Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Reflections on LSG11 - Andy Tedd's session

Andy Tedd's session was of particular interest to me, since I started this blog to help me track what I've been learning from social media over the last couple of months...

We all know how to use social media, don't we?


Apparently not, as many campanies are getting far too friendly with the #FAIL hashtag on Twitter.  So what is stopping us from putting these tools to best use? Usually it seems to be coming down to an unsupportive environment for communications - we're worried that we might look foolish, and sometimes we are right in this because there are consequences for getting it wrong, but too much fear will cripple us.  Companies can be criticised on social networking sites for getting things wrong, even they don't have a real presence there, so what's the difference?  And how can we break the cycle?

For a start, we have to leave behind our expectation that all corporate information should appear in a polished, professional format.  It turns out that the less complete the information seems, the more people feel invited to comment and leave their mark, and that should start getting them engaged with the process instead of being passive consumers of information.  The next step is for people in positions of influence to let the debate run freely, as they can often inadvertently stifle the conversation.  If this is happening too much, then it's a sign that your culture has to change.

Oh, and one very important point that has just been brought home via @JaneBozarth on Twitter, Social Media is not the same as Social Learning!  Social learning is not something that has been 'discovered', nor is it something to be 'implemented', and anyone who thinks that way will only succeed in throttling motivation (thanks @hjarche for inspiration too!)

Reflections on LSG11 - Cathy Moore's session

The second session I'm looking back on is Cathy Moore's session on scenarios.  What have I learned?  Two equations:

'Let's add a scenario to make it more engaging' = FAIL!
'Let's base it on a scenario to make it more effective' = GETS IT!

Designing a learning experience that has the potential to change attitudes doesn't have to be hard, which Cathy has been tirelessly working to get into the heads of anybody with the wisdom to listen. For too long the field of e-learning has been dominated by foolish attempts to make a 'death by PowerPoint' course seem a little more palatable, not to mention unavoidable with the advent of 'smart' LMSs that can make sure we've looked at every single slide.  Because that proves people have learned, right?

No more!

Powerful scenarios don't have to be expensive or difficult to produce, just get your hands on the tools and dare to experiment.  Ever since I attended Cathy's session at LT11, I've been looking for an opportunity to put this into practice, and I've now got the freedom to explore this in my latest project.  Using the Action Mapping approach with SMEs meant that relevant scenarios came to light naturally, and I was able to work them up into a prototype that I'm currently developing into a finished learning intervention.  My only niggle is I may have to wait a while to put it into practice - can anyone offer me a course in patience please?!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Reflections on LSG11 - Clive Shepherd's session

It's been a while since the Learning & Skills Group Conference, but it's never too late to reflect. The first session I'm going to look back at is Clive Shepherd's 'The Learning Professional'.

Clive has taken a bold step in drawing us closer to a practical model for how learning really works. Breaking down the range of learning interventions into different perspectives and contexts helps us to stop and question our pre-conceptions of what constitutes good learning, since our own experiences will doubtless have pre-disposed us to favour those which we have been exposed to in the past. And those experiences that we thought of as learning have almost invariably been labelled as courses.

We do so love to package everything up as courses, don't we? But does it always have to be that way? And is something you can't describe as a course, any less important for learning because of that deficiency in name? New developments in technology are catalysing changes in the way we communicate and work. As the pace of change begins to quicken, courses will quickly become obsolete if they don't focus on teaching people processes, and leave the information to one side. But that doesn't mean the information isn't important, we just have to change our approach to updating ourselves. If we can find the courage to break away from the familiar and try something new, we can devise new and more effective learning strategies.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Backchannel resources from #LSG11UK

OK, been poring over the Twitter channel and here's what I've found so far....

From the speakers:

Links shared through the backchannel:

My Twitter archive is saved as:

I've also added blog entries about the talks I attended:

Back to the blog...

After a week on the road it's time to get back to blogging and the normal routine. Taking part in the Twitter back-channel at the Learning & Skills Group Conference was a novel experience, and I actually felt more engaged with the talks because I was actively listening out for interesting quotes to share with others.  Next task is to look for resources that people put on Twitter, and try to pull them together in one place.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Getting smarter with social media

It's my sixth day on the Centre for Learning Performance Technologies course, and I've been adding a host of tools to my kit for keeping up to date with the world.  All my bookmarks in one place?  Check!  All my favourite blogs on one reading list?  Check!  Not to mention a whole set of ways for finding information and 'how-to' guides.  More power to search for information and connect with people has to be good.

Next week is the Learning & Skills Group Conference.  I'm looking forward to all the talks, and venturing into the Twitter back channel too, should hopefully bring a new level of engagement with the talks.