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.
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.
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.)
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.
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:
(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
New in 2010 …7
Preface .. 10
Internet Time Alliance…12
Working Smarter … 14
Network Effects …14
What can we do to improve this informal learning?…23
Techniques and Patterns…24
Rethinking Learning in Organizations…30
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
Speak the Language of Business …156
ROI is in the mind of the beholder …162
Techniques and Patterns …174
Rethinking learning in organizations …201
Learning is not enough…224
About the author..228
Where I’m coming from …229
Maps of Book Content …235
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 and George in Barcelona
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
…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.