective ….172
Techniques and Patterns …174
Rethinking learning in organizations …201
Learning is not enough…224
Back Matter….225
Bibliography …225
About the author..228
Where I’m coming from …229
Maps of Book Content …235
Acknowledgments …238
Index ….238

Reflecting* on the second half of 2009

*If you are not reflecting, you are not learning. Here are some things I learned from in the past six months.

I bought a Flip HD

The Flip UltraHD camcorder is a breakthrough learning device. Two hours of high-quality video from a cam that slides into your pocket. All for less than $200. Here’s a sample:

I continued to experiment with learning video. I prepared these videos to show at Online Educa.

Design Thinking

Had my design consciousness raised at Overlap ’09 in Monterey. The press thought our meeting nefarious.

Business Week tells you “what went on at the clandestine affair.”

This year’s motley bunch included an assorted portfolio of designers; businesspeople, investors and MBA graduates; a tech systems architect who was also a former Navy Seal; and a tai chi master. The mean age was in the high 30s, with several people over 60 and a few in their mid-20s. “Despite coming from different backgrounds, we’re all risk takers We don’t fit in normal places so we make positions for ourselves,” says Dila, 45, who also has a PhD in philosophy.

Internet Time Alliance

Jane Hart, Jon Husband, Harold Jarche, Charles Jennings, Clark Quinn, and I formed the Internet Time Alliance to help organizations innovate in learning. We are outspoken advocates of curriculum-free, interactive, self-service learning. Organizations call on us to grow ecologies where work and learning are one and the same, where people help one another build competency and master new crafts, and where all strive to be all they can be. Open, participative, bottom-up, networked, flexible, responsive: that’s learning with business impact.

Last month we selected Charles Jennings to be our CEO; I will serve as Chair. I am really looking forward to working with my esteemed colleagues, who are also great friends.


Chair and CEO of Internet Time Alliance

Provided marketing and distribution advice to half a dozen web 2.0 companies, all of whom wish to remain anonymous.

Learning is Not Enough

Began to embrace idea that Learning is not enough. “Learning is a necessary but insufficient condition for working smarter. Dictionaries define learning as acquiring knowledge and skills. But we all know skilled, knowledgeable people who don’t get things done, don’t we? Learning that doesn’t lead to doing is no better than not learning at all.”


Informal Learning 2.0

In the world of business, the era of networks is crowding out the Industrial Age. Network connections are replacing rigidity with flexibility, penetrating internal boundaries and silos and obliterating the walls that have separated businesses from their customers.

Networks reduce transfer costs to zero, enabling companies to focus on what they do best while outsourcing what others can do better. Networks also speed things up, often at a terrifying rate, making the corporate world unpredictable. In sum, networks are ushering in new ways of doing business. Corporate approaches to learning have to change, as well.

Productivity in a Networked Era: Not Your Father’s ROI

Today’s networked era requires a new way to make investment decisions that incorporates intangible assets and more accurately depicts how value is created.

The industrial age has run out of steam. Look at General Motors. Look at Chrysler. We are witnessing the death throes of management models that have outlived their usefulness.

The network era now replacing the industrial age holds great promise. Networked organizations are reaping rewards for connecting people, know-how and ideas at an ever-faster pace. Value creation has migrated from what we can see (physical assets) to intangibles (ideas). Look at Google and Cisco.

More Human that Human

My last column called for the abolition of corporate training departments. Now some instructors and traditional instructional designers see me as a job threat. They needn’t worry. Enlightened e-learning requires more people, not fewer.

Ten years ago, venture capital firms issued lengthy reports explaining why e-learning would take the world by storm. Their underlying economic argument was cost-cutting: less travel, fewer facilities and no more salary expense for instructors. It was a classic industrial age proposition: Replace humans with machines. That first round of e-learning largely failed for precisely this reason. You can’t remove the humans from learning.

Whose Learning Are You Responsible For?

Last month I conducted several workshops to inject informal and social learning practices into hidebound organizations that were anxious to ramp up to the future. I encouraged them to address the needs of people who had traditionally been left out of the corporate training agenda.

Come Together

Organizations have woken up to the power of people working together. Collaboration gets things done and is the most powerful learning tool in the CLO’s playbook.


I conducted several onsite workshops to inject informal/social learning practices into hidebound organizations that are anxious to ramp up to the future. My intent is to challenge a couple of dozen managers to each come up with a major change project and shape up a pitch to sell the idea to their organization. I intend to coax them to plant dozens of seeds. If one or two take root, it may ignite the process of organizational transformation. This has me thinking about where companies should be placing their bets.

By the way, I can do this with your organization for a nominal fee. Virtual or face-to-face.

Clark Quinn and I gave a one-day workshop on implementing networked learning architecture the day before DevLearn. Here’s a podcast prequel.

DevLearn 09: Jay & Maish Nichani
After a decade of conversing online, Maish Nichani and I met face to face.

Lenora Routon Cross 1920-2009

Mom, my brother, and me (in plaid) in the early fifties.

Largest magnolia tree in the South, on our family’s homestead in Washington, Arkansas
Sitting in Bill’s cabinet room chair at the Clinton Library in Little Rock
Endless rows of FEMA trailers parked in Hope forevermore

Clark Quinn and I presented our somewhat disturbing research findings at the CLO Symposium.

George Siemens, Tony Karrer, and I co-hosted the third annual LearnTrends conference.
LearnTrends 2009 Faculty
LearnTrends faculty


Released several editions of Work Smarter at $19.95. Changed tag line to better reflect the content: Informal Learning in the Cloud.

North to Alaska

Until you’ve been to Alaska, it’s tough to imagine how large it is. In July, Uta and I joined our son Austin for vacation in Denali and Wrangell National Parks.

Alaska Transportation Museum Chugah National Forest, GIrdwood

Alaska Fireweed

Gave a talk on Meta-Learning: Process of Learning in the Network Era and the VI International Seminar on Open Social Learning in Barcelona.

Stephen Downes
Stephen and George in Barcelona

Tossa del Mar
Amazing meal at Tossa del Mar on the Costa Brava

DevLearn marked a significant shift in the field of corporate learning. Content and planning have become secondary to getting the job done. In today’s world, that means trusting workers to learn for themselves. The natives are taking control. Learning is mobile. Curriculum is toast.

In league with Charles Jennings and other members of Internet Time Alliance, put together a corporate learning track and hosted numerous sessions at Online Educa Berlin. Invited to join Educa’s planning committee.

Charles Jennings, introducing Internet Time Alliance.

Heike Philp, putting Online Educa online with simulcasting

Chaired a well-attended session at Educa on neuroscience and learning. I feel we’ve left some of the obvious findings of brain science out of our designs for learning environments. The scientists at the session warned us not to draw too many conclusions from the wiggles on fMRI charts.


Here’s my shot at Pecha Kucha at Educa:

I was determined to improve my ability to excite an audience this year. A few months earlier I’d performed an Ignite session on the stage of Gnomedex. I’m practicing now and plan to have people on the edge of their seats a few months hence.

See also the Pecha Kuchas of Daniel Stern, Robin Good, and Heike. More to come.

The inaugural issue of Impact, the Journal of Applied Research in Workplace E-learning just appeared on the web. You can read this first issue on the web for free. I am on Impact’s Editorial Board. I have also been chosen to be a member of Chief Learning Officer’s 2010 Business Intelligence Board.

I’m attending Robin Good’s Professional Online Publishing course. (Online, of course.) Great stuff. Quite provocative.

Talent Management overtook Learning & Development in corporations this year. I led sessions on the future circa 2015 at the Future of Talent Institute Retreat. (I’m on the faculty; hard to believe this was my fifth retreat.) It was my second time at Asilomar in six weeks.

Music for the holiday season

Pandora is great for piping in Christmas music.


Listen to Holiday Music on Pandora

Want to listen to Holiday Music on Pandora? Just start by entering the name
of a holiday song you like. To create a station based on an artist who performs holiday music, enter their name, followed by the word ‘holiday’ (for example, ‘Bob Dylan Holiday’).

Create a Station


Want to try a pre-mixed holiday station? Here are a few stations created by our team. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

LearnTrends Live: Jane Hart

Jane Hart

Installs social learning system based on ELGG.
Customization. Open source. Supporting infrastructure.

Created a site where learning professionals could experiment with using ELGG

At first, people came to network. Now the system hosts courseware. It’s become SoLearn (short to Social Learning) because that’s what it’s about.

Jane walks us through SoLEARN.

Jane has installed a dozen SoLEARN environments this year including University of London. Check out her site to see what this stuff looks like. Communications network for faculty as well as learning tool.

Users find ELGG quite intuitive.

Also installed system for social learning for World Wildlife Foundation in Geneva. LEARN PERFORM. Worldwide reach. Frequent blogging, bookmarking, intra-organizational communication among 350+ employees.

By the way, all sessions at LearnTrends are being recorded, so if you’re interested in learning more, drop by our community site.

Jane et moi

Lessons learned

  • Platform choice
  • Terminology — social now a bad word?
  • Pilot — be sure to have enough people
  • Growth — let the site grow organically
  • Promotional — go viral
  • Usability — depends on previous experience
  • Success — value, not stats

Visit Jane’s site!

Wildcat Canyon Fire Road

This afternoon I walked the Wildcat Canyon fire road from start to finish. It’s a beautiful stroll on manicured pathways.

In 1774, Juan Bautista de Anza scored a commission from the King of Spain to explore Alta California. Don Juan set off with 3 padres, 20 soldiers, 11 servants, 35 mules, 65 cattle, and 140 horses, and made his way through the canyon in the valley just below my walk.

Too bad the de Anza party didn’t ascend the hill to where I ended my walk. From there, the San Francisco Bay unfolds, with marvelous vistas of Marin, the Golden Gate, and the San Francisco Peninsula. So near and yet so far.

The de Anza expedition missed San Francisco Bay entirely, leaving it to other to discover two years later.

LearnTrends 2009


LearnTrends 2009 is going to be awesome.

Yesterday I drew up the tentative agenda. Our theme is convergence in corporate learning. We aim to explore how to corral the loose pieces of learning technology, both on the web and off, in order to come up with a unified, targeted strategy for moving forward.

These people…
LearnTrends 2009 Faculty

…will be addressing these topics:

    Convergence in Learning
    Extending Learning to the Edges of Organizations
    Building a Social Learning Environment
    Merging Information, Media, and Social Learning
    Personal Knowledge Management
    The LearnTrends Innovation Awards
    The Immernet Singularity: How the Immersive Internet Will Redefine Learning and Collaboration
    Reinventing organizational learning
    Breaking down walls
    Microlearning: Beyond Learning Objects and Just-in-time Performance Support
    The Challenge of Convergence – Approaches for Getting Learning and Support Where Its Needed
    Enterprise 2.0, Convergence, and Innovation
    Convergence and Web Squared
    Common tools for diverse communities at Xerox Global Services
    E-learning outside the training box

Registration is free. Sign up to receive a few email updates. Check the Agenda on the LearnTrends 2009 tab. Put this on your calendar today.