Paris et Expo-Langues

On Thursday, I’ll be addressing the social web and its impact on practical education at Expo-Langues in Paris. I plan to talk about the shift from push learning to pull that refocuses language learning from courses to learning environments. Du pousser au tirer.

Today started with a black swan event: snow on the French Riviera:

Provence

I used to bring California weather with me wherever I travelled. Now I seem to bring snow and ice. Brrrrr….

Provence

Just got back to my apartment in Paris Continue reading

Time is speeding up

The metronome that measures the pace of human progress ticks ever faster. More happens in one of your seconds at work than in one of your grandfather’s hours. You can feel it, can’t you?

People and organizations around the globe are linking into a single vast network. Every new connection creates more value than it gives up. Membership is snowballing. Interconnections form like topsy. Time accelerates because the denser the interconnections of a network, the faster its cycle time.

As events Continue reading

Learning a language (1)

I’m investigating how people learn to speak a new language.

More than a million people have signed up with Chinese Pod to learn to speak Chinese.

Co-host Jenny Zhu filled me in on how this Shanghai-based company is helping adult learners, 60% of them from the U.S., attain fluency. Podcasts, more than a thousand of them, are part of the answer, but it takes more than exposure to 12-minute podcasts to master a language.

Most of Chinese Pod’s learners are 25-50 year old adults who Continue reading

Learning with people, not technology

This morning I revisited the delightful story of how people learn to do their jobs at New Seasons Market, a chain of nine natural food stores in Portland, Oregon.

New Seasons exemplifies taking a non-training alternative to workplace learning.

That New Seasons is a people-oriented business echoes in their approach to learning.

  • New hires receive a brief orientation and are then let loose to learn by walking around and asking questions.
  • The HR director explains “New employees Continue reading

Zany times in the for-profit college business

Today’s New York Times tells the story of the MBA program at Frederick Taylor University, an unaccredited business school headquartered in Moraga, California. For a mere $5,000 you can earn an MBA from the “university.” The school is entirely online, has no classes, and measures student performance with open-book, multiple-choice exams.

The Times astutely notes that the program at Frederick Taylor is not as rigorous as those offered by its accredited peers although naive applicants don’t Continue reading

The Stoos Gathering & Working Smarter

Ten days ago I flew to Switzerland for a mountaintop retreat with twenty thought leaders from around the world to ponder better ways to manage organizations.

On the flight over, I watched the film Inside Job, a documentary about the shenanigans that led to the financial meltdown fueled by the subprime mortgage bubble. The movie’s incendiary. There are lots of bad apples out there: self-serving financial engineers, ratings agencies, regulators, bankers, and more. Guilty, guilty, guilty.

As Continue reading

No more business as usual

“This is business.” — Vito Corleone, The Godfather


Business is changing, and the learning function must change along with it.

Rigid, industrial-age corporations are not keeping up with the pace of change. Customer Spring, Shareholder Spring, and Worker Spring may break out any day. Everyone’s mad as hell. They won’t take it any more.

How bad is it? The lifespan of corporations is at an all-time low. The majority of workers are frustrated, unhappy, and disengaged. Shareholders Continue reading

Nikon J1

Santa brought me a Nikon J1 camera a few days after Christmas. It’s a small shooter with interchangeable lenses. I’m having a ball trying it out.

Santa gave me the Nikon 1 J1 10.1 MP HD Digital Camera System with 10-30mm VR 1 NIKKOR Lens (Black). If I can get used to carrying around a camera that’s slightly larger than my pants pocket, I may get the 30-100 zoom lens as well.

Here’s a sample photo:

Here’s the same photo with a little retouching with a $30 app called Perfect Portrait.

Now Continue reading