||January 31, 2004
Happy New Year!
You signed up to receive sporadic
email from Internet Time Group. This is
person-to-person, how-Jay-really-feels sort of
stuff. Forgive the typos and over-the-top
My predictions for 2004: Conflict in the Middle
East, Taxes Rise, Time Flies, Entropy Increases,
Shit Happens, Study finds "There's No Free
Lunch," and consumers ask "What's in it for me?"
If you want to tackle something tougher, try
looking at 2014. You need to divorce yourself
from the present to get there. That's the role
of scenario planning, a discipline for looking
way out there.
The Edinburgh Scenarios focus
on eLearning circa 2014. You're invited to take
part. I'll be co-hosting a free webinar on the
Edinburgh Scenarios the morning of January 20.
eLearning Forum will take them as their January
focus. I hope you'll share my enthusiasm for
brainstorming the possibilities and shaping our
vision of the future. Monitor
internettime.com for announcements and
invitations. Since Scottish Enterprise is
sponsoring the scenario project, some
participants will win wool and whisky.
Metrics -- Does It Matter?
My eBook on measuring the value of eLearning has
met with mixed reviews. A KM guru I truly
respect wrote me, "I love this book! You have
both the sizzle and the steak. Great style,
great look, great content." Another industry
leader emailed me, "Can't imagine anything I'd
add or change ... for anyone looking for a real
understanding of ROI, as well as various ways to
calculate their return, this is the best A-Z
guide I have read. And you hit the nail on the
head ... it's ultimately about performance and
the cost of improving performance." The only
other comment I received was a consultant
writing a book on performance evaluation who
said, "I found it to be mostly a essay on
various miscellaneous metrics topics, but it was
not very useful. There was a lot on what
shouldn't be done and the weaknesses of existing
metrics, but not much on WHAT SHOULD BE DONE."
You can order Metrics for $25 and see for yourself.
How to Order...
Push and Pull
I enjoy reading the New York Times and the
content it pushes at me. On the
other hand, I prefer picking and choosing
websites to catch up with rather than
overloading my inbox with their email alerts. I
go to sites that exert the strongest
pull on me at the time. I asked a
fellow at eLearning Producer how I could improve
my blogs; he told me to add more push. Okay.
(This is for you, my friend.)
I'll continue to send out sporadic emails, but
if you want to keep up with my doings, or lots
of blogs and news items, on your own schedule,
you really need to get into RSS.
Syndication. RSS ("Really Simple
Syndication") lets you to sift though an amazing
amount of information, only drilling down to
detail when you are interested. A free program
called BlogExpress shows me the headlines and a
teaser from several dozen blogs I enjoy keeping
up with. If I see something I like, I click for
more. Bloglines, a free hosted service, tracks
more obscure things for me. It alerts me to
items that mention Workflow+Learning or
Internet+TIme+Group. Take it from me, this is
Go to Edu_RSS
to get a feel for what I'm talking about.
The 20/80 Rule
Circuits Blog last month, Sam
Adkins posted an item entitled "We are the
Problem. We are Selling Snake Oil," that
declared that Training doesn't work, eLearning
doesn't work, Blended leanring doesn't work, KM
doesn't work." (Disclaimer:
Sam and I are co-founders of the
Workflow Institute.) Sam expected to
start a debate, but instead he began a
movement. His article was emailed far and wide.
A record number of people responded on the
Leanring Circuits blog. Few disagreed that
learning and KM were out of touch with the
requirements of business.
This lit up my cerebral panels. If Sturgeon's
Law ("90% of everything is crap") applies to
learning, isn't it time to take out the garbage?
If lectures, courses, shovelware, PowerPoints,
and assorted chrome aren't doing the job, let's
flush 'em down the toilet. We can simplify our
lives and improve out reputations by eradicating
exercises that are irrelevant, unclear, poorly
packaged, dogmatic, boring, unsupported, or not
We would become champions of purposeful
learning that works. I imagine we'd be promoting
discovery learning: watching others, solving
problems, creating one's own vision, picking
things up from others, and taking time to
reflect. Conversation, dialog, and debate are
great teachers. We'd make learning part and
parcel of figuring things out, from Googling an
answer to being prompted by a smart system.
Teaching others works because it requires
reflection and making our own connections.
Storytelling works because our internal
storytellers create our own private versions
that relate to what we already know and believe.
If not now, when? If not us, who?
Sam Adkins and I have opened the Workflow
Institute to promote the understanding of
real-time enterprise-level learning in industry
and government. We're giving presentations,
writing white papers, helping vendors educate
their customers, and providing a news feed on
the convergence of learning and enterprise
We're experiencing some pushback from people
who think Sam and I are calling for turning ALL
training into some Orwellian nightmare. For
example, Stephen Downes wrote,
it's all about productivity, I want to pack up
my computer and take up a new line of work.
These predictions by Sam S. Adkins of the
Workflow Institute seem well grounded, but they
miss the wonderment that defines real change.
'Enterprise Application Integration
accelerates.' Yawn. 'Productivity gains from new
mobile technology explode.' Sigh. Where's the
motivation, the urgency? He could have written
all his predictions in one line: online learning
will continue to be commodified and co-opted. Is
all this what people really want out of our
great new internet?"
No, we're not saying Workflow Learning is all
people want out of the Internet. We are
predicting a new era in corporate training
fostered by enterprise application integration,
web services, contextual collaboration, and
learning at the point of need. The motivation
and urgency come from replacing lackluster,
ineffective training programs with something
more effective and less expensive. Our vision is
new, so we're groping along with too many
four-syllable words and three-letter acronyms.
Yawn. Co-opted? C'mon. Sam and I are trying to
share some good news, not commodify our life's
Rendezvous in Q1?
You'll find me at:
Learning, online, January 13-15
- Webinar with GBN on Scenario Planning,
Forum, Scenario Planning, January 27
TechKnowledge, Anaheim, Feburary 10-12
Ediburgh, February 18-19
- eLearning Forum, Open Source, February 25
- eLearning Forum, Advanced Learning
Technology, March 19
If you value your privacy, please follow my
example by running AdAware and Spybot to kill
off the spyware villains installed on your
computer when you weren't looking. (Download
these from tucows.com or download.com.) And
don't tap anything into a computer at a
cybercafe or at a conference's free email
stations: they're probably sending your every
keystroke to some dubious character.
Change your passwords. Frequently. And don't
be stupid. Somewhere this year I read about a
scheme that could crack into the systems of most
major corporations. Bait senior executives with
a free, high-quality porn site. Most of those
who sign up will use their single, all-purpose
passwords. Use those passwords to access their
corporate accounts. Could this happen to you?
All the best!
Internet Time Group
email: [email protected]