Knowledge maps, knowledge architecture, taxonomies, and more from KAPS Group
On the rebound? Peter Martin, writes in CLO:
The Market Is Coming Back to Knowledge Management In hindsight, knowledge management was a recklessly defined initiative. [See below.] Companies were going to be able to ?empower the intellectual capital of their enterprise? with ad hoc software purchases. Over time the initiative lost its cachet, very much like the ?portal??a key element of knowledge management. As the meaning and value of the portal has risen from the ashes, so has knowledge management. The comeback for knowledge management can be traced to the economy, consolidation of vendors, technological advancement and enterprise software vendor buy-in.
To Verna Allee, it's all a matter of making connections. I think she's got it.
KM=BS? An abstract of T.D. Wilson's The Nonsense of Knowledge Management
Life On The Internet: Could Blogging Assist KM? from Amy Wohl
Knowledge Blogs Are Tough
Denham Gray's amazing KM Wiki
Knowledge management is a high-fallutin' buzz phrase for creating and sharing know-how. A hot item circa 1998, overuse has watered down KM's popularity as a category. To vendors, KM became "whatever I want to sell you," be it document-tracking or warehousing good ideas or building web pages or reinforcing innovation or focusing on intellectual capital.
Knowledge is like the sound of the tree that falls in the forest when no one is there: it doesn't exist unless people interact with it. Nurturing innovation and rewarding the sharing of ideas fertilizes seedling ideas. Setting up processes to highlight what's worthy and weed out useless undergrowth help grow heathly trees.
While it may carry a different name in the future, knowledge management anchors one end of the eLearning continuum and is vital to improving organizational performance.
"Knowledge is information that changes something or somebody -- either by becoming grounds for actions, or by making an individual (or an institution) capable of different or more effective action." -- Peter F. Drucker in The New Realities (The same might be said of learning.)
Knowledge Management is a case of the blind men and the elephant. KM refers to one or more of these activities:
At a minimum, do these things:
Tom Barron, drawing on the ideas of GartnerGroup's Clark Aldrich and others, presents an astute view of the impending merger of e-Learning and Knowledge Management in A Smarter Frankenstein, lead article in the August 2000 issue of Learning Circuits.
Take an eLearning course. Chunk it into discrete learning bites. Surround it with technology that assesses a learner's needs and delivers the appropriate learning nuggets. Add collaborative tools that allow learners to share information. What do you get? Something that looks a whole lot like knowledge management.
The training function is accustomed to limiting its scope -- offering a curriculum that provides grounds for assessment. KM is open-ended, encouraging participants to share whatever works without an intermediary to translate things into lessons. Oil and water? The accelerating pace of business is already obsoleting the authoring function -- there's not enough time for lengthy development cycles; intitutive authoring systems are replacing middleman authors by taking content directly from the expert's mouth.
An obstacle I've personally never overcome to my satisfaction is countering the hoarding of knowledge by those who believe knowledge is power, or are perhaps too self-motivated to contribute to the good of their organizations.
What to Blogs have to do with it?
Weblogs (AKA Blogs) are important. If you're not familiar with Blogs, read Rebecca Blood's excellent Weblogs: A History and Perspective.
1. Blogs are a free authoring tool that enables anyone with a net connection to publish content on the web. The doors are open.
2. You cannot keep up with the raw flow of information being posted to the web without a lot of help. The Blogs of people you trust point the way to the good stuff. For example, I read Camworld because it has proven worthy of my time; I've grown to trust Cameron Barrett -- I know where he's coming from.
3. In time, organizations will encourage in-house Blogging.
Tacit & Explicit Knowledge
In an economy where the only certainty is uncertainty, the one sure source of lasting competitive advantage is knowledge. When markets shift, technologies proliferate, competitors multiply, and products become obsolete almost overnight, successful companies are those that consistently create new knowledge, disseminate it widely throughout the organization, and quickly embody it in new technologies and products. These activities define the knowledge-creating company, whose sole business is continuous innovation. (source: Ikujiro Nonaka, The Knowledge-Creating Company, Harvard Business Review, November-December 1991)
The Economics of Knowledge, Eric E. Vogt. "Knowledge is a perspective shared by a community which allows for some effective action. ...the economics of knowledge dictate that we think in terms of creating collection systems that allow for the instantaneous sharing of these new perspectives. Collection systems allow us to listen to the needs and concerns of customers. Collection systems allow us to tap into the global flow of creative ideas and fuel the imagination of our knowledge community."
Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization (JOHO). David Weinberger has the most level-headed approach to knowledge management you'll find anywhere. He's also a laugh riot. JOHO is one of my favorite reads on the Web.
Weinberger? He's a commentator on NPR, and co-author of The
Knowledge Management News, Brad Hoyt. Sporadic ever since Brad joined a start-up but worth the wait. Pointers, reflections, jobs, events.
University of Denver: Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management
Karl Erik Sveiby's impressive "library" of on-line resources
ASTD on KM -- an overview of what's going on in the field
E&Y Center for Business Innovation -- a great resource
Scient sells KM as something that strengthens them and their customers
The Knowledge Management Paradox: How to Manage Your Most Strategic Asset, CPT
Leverage the Value-Hierarchy of Knowledge
Different skills produce different levels of impact.
Often, the value added is the information subtracted.
A hired hand is not a hired mind. Routine, low-skill work, even if it?s done manually, does not generate or emply human capital for the organization. Unleashing the human capital already resident in the organization requires minimizing mindless tasks, meaningless paperwork, unproductive infights. The Taylorized workplace squandered human assets in such activities.
?Informate? = change the work to add more value to customers.
Outsourcing frees resources to continue developing high-return expertise.
Capitalize means providing opportunities for learning. People need to feel they?re ?in the game,? and not ?being kicked around by it.?
How to Capitalize on High-Value Knowledge
Structural capital company property builds on corporate yellow pages, knowledge maps, speedy transfer. Do enough and no more; many overinvest. HP and others find that demand-driven approach is more effective than pushing information into people?s emailboxes. Avoid overinvesting by making it okay not to know everything ? leverage the expertise of specialists. When a manager brings in a problem, the experts teach her how to apply the lessons of a module to solve it.
Customer capital, the relationships of the company with its customers, is measured by market share, customer retention and defection, and profit per customer. This is the most valuable capital of all it's where the money is but ironically, it's also the least well managed. Tom Stewart has a wonderful line, The customer today can call the tune because he knows the score. The goal is to maintain an increasingly intimate relationship. Empowered customers deal directly with companies' databases.
Ten Principles for Managing Intellectual Capital
Source: Thomas Stewart, Intellectual Capital
Why this community? Organizations implement eLearning to improve the performance of their people. The successful ones gain organizational backing through change management and ground-level support through internal marketing.
We set up this site to build upon the concepts in our book, describe new findings and insights, and give our readers the opportunity to share best practices. Welcome!
Twenty pages of forms, checklists, and text.
Fill in the form to complete your comprehensive plan.
Lance & Jay's PowerPoint slides from the ASTD Conference in San Diego, May 2003
Watch the video of Jay and Lance's keynote presentation at TechLearn 2002
Find out what didn't get into the book. Typos, far-out ideas, and topsy-turvy presentation. This is unedited. From the heart. Unexpurgated.
Tips & Best Practices Examples
|Communications plan for NCR University from George Brennan|
|eLearning Brochure for Pharmacia from Donald Oguin. Also Cafeteria table tents & Poster ( pdf )|
Decades of Marketing in 5 Minutes from Internet Time Group
Customer Experience Meets Online Marketing at Brand Central Station from Boxes & Arrows
Survey Says? Identify Your Objectives from HBS Working Knowledge
"Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood." Daniel H. Burnham
Change Management 101 by Fred Nichols
|Please contribute to our community. If you're really proud of your team's accomplishments, send your stories and artifacts to us: [email protected] or [email protected]|
Critical Success Factors: eLearning Solutions , Cappuccino, Deloitte
e-learning development vision - It's a process with up's and down's.
Instructor Competencies from Learning Peaks, Patti Shank. A good
online instructor wears many hats.
What's an eTrainer? & New Role: eLearning Guide , Internet Time Group 2/2000
Smile, Everyone! It's Time for Your Computer Training, Fast Company, 5/2000. Empower the learners and let them have fun!
The Training Weenie Syndrome : Five Foolish Things Trainers Do To Demote Training © INSIGHT ED Patti Shank Trainer, don't shoot yourself in the foot.
The Lie of Online Learning, Training magazine,
March 2000. "Let?s move learning out of the workday and into the employees?
own "uncompensated" time. No one wants to tell you that the anytime of
online learning is supposed to be after work and that the anyplace is
Learning in the Real World . Skeptics' views on why we should be cautious about putting computers into children's schools. "In the real world we can teach, explore and learn the patterns of connection which link different people, plants, animals and places. If education software even attempts to deal with these crucial concepts, the limits of the media may make the presentation inflexible, superficial, and inadequate." Much of this reasoning applies to computer-mediated training of adults as well.
ERP Training Stinks , CIO (6/00). "The average ERP implementation takes 23 months, has a total cost of ownership of $15 million and rewards (so to speak) the business with an average negative net present value of $1.5 million. And the news gets worse."
"But the consensus that's emerging is that the training that matters isn't techy, "this field shows this; this button does that" training. In fact, what we normally call training is increasingly being shown to be relatively worthless. What's called for, it seems, is an ability to figure out the underlying flow of information through the business itself. The traditional view of training may blind the unwary to its significance and to the tightly woven links that exist between training, change management and staff adequacy."
"The first problem is that word: training . It conjures up images of dogs jumping through hoops. This is not helpful."
Bringing EQ to the Workplace (research paper)
What Daniel Goleman calls emotional intelligence is the source of ROI, human happiness, responsible behavior -- well, what more could you want? It's taken a backseat to such mundane issues as IT training because its payoff is not immediate, engineers don't get it, and it's a tough nut to crack. This is a major opportunity.
Adoption and barriers to eLearning & Approaches to Implementation , both from David Simmonds at Forum Corporate
Change Management and eLearning by Tom Werner
Sales Knowledge Management by Carl Binder
A study of distance learning benchmarks at six colleges prepared by The Institute for Higher Education Policy for the NEA and Blackboard. April 2000.
While the methodology is a bit dodgy (literature review followed by ratings from administrators, faculty, and students), the study is provocative.
The benchmarks considered essential for quality Internet-based distance education are:
acting as a role model
gaining and keeping balance
giving expert advice
dealing with adversity
making tough decisions
social skill development
inner peace and reflection
finanical or economic well being
The shift from surface to deep learning is not automatic. Brundage, Keane, and Mackneson (1993) suggest that adult students and their instructors must face and overcome a number of challenges before learning takes place including: becoming and staying responsible for themselves; "owning" their strengths, desires, skills, and needs; maintaining and increasing self-esteem; relating to others; clarifying what is learned; redefining what legitimate knowledge is; and dealing with content. These challenges are considered in relation to distance education:
Learning for purposes of IT Certification must combine the motivational and social reinforcement academia is working on with the PI/simulation approach of traditional IT training.
This is about kids but applies to adult learning equally well.The model that education has used for centuries considers the student a vessel to be filled at regular intervals with knowledge. The alternative I hope you´ll strive for is seeing the student as co-discoverer of knowledge and the teacher responsible for seeing that the discovery takes place. This model may mean we don't need to be confined to a classroom if discovery can take place in different spaces, even cyberspace. The impact of today's information revolution on schools goes vastly beyond replacing the old blackboard with a shiny whiteboard. Technology is revolutionizing the very nature and dynamics of the conventional classroom experience; this new learning environment, by design, emphasizes students, autonomy and independence.Classroom learning will become student-driven, interactive, experiential and collaborative - all goals long-cherished by many educators but never before attainable. Students will no longer passively receive information but will manage and synthesize it and even contribute it.They become not only takers, but givers – creators -- of information. This level of interaction will herald new types of student communities of practice.The world need more problem-solvers. It needs more explorers.
It needs more rough edges.
Enable learning, don´t teach. a good teacher doesn´t teach at all. They enable students to teach themselves. And it´s not just symantics. Enabling learning is entirely different from teaching.
While a significant part of learning certainly comes from teaching, much comes from exploration, from reinventing the wheel and finding out for oneself. Until the computer, the technology for teaching was limited to audiovisual devices and distance learning by television, which did little more than amplify the activity of teachers and the passivity of children.
The computer changed this balance radically. Suddenly, learning by doing has the potential to become the rule rather than the exception. Since computer simulation of just about anything is now possible, one need not learn about a frog by dissecting it. Instead, children can be asked to design frogs, to build an animal with frog-like behavior, to modify that behavior, to simulate the muscles, to play with the frog.
The opportunity is an unrealized potential.
The Emerging Standards Effort in eLearning by Ed Cohen, eLearning Magazine, January 2002:
Torrents of tags
Much of what SCORM has assembled is preoccupied with the tracking, tagging, and storing of content objects. The standards dwell at length upon "metadata," specifying the identifying tags that all learning objects in a course should carry-be they graphics, text, animations, or simulations (see "A Primer on Metdata for Learning Objects," e-learning, October, p.26). For those who envision a future in which users wander through vast content repositories filled with such objects-plucked from various courses, each of them immaculately categorized and easy to use-SCORM is a dream.
This focus on metadata labeling is understandable, given that we all believe reusing course content will be crucial in the near future. Oddly though, this standard may be both too demanding and not demanding enough. If SCORM is ultimately dominated by a giant catalog of tagging requirements, it would pose a daunting hurdle for companies with large amounts of legacy content for dubious gains. And it would ignore important principles of instructional design-which, if they were established as a uniform standard, would help trainers and teachers get the most out of their courseware.
Online Learning, November 2000:
"Web-based training standards entered a new era in June when the major developers agreed to make learning management systems (LMSs) and content from different vendors work together. The agreement between the Aviation Industry CBT Committee (AICC), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Instructional Management Systems (IMS) Global Learning Consortium is not an official partnership ? yet. And because it is informal in nature the responsibilities of the respective parties haven?t been clearly defined. But it was determined that the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative of the Department of Defense, which was the catalyst for the new spirit of cooperation, would act as a coordinating body."
Standards: The Vision and the Hype, Learning Circuits, by Tom Barron The drive to create industry-wide technology standards for e-learning is gaining momentum and adherents. But some see perils--and posturing--amid the promise.
Achieving Interoperability in e-Learning, Learning Circuits, by Harvi Singh.
In today's Internet economy, achieving integration and interoperability in digital systems is increasingly important. Such integration is possible with open protocols, which allow an organization or system to exchange information with suppliers, partners, and customers in a format that accommodates each organization's system. The same approach is being applied in the e-learning arena, where a new breed of software application frameworks and approaches seek to enable true interoperability of separate systems. This article examines trends and enabling frameworks for making true interoperability a reality.
An Intro to Metadata Tagging, Learning Circuits, by Harvi Singh. Get ready for the Dewey Decimal Classification system of e-learning
The Instructional Use of Learning Objects, a book on the topic
Advanced Learning Infrastructure Consortium (JAPAN) -- Objective is to establish an active society by reasonably and effectively providing a learning environment which enables anyone to learn anytime, anywhere, according to the goals, pace, interests and understanding of individuals and groups. Also, to foster experts who will be the origin of global competitiveness. Targets: Advanced learning infrastructure that are from Primary and secondary institution to high school, company training, and tertiary school; Technology and Service; Learning system and contents that use information technology, such as network. Examples: e-learning, Web-based training, technology-based training, computer-based training, long distance learning.
World Wide Web Consortium -- Develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential, specifically XML.
Learning Technology Standards Committee (LTSC) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) -- Formed in 1996. The mission is to develop technical standards, recommended practices, and guides for software components, tools, technologies and design methods that facilitate the development, deployment, maintenance, and interoperation of computer implementations of education and training components and systems.
Alliance of Remote Instructional Authoring and Distribution Networks for Europe (ARIADNE) -- Develops the results of the ARIADNE and ARIADNE II European Projects, which created tools and methodologies for producing, managing and reusing computer-based pedagogical elements and telematics supported training curricula.
IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc. (IMS) -- Developing and promoting open specifications for facilitating online distributed learning activities, such as locating and using educational content, tracking learner progress, reporting learner performance, and exchanging student records between administrative systems. IMS -- Meta Tags and Knowledge Bits
Advanced Distributed Learning Network -- Purpose is to ensure access to high-quality education and training materials that can be tailored to individual learner needs and made available whenever and wherever they are required. This initiative is designed to accelerate large-scale development of dynamic and cost-effective learning software and to stimulate an efficient market for these products in order to meet the education and training needs of the military and the nation's workforce of the future. It will do this through the development of a common technical framework for computer and net-based learning that will foster the creation of reusable learning content as "instructional objects." Check out Plugfest 5.
The Aviation Industry CBT (Computer-Based Training) Committee (AICC) -- An international association of technology-based training professionals. The AICC develops guidelines for the aviation industry in the development, delivery, and evaluation of CBT and related training technologies.
The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative -- An open forum engaged in the development of interoperable online metadata standards that support a broad range of purposes and business models. DCMI's activities include consensus-driven working groups, global workshops, conferences, standards liaison, and educational efforts to promote widespread acceptance of metadata standards and practices. (If you're invited, don't get out your passport. That's Dublin, Ohio.)
BUILDING BLOCKS. HOW THE STANDARDS MOVEMENT PLANS TO REVOLUTIONIZE ELECTRONIC LEARNING, a good overview from University Business
Judy Brown's home page
SCORM is mil-spec. It will probably work in military apps where standards can be rigidly enforced, and where performance outweighs price much more than in the commercial sector. SCORM comes from the same place as $1000 hammers and $10,000 toilet seats.
Corporations may find it easier to standardize learning as part of the Semantic Web. It's XML, interoperable, flexible, and will soon be the underpinning of business transactions. What better way to integrate learning and work? The Semantic Web would enable us to build performance support directly into the job (rather than as an add-on.)
Learning is the pathway to doing. If an instructor teaches something and nothing changes, no learning took place.
Learning is learnable. You can get better at it. We set up the Meta-Learning Lab to help people learn better, faster, deeper.
"Knowledge is constructed, not transferred. It's built out of known chunks. It's always linked to the situation, thus 'situated.' Skills and knowledge do not exist outside of context. Everything is connected, in mental, physical, or social space." Peter Senge, Schools That Learn
How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School, John D. Bransford, Ann L. Brown, and Rodney R. Cocking, editors. "This volume synthesizes the scientific basis of learning. The scientific achievements include a fuller understanding of: (1) memory and the structure of knowledge; (2) problem solving and reasoning; (3) the early foundations of learning; (4) regulatory processes that govern learning, including metacognition; and (5) how symbolic thinking emerges from the culture and community of the learner."
eLearning was born during the dot-com frenzy. Like many start-up ideas, the first descriptions of eLearning were oversimplified, extreme, and wildly optimistic. Otherwise rational people defined eLearning as putting all learning on computers, as if it had to be all or nothing.
Imagine the savings in plane fare, instructor salaries, and keeping people on the job instead of at the class! Employees could learn anywhere they could plug into the net, whenever you wanted. Learners would save time by studying only what they needed. They would learn at an optimal pace, neither held back nor bypassed by the rest of the class. Cool.
The only problem was that this sort of eLearning rarely worked. Learning is social. Even in the classroom, lots of learning takes informally, between students. Workers learn more at the water cooler or coffee room than during classes.
Learning requires much more than exposure to content. Most people drop out of 100% computer-led instructional events. These same people learn well when computer-mediated lessons are combined with virtual classes, study groups, team exercises, mentors & help desks, off-line events, and on-line coaches.
As the hype cools down, we find that learning hasn't changed; it still requires a variety of activities. Computers can make aspects of learning more convenient but they don't eliminate the need for human intervention. The presumption that eLearning would automate every aspect of learning today seems irresponsible. That dog won't hunt.
Teach = Fill their empty heads. Assess = See what's inside.
From the Institute for Research on Learning
Today we realize that learning isn't pouring content into heads. Rather, the real deal is an interaction between what's incoming and what's already there. Learning is rewiring the brain by sculpting new pigeonholes and adding connections.
Theories of Learning, from Funderstanding, explains constructivism, behaviorism, and so forth simply.
Greg Kearsley's Explorations in Learning & Instruction: The Theory Into Practice Database is an awesome resource.
Marc Prensky's Digital Game-Based Learning has a great list of theories of how people learn:
Learner-Centered Psychological Principles: A Framework for School Redesign and Reform, American Psychological Association, Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) 11/97.
Cognitive learning is demonstrated by knowledge recall and the intellectual skills: comprehending information, organizing ideas, analyzing and synthesizing data, applying knowledge, choosing among alternatives in problem-solving, and evaluating ideas or actions.
Affective learning is demonstrated by behaviors indicating attitudes of awareness, interest, attention, concern, and responsibility, ability to listen and respond in interactions with others, and ability to demonstrate those attitudinal characteristics or values which are appropriate to the test situation and the field of study.
Psychomotor learning is demonstrated by physical skills; coordination, dexterity, manipulation, grace, strength, speed; actions which demonstrate the fine motor skills such as use of precision instruments or tools, or actions which evidence gross motor skills such as the use of the body in dance or athletic performance.
I think of these as training the head, the heart, and the hand.
Implementing The Seven Principles of Good Practice
Internet Time Group has found that people learn best when they...
Methods of engagement include:
1. Presenting information as tentative, which asks the learner to engage in assessing its veracity.
2. Offering opportunities to compare one's views to those of others. "18% of Americans feel public money should not be 'wasted' on art."
3. Feeding back information from a group of peers. "In a poll, 32% of you professed to never have seen porn on the web."
4. Providing challenges that call on one's exformation. "Exegesis means (a) pulling a tooth, (b) tracking feedback, (c) assembling unrepresentative cases to support one's argument -- what Nietsche often did, or (d) disinterring a body from the grave." Go ahead, take a guess. The answer is here.
5. Making connections to other contexts, e.g. You want to learn to fly. Let's compare flying to driving a car. Your mind begins mapping the differences and similarites.
• Instructor-led classroom
• On-the-job (OTJ) training
• Live e-learning classes
• Web learning modules
• Online resource links
• Video and audio CD/DVDs
• Online self-assessments
• Collegial connections
• Work teams
• Role modeling
• Online bulletin boards
• Online communities
• Help systems
• Print job aids
• Knowledge databases
• Performance/decision support tools
from Allison Rossett
Internet Time's Method Matrix
Distance learning is no less effective than traditional means, the "No Significant Difference Phenomenon".
Changing the Interface of Education with Revolutionary Learning Technologies by Nishikant Sonwalkar
Learning Styles for Online Asynchronous Instruction
A building block approach for presenting concepts in a step-by-step procedural learning style.
Based on events that trigger the learning experience. Learners
begin with an event that introduces a concept and provokes questions.
Learners are first introduced to a concept or a target principle using specific
examples that pertain to a broader topic area.
Based on stimulating the discernment of trends through the presentation of simulations, graphs, charts, or other data.
An inquiry method of learning in which students learn by doing, testing the boundaries of their own knowledge.
Making Training In The Enterprise Pay Off, Datamation
A narrow view of how the American public school system got so screwed up. (The Germans did it.)
Schools may be the starkest example in modern society
of an entire institution modeled after the assembly line. This has dramatically
increased educational capability in our time, but it has also created
many of the most intractable problems with which students, teachers,
and parents struggle to this day. If we want to change schools, it is
unlikely to happen until we understand more deeply the core assumptions
on which the industrial-age school is based.
? Peter Senge
The Neurobiology of Memory & Learning from Hughes
The answer is "C". Both Nietsche and I are guilty of using exegesis to make our cases. BACK
|"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." -Confucius|
|"If I hear and see and do and teach and practice, I understand even better." -Jay|
|Yeah, so? Doing is what counts.
Real learning is not what most of us grew up thinking it was. --Charles Handy
I never allowed schooling to interfere with my education. --Mark Twain
Marc Prensky matches content to learning activity to game styles.
"Distance education should be called 'not-so-distant education.'" Bill Clinton, Online Learning, October 1, 2001
"One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never
regains its original dimensions."
Let's Tie the Digital
Knot by Seymour Papert is a wonderfully feisty, common-sense look at
education with fresh eyes.
Leftovers & Oldies on this topic
These are the absolute best sources of the bunch:
, from Maish Nichani
LiNE Zine, LINE = Learning in the New Economy. Edited by chaord Marcia Conner. Provacative, high-quality, original.
Big Dog's Bowl of Biscuits -- for instructional design reference
TechLearn Trends from Elliott Masie. Once the pacesetter, this one's getting a little loose. TechLearn Trends is personal, another venue for Elliott to channel his outsize personality and prescient observations to his fans. Breezy.
KM, computing, the future
Rapidly Changing Face of Computing
great list of online journals
|Oil and water, Jews and Arabs, education and training...|
| eBusiness & strategy
Strategy and Business (Booz)
Mercer Management Journal
Cap Gemini E&Y Center for Business Innovation Outstanding!
Santa Fe Institute Update
Technology Review -- MIT. Come on, push the envelope.
|These are fantastic catalysts for thinking out of the box.|
Says Cross, "Successful leaders inspire members of their organizations to work smarter. Collaboration, learning portals, and skill snacks have replaced Industrial-Age training. The Web is revitalizing personalized learning and meaningful apprenticeship. Learning is merging with work."
Here's what lies ahead in our not-too-distant training future, according to Cross:
More info www.intemettime.com
Training & Development, November 1999
Fast, Go Fast, pdf (11/99)
Get Smart Online, UpsideToday Special Report (4/00)
eLearning: Rhetoric vs Reality, Gautam Ghosh
Into the Future, a Vision Paper by Wayne Hodgins and Jay Cross (2/2000) for ASTD and NGA. In HTML, not pdf.
The Future of Online Learning by Stephen Downes (7/98), a classic
Getting Started with Online Learning, Macromedia, "designed to help authors create learning applications that succeed."
Caution: I wrote this in March 2000, before the dot-com bubble burst, and it remains somewhat overenthusiastic. Here's a more current take on what's going on:
eLearning is learning on Internet Time, the convergence of learning and networks and the New Economy. eLearning is a vision of what corporate training can become. We've only just begun.
eLearning is to traditional training as eBusiness is to business as usual. Both use the net to augment tradiitonal means.
This FAQ addresses corporate learning. In this context, effective eLearning dramatically cuts the time it takes for people to become and remain competent in their jobs. For context, check out the first eLearning White Paper ever written.
eLearning is the convergence of learning and the Internet.
eLearning is dynamic. Today's content, in real time, not old news or "shelfware." On-line experts, best sources, quick-and-dirty approaches for emergencies.
eLearning operates in real time. You get what you need, when you need it.
eLearning is collaborative. Because people learn from one another, eLearning connects learners with experts, colleagues, and professional peers, both in and outside your organization.
eLearning is individual. Every e-learner selects activities from a personal menu of learning opportunities most relevant to her background, job, and career at that very moment.
eLearning is comprehensive.
eLearning [is] the delivery of content via all electronic media, including the Internet, intranets, extranets, satellite broadcast, audio/video tape, interactive TV, and CD-ROM.
Accept no substitutes! Anyone with a web site can claim to provide eLearning. How does one separate the real stuff from the bogus? Legitimate eLearning is more likely to:
In the early days, way back in 1998, it was always e-learning, with the hyphen. SmartForce is the "e-Learning Company", and Cisco's John Chambers evangelizes e-learning.
As eLearning matured, some of us are dropped the hyphen (and started "intercapping" the "L".) Microsoft uses eLearn, as do SRI and Internet Time Group. The Google search engine finds:
Change is rampant. It's the Knowledge Era, New Economy, Internet Age, Information Revolution, yadda, yadda, yadda. Brains have replaced brawn.
Networked organizations demand rapid-fire, front-line decisions, and people must be in the know to make them. Everything's converging or already networked, cycle times are speeding up, and competition is coming from all directions. Are you ready?
Staffing for eBusiness is a make/buy decision.
Buying is pricey and shortsighted. (Techies with tongue-studs and purple hair command six-figure salaries, and there are too few of them to go around. We're short half a million high-tech workers, and business gets more techie every day.) Buying talent is not like buying tools. The shelf-life of knowledge has dwindled to the point that a four-year engineering degree is obsolete in, well, about four years.
People once agonized over career decisions for fear of looking like "job hoppers." These days they hear about a new opportunity over lunch and go to work for a competitor that afternoon. Money doesn't necessarily talk to a young person who drives a Porsche. What keeps people on board these days is the opportunity to develop, to build valued skills, to achieve certifications, and to add to their store of intellectual capital.
Learning has become a vital business function, but old-style training can't keep pace with Internet time. Traditional workshops cost a fortune in airplane tickets and time away from the job. In the eyes of many senior managers, off-site workshops have always been somewhere between a total waste of time and a boondoggle, the "great training robbery." Training has grown too important to be delegated to training departments.
eLearning is attractive to corporations because it promises better use of time, accelerated learning, global reach, fast pace, and accountability. It's manageable. It cuts paperwork and administrative overhead. Sometimes it can be outsourced, providing more time for leveraging the organization's core competence. eLearners like it, too.
As human capital becomes the chief source of economic value, education and training become lifelong endeavors for the vast majority of workers.
Peter J. Stokes,
Education is the next industrial era institution to go through a complete overhaul, starting in earnest in 2000. The driving force here is not so much concern with enlightening young minds as economics. In an information age, the age of the knowledge worker, nothing matters as much as the worker's brain.
Human skills are subject to obsolescence at a rate perhaps unprecedented in American History.
It is estimated that we will need 1.3 million new computer scientists, systems analysts and computer programmers by 20006 in the United States. Yet, currently one out of every ten IT positions, or approximately 350,000 jobs, are open today.
With the aging of the U.S. workforce (median age of US worker expected to increase from 35.3 to 40.6 in 2006) and technology automating a large percentage of unskilled jobs, training is necessary to remain relevant in today's knowledge-based economy.
Knowledge workers require greater flexibility in the workplace. Globalization, competition, and labor shortages cause employees to work longer, harder, and travel more than previous generations. A the same time, these workers require more independence and responsibility in their jobs and dislike close supervision. Today's knowledge workers have a nontraditional orientation to time and space, believing that as long as the job gets done on time, it is not important where or when it gets done. B the same token, they want the opportunity to allocate time for learning as needed. Modern training methods need to reflect these changes in lifestyle.
WR Hambrecht + Co
Discreet training events held off-site in a hotel room that fulfills the "20 hours per year, "check the box" regimen will not suffice.
Thomas Weisel Partners LLC
eLearning is like a cubist painting. To make sense of it, you need to look at it from different perspectives.
From the philosophical viewpoint, eLearning is framed by the principles and practices of the eLearning community -- a mix of social concern, instructional design, software savvy, entrepreneurial zeal, and extreme dissatisfaction with the status quo. Another view looks to the components of eLearning -- collaboration, simulation, databases, and so forth. The eBusiness perspective relates eLearning to ERP, supply chain optimization, and disintermediation.
eLearning is revolutionary. As Nicholas Negroponte says, incrementalism is innovation's worst enemy. The Internet changes everything; education and training are about to be changed. Radically. It's time for a fresh approach.
eLearning focuses on the individual learner. For years, training has organized itself for the convenience and needs of instructors, institutions, and bureaucracies. Bad attitude. Think of learners as customers. Compete for their time and interests. Provide them legendary service. Convert them into raving fans. Give them choices. Don't make them reinvent the wheel.
Performance is the goal. The objective is to become competent in the least time and with the least amount of training. If people could take a smart pill instead of logging in to class, bravo! How long is this going to take? No more credit for seat-time.
Most learning is social. The coffee room is a more effective place to learn than the classroom. Studies reveal that the majority of corporate learning is informal, i.e. outside of class. eLearning seeks to foster collaboration and peer interaction.
A classic study at Standard found that Hewlett Packard engineers who watched videotaped lectures followed by informal discussion performed better than Stanford engineering students who attended the same lectures on campus. Instead of an on-campus lecturer pouring content into students' heads, the HP engineers were challenged to construct their own interpretation of the subject matter.
Most eLearning is personalized. The best eLearning system learns about its users and tailors its offerings to their learning style, job requirements, career goals, current knowledge, and personal preferences. <buzzword alert> Small chunks of learning (granules, objects) are labeled (metatagged within IMS standards) so systems can automatically mix and match them to assemble and deliver individualized learning experiences. At least that's the dream. Nobody's fully there quite yet. </buzzwords>
Hierarchy of Learning Objects
eLearning is delivered in the right-sized pieces. Why take a one-hour class for the five minutes' worth of content you're looking for?
eLearners are responsible for their own learning. eLearning empowers them to manage and implement their own learning and development plans.
eLearning is inevitably a mix of activities -- people learn better that way. An eLearning environment generally includes:
learning management system which registers, tracks, and delivers content to learners; reports on learner progress, assessment results, and skill gaps for instructors; enrolls learners, provides security, and manages user access for administrators.
Important facets of eLearning
The continuous evolution of the learning industry is hell-bent toward an experience totally personalized to the individual learner. Today, the vertical communities accessed by an individual learner provide a comfortable envinroment to learn skills required in the learner's industry. Tomorrow, access will be through a corporate-sponsored community completely tailored to the individual's needs, with content delivered on demand and technology that will continually monitor the learner's abilities as the learning takes place, adjusting content and pace seamlessly.
Improved collaboration and interactivity among learners. In times when small instructor-led classes tend to be the exception, electronic learning solutions can offer more collaboration and interaction with experts and peers as well as a higher success rate than the live alternative. ...a study found that online students had more peer contact with others in the class, enjoyed it more, spent more time on class work, understood the material better, and performed, on average, 20% better than students who were taught in the traditional classroom.
WR Hambrecht + Co
The magic is in the mix!
eLearning blends the best of:
The cards aren't in yet. eLearning is too new to have produced hard evidence of learning gains. eLearning's top-line upside is speculative; its bottom-line savings are on more solid ground.
Undeniably, eLearning cuts the costs of travel, facilities, administrative overhead, duplication of effort, and more importantly, the opportunity cost of people away from the job in times of great need.
There's no doubt that eLearning can be rolled out fast. The time required to roll out a new product globally can shrink from months to hours.
Sharing and managing knowledge throughout our company...was one of the keys to reducing our operating costs by more than $2 billion per year....
Kenneth T. Derr
...learners ...can better understand the material, leading to a 60% faster learning curve, compared to instructor-led training. ... Whereas the average content retention rate for an instructor-led class is only 58%, the more intensive e-learning experience enhances the retention rate by 25-60%. Higher retention of the material puts a higher value on every dollar spent on training.
WR Hambrecht + Co
Motorola calculates that every $1 it spends on training translates to $30 in productivity gains within three years.
A recent study found that corporations that employed a workforce with a 10% higher-than-average educational attainment level enjoyed 8/6% higher-than-average productivity.
Computer-based training and online training can reduce training costs over instructor-led training. A congressionally mandated review of 47 comparisons of multimedia instruction with more conventional approaches to instruction found time savings of 30% improved achievement and cost savings of 30-40%.
Whenever the topic of bandwidth comes up, the phone company yowls about ?the last mile,? the flimsy wire bottleneck between their switching station and your house.
e-Learning providers also have a bottleneck, the last yard from the monitor into the learner?s brain. Without motivation, this final connection will never be made.
Professional training via CD-ROM flopped. Why? Because we took instructors and coaches out of the picture. The learning process breaks down when "untouched by human hands." A ringing phone interrupts a standalone learning exercise, and CD-ROM courses morph into shelfware.
Companies that adopt eLearning as a cost-cutting measure and provides no human support will not be successful. eLearning is not training by robot. Learners will live up (or down) to expectations.
Which of these two scenarios presents a better environment for learning? Assume your boss arranged for one of these two learning events for you:
It doesn?t have to be this way. Managers must go the extra mile to pat learners on the back, give them recognition, and encourage them to learn with their peers. eLearners are customers; they continually need to be sold.
Finally, eLearning is not for everyone. Some people simply will not learn outside of a classroom.
Learning to the desktop
This is one of those benefits that's better in theory than in practice. Learning complex subjects requires concentration. Most people's desks are less than optimal for learning (and often for working, too, but that's another matter).
Buddha was right. "When you do something, do it as if it were all that mattered." Get away from the phone. Shelter yourself from colleagues. Go to a learning cubicle. Put up a "Do Not Disturb" sign.
"Ah ha," Dilbert's pointy-haired boss would say. "I've got the solution -- take it all home." As if there aren't distractions aplenty at home. Feed the baby, watch the game, talk with the spouse, have a beer on the patio, or log in for learning? Besides, what message does the boss communicate about the value of learning if he expects people to do it on their own time?
Later today, I want you to teach someone all about eLearning, okay?
Hurdles to eLearning!
Certain content -- because of its nature, relative value, or importance -- is not suitable for technology-based delivery. While online training is especially well suited for the acquisition of IT skills, it has certain limitations in the arena of soft skills training. Other educational content that does not translate well into a virtual environment is material requiring significant hands-on application, with a strong emphasis on peer review and collaboration.
WR Hambrecht + Co
Update in mid-2002:
A horrific pitfall has turned out to be cajolling workers to participate. One third to one half of workers never register to take part. Half to three-quarters of those who start a program drop out before completing it. I've just completed a book on how to improve employee participation.
Corporations increasingly outsource training to Learning Service Providers (think Application Service Provider + Learning).
Standards-based learning management systems assemble large-grain learning objects on the fly. (XML meets learning).
Learner relationship management mirrors customer relationship management.
ERP and CRM vendors replace learning management systems as learning is recognized as an enterprise application.
"Intelligent" interfaces learn about the eLearner over time. (Apple's Knowledge Navigator finally arrives, only twenty years late.)
Learning becomes imbedded in work processes and equipment.
Economies of scale will development of "cool" learning using rich media, popular entertainers, and game interfaces.
Block, Howard, Bank of America Securities, The e-Bang Report, mid-1999
Beer, Valorie, The Web Learning Fieldbook, 2000
Brown, John Seely, and Duguid, Paul, The Social Life of Information, 2000
Bucher, John, Private Investment Group, Online Learning Industry Overview, 1999
Clark, Don, Time Capsule of Training and Learning
Clients of Internet Time Group, who've taught me more than they'll ever realize about real-life eLearning, particularly
From Clock of the Long Now
The Learning HIstory Project is a combination of story telling and corporate culture. Very much in tune with the work we did at Oral History Associates.
Emergent Learning Chief Learning Officer (2004), Before the World Trade Center attack, the world was more predictable. Knowledge was power. Adaptability has now taken its place. Our requirements have changed. Corporations and government agencies are on permanent alert. Networks have taken the slack out of the system. Timing is the critical variable. The performance metrics for troops on a plane headed to a new hot spot and for systems engineers countering a new competitive threat are the same: How soon will they be ready to perform?
Personal Intellectual Capital Management Chief Learning Officer (2004), Ultimately, you’re responsible for the life you lead. It’s up to you to learn what you need to succeed. That makes you responsible for your own knowledge management, learning architecture, instructional design and evaluation.
Connections: The Impact of Schooling Chief Learning Officer (2003), "Your 16-year-old daughter says she’s going to take sex education at school and you’re relieved, but she tells you she plans to participate in sex training and you’re unnerved. Why? Because outside of education, you learn by doing things."
Informal Learning: A Sound Investment Chief Learning Officer (2003). "Workers who know more get the most accomplished. People who are well connected make greater contributions. The workers who create the most value are those who know the right people, the right stuff, and the right things to do."
Blogging for Business Learning Circuits (2003). "Four million people write blogs, and blogging is growing faster than the web at its high point. A customer blog enables a company to make announcements to its Web customers immediately. All customers can benefit from a question asked by only one. The intimacy in blog culture conversation enables customers to get to know workers-and vice-versa. Affiliation breeds loyalty. Customers begin to talk among themselves. A typo that would be an embarrassment in an advertisement becomes a sign of authenticity on a blog."
Informal Learning -- The Other 80%. DRAFT. eLearning Forum (2003). This paper addresses how organizations, particularly business organizations, can get more done. The people who create the most value are those who know the right people, the right stuff, and the right things to do. People learn these things through informal learning that flies beneath the corporate radar. Because organizations are oblivious to informal learning, they fail to invest in it.
How E-Learning Professionals Learn About E-Learning Most of the respondents said that they place a higher value on information from individuals: friends, fellow bloggers, authors, and people who send them email or that they meet at conference. As a group, they didn’t put much stock in information from organizations: suppliers, magazines, and conference sessions.
eLearning: You Built It -- Now Promote It, eLearning Developers Journal (2003). "Your elevator pitch is what you say when your CEO steps onto your elevator and asks what you're doing. You'll probably include the three basic elements of marketing design: your brand, your position, and your target segments."
eLearning: Apples and Oranges, Learning Circuits (2003). "Perhaps corporations should consider how small an e-learning application can be and still get the job done rather than try to create monster centralized e-learning systems. In doing so, would companies lose economies of scale? Maybe. But consider this: As many as half of all grandiose, enterprise software initiatives fail to live up to expectations. Many simply fail."
See What I Mean, eLearning (2002). "In the 20th century, we confused reading words with learning. Learning is a multisensory, both-sides-of-the-brain experience. Pictures unlock the imagination. Yet, most books do not contain a single illustration." More legible jpg here.The Value of Learning About Learning, with Clark Quinn (2002). "If Olympic athletes approached running the marathon the way business people approach learning, they would show up for the race without having trained. Learning is a skill, not a hard-wired trait. The discipline of meta-learning seeks to re-invent learning as a self-correcting, ever improving process. Its measure of success is not effort, but business results."
The DNA of eLearning, with Ian Hamilton (2002). "eLearning technologies, as platforms for business-critical training needs, simply don't do what companies need or envision them to do. The fact of the matter is that different companies need them to do different things. Lacking the ability to purchase an effective eLearning technology platform, companies certainly cannot be convinced to purchase third-party eLearning content to play on these platforms."
Tomorrow's Too Late LiNEZine (2002). How would you describe an elementary school principal who didn?t conduct fire drills? Irresponsible. And how would you describe a chief operating officer who didn?t prepare for crises? Typical.
Learning (2002). "It's right
before our eyes, but we're so habituated to it that we can't see it.
We've confused reading and writing with learning. What's the problem
with line after line of type? They're linear. This is not the way we
think. We think associatively. Thinking resembles freeform conversation,
hopping from one subject to another, changing in emphasis, delivered
with emotion, forever an engaging assortment of choices and surprise.
The written word conveys but one of the options."
The SunTAN Story (2001). "Appropriately enough for a company whose motto is 'The network is the computer,' Sun Microsystems started using eLearning to train newly hired sales people long before the term eLearning was invented.... The time it takes sales people to achieve quota dropped from 15 months to 6 months. What's the value of 9 months of additional sales from 1,440 people? Given that the people have $5 million quotas, that's in the neighborhood of $5 billion in incremental revenue."
A Fresh Look at ROI Learning Circuits (2000). "Where you stand on ROI depends on where you sit. Different levels of management make different sorts of decisions, so it's appropriate that they use different measures of ROI. In a nutshell, traditional accounting recognizes nothing but physical entities; intangibles are valued at zero. Vast areas of human productivity--ideas, abilities, experience, insight, esprit de corps, motivation--lie outside the accountant's field of vision. Accounting fails to recognize that people become more valuable over time."
Frontline: eLearning Forum Learning Circuits (2001). "Cliff Stoll caught everyone's attention by loudly proclaiming, "E-learning is a fraud!' Unquestionably, Stoll took control of the floor. He asked the group, 'If you were hiring a plumber, which would you choose: one with an online degree in plumbing or one who learned firsthand?' Muttering that simulations were a great way to avoid the person sitting next to you, Stoll said that the designers of flight simulators spent more time making the clouds look right than getting to what the pilots really need...."
Being Analog LiNEZine (2001). "Computers are bipolar. A bit is on or off. 1 or 0. Unless you're a digital processor, this binary thinking can trick you into oversimplifying what's going on. The human world is not yes or no; it's a sea of maybes. Most decisions aren't black or white; they're shades of gray. Are you liberal or conservative? Perhaps like me, you're a little of each. Treating the world as an open-or-shut case leads to thought crimes like "The Internet changes everything." In my work, I struggle with the knuckle-headed assumption that learning must be either instructor-led or computer-delivered rather than a blend of the two. Few things in life are really all or nothing."
The Changing Nature of Leadership LiNEZine (2001). "Wide, ever-shifting boundaries change all the rules. We once rewarded compliance; today we reward innovation. We once praised obedience; today we praise ad hoc solutions. Yesterday?s subversive employee is today?s innovator. Leadership?creating value by hopping outside boundaries?used to be the province of a well-paid, well-educated few somewhere near the top of the pyramid. Turbulent times have converted leadership into a responsibility shared by all members of the organization."
Food for Thought LiNEZine (2001). "Treat the learner as a customer. Make it easy for the learner to buy (learn). Use interactivity, relevance, wit, and excitement to keep the learner/customer engaged. If the customers aren?t buying, it?s your fault, not theirs. The learning revolution is over. The learners won. Take control by giving control. Problem formulation often counts for more than problem solution. School always gives you the formulated problem; life does not."
eLearning (1999). "In the training jungle, corporate performance is the elephant. Training's only function is to hunt the elephant. Focusing solely on employees' needs does not bag elephants. The "e" in eLearning is not only for electronic; it's also there to remind you about the elephant. Remember, corporate performance is what you're hunting for."
us to write white papers and articles, for example:
Leveraging the People Value Chain (for SmartForce, 2000). "Companies looking for workers who take orders, understand discipline, and put the welfare of the company above their own will be disappointed. Workers like this no longer exist. While some companies decry high turnover, others turn the mindset of the new recruit to their advantage. After all, they want innovators, not followers. They prefer self-starters who will do what's right rather than waiting for instructions. They need people more concerned with getting the job done than punching the clock. For too long, we've looked at investing in people through the wrong end of the telescope. Instead of trying to keep the cost of training and development down, what if we were to try to keep it up?"
Converting Intellectual Capital into Competitive Advantage (for Avaltus, 2001). "Success in the knowledge age requires new tools. This paper describes a unified approach to creating, maintaining, and exploiting intellectual capital, the knowledge platform. The objective is to deliver the right information at the right time to the right person, simply, economically, and immediately."
Learn Fast, Go Fast. (for SmartForce, 1999). "eBusiness needs an eBusiness approach to learning itself, something we call eLearning. eLearning is to traditional training as eBusiness is to the five-and-dime. eLearning puts the learner in the center of the equation instead of the trainer."
Metrics & ROI
Four years ago I attended a how-to-ROI presentation at a major eLearning event and found it so misleading that I began writing about how companies really evaluate project potential and after-the-fact results.
Recently I've noticed ROI Workshops popping up. Spend a couple of days and the better part of a thousand dollars. Get a certificate. Such a deal. Unfortunately, neither the workshops nor the conference presentations cover the things I deem important:
Rather than update my various white papers and articles, I have consolidated my thoughts into a single one hundred-page eBook called Metrics. Check it out.
eLearning infrastructure decisions are climbing up the corporate ladder. A few years ago, eLearning was pigeonholed as a cheaper, faster way to train employees. By default, eLearning decisions fell to the director of training or HR.
Now, functional managers are using eLearning to meet business objectives. Managers look beyond employees to customers, suppliers, and distribution channels -- everyone benefits from seeding eLearning throughout the value chain. This is where we are now, with eLearning decisions seesawing back and forth between can-do functional managers anxious to get on with it, and CIOs/CLOs who want to go the next step to enterprise solutions. Still rare but perhaps the next step in this evolution is the CEO who looks at eLearning as a competitive weapon, the way to create a nimble organization, improve customer service, move quickly, and stay ahead of the pack.
January 10, 2003. Those of you who've read my thoughts on ROI know that I believe cost/benefit analysis is manditory and most ROI calculations are utterly worthless. Thus, I was delighted to come upon Enough Already! Getting Off the ROI Bandwagon by Kevin Kruse (mistakenly identified as Kevin Kenexa) in the current issue of Chief Learning Officer magazine.
Kevin writes that:
First, many senior executives don't care about ROI. In Jack Welch's book, "Straight From the Gut," he tells of his decision to invest millions in GE's new Crotonville training facility, even while undertaking massive layoffs. He didn't have an ROI spreadsheet to tell him training was a good investment; he just knew that investing in talent was critical to GE's future.
Second, ROI is an imperfect science that often involves making educated guesses at potential savings and gains. Senior executives know this, and they also know that there are many variables that can't be captured by a formula.
Third, ROI guesstimates are often a cop-out for tougher measurements of results. How about measuring employee engagement scores before and after management training, or doing pilot studies of sales training programs that measure closing ratios and time-to-close?
Traditional ROI has suckered corporations into evaluating learning initiatives on a project-by-project basis, and this has lead to supporting each new approach as if it existed in isolation. The Meta-Learning Lab is developing ways to improve the overall learning process.
Take the old cliché of "Give a man to fish and he won't be hungry today. Teach a man to fish and he will never be hungry again." (Excuse the sexism; this dates back several thousand years.) The Meta-Learning Lab's goal is to teach fishermen how to improve their catch.
Scientific rigor: The Baloney Detection Kit
How to draw boundaries between science and pseudoscience, or between useful metrics and pure hype. From Scientific American
1. How reliable is the source of the claim?
6. Does the preponderance of evidence point to the claimant's conclusion
or to a different one?
Corporate Learning Strategies by Dan Tobin. "If you start and end all of your learning efforts by focusing on your organization's goals, you will never be asked to do an ROI analysis to justify your budget."
There's no cookbook
approach to measuring the ROI of training. Fred Nichols is so right
Technology-enabled learning creates value by speeding things up. Business-school professors compare making big corporate changes to turning around the Queen Mary. Turn the rudder and in a few miles, the ship changes course. These days, organizations that lack the agility to turn on a dime can only go about as far as the Queen Mary (which is moored in cement alongside a pier in Long Beach, California.)
Often an e-Learning initiative pays for itself right off the bat by eliminating travel and facility costs, but that misses the point, because in comparison, upside gains dwarf cost savings.
Go to any major conference for trainers and you'll find many sessions on evaluating results and measuring performance. If you're a line manager with no training background, you will at first be confused when participants make statements like, "We evaluate 100% at Level 1, 80% and Level 2, and 40% at Level 3. We're going to shoot for some Level 4 next year."
The only valid measure of training is business metrics, not training metrics.
As the Godfather said, "This is business." If you can't see a benefit, don't do it.
Jack Zigon's list of performance measurement sites
Excerpt from Ed Trolley's Running Training Like a Business
Evaluating e-Learning by Dorman Woodall
Jay's notes on making the business case, new ROI challenges
The trouble with the "four levels" is that they falter when they go outside of the limited context of training. What happens outside the box is what counts inside the box. See Measuring Training ROI & Impact (1999). You can guess how I see this.
The Evolution of Management Accounting by Robert S. Kaplan
BNH on ROI. Their software models simlify complex ROI calculations.
Discussion group: ROInet
Learning at home
Training magazine, the March 2000 issue: Train on your own time, not "during work."
This is so true and so short-sighted.
GlossaryAcronyms. You'll need to know many of these to keep up with Workflow-Based Learning.
ADL. Advanced Distributed Learning, an initiative originally established by the U.S. Department of Defense and now a collaboration between government, industry, and academia. The purpose of the ADL is to ensure access to high-quality education and training materials that can be tailored to individual learner needs and made available whenever and wherever they are required. The ADL maintains a set of guidelines under the acronym SCORM to accomplish their purpose.
AICC. Aviation Industry CBT Committee. The granddaddy of standards bodies. Originally formered to set guidelines for the aviation industry, AICC concepts are the foundation for subsequent work by ADL, IMS, and others.
Andragogy. Word coined by Malcolm Knowles to describe how adults learn -- which is different from how children learn ("pedagogy"). I'm beginning to suspect pedagogy denigrates children and that andra is the gogy to go with for all. Main points are:
Asynchronous. [pretentious] Any time you like, e.g. watching a rerun on your VCR.
Bandwidth is a description of how much information can squeeze through a data pipe. Your intranet has high bandwidth; your dial-up connection is low bandwidth. Also used anthropomorphically, e.g. "He has low bandwidth" is equivalent to "He is a taco short of a combo plate" or "Her elevator doesn't go all the way to the top."
Bipolar thinking. The tendency to see everything in black and white when faced with shades of gray.
Blended. Current rage in eLearning circles. Means using more than one learning medium, generally adding an instructor component to web-based training. Duh! Blended is only a revelation for people who had been trying to do everything with just one tool the computer. Classroom teachers having been blending various means of learning lecture, discussion, practice, reading, projects, and writing, for example -- for eons.
Blog digest, blogathy, blogerati, blogger bash, blogger ecosystem, bloggeral, blogoverse, blogistan, blognoscenti, blogapottamus, blogorrhea, blogosphere, blogroach, blogroll, blogspot, blogstipation, blogule, blurker. See Blog Vocabulary.
Boiling the ocean. Trying to cure all problems at once, often with a single tool.
Broadband. Unscientific term for sufficient bandwidth to receive streaming video and sound. Usually refers to bandwidth equal to or greater than DSL or Cable Modem speed.
Career Limiting Move. It refers to any incident that puts a roadblock in your career path. "Jack spilled coffee on the boss. It was a major CLM."
Certification. Pass the test, get a certificate. This started with technical subjects, e.g. Certified Novell Engineer and Microsoft Certified Professionals. Cisco offers a progression of certificates that reminds one of the ranks in Boy Scouts. Since there's no authority legitimizing the certifications, expect a continuing proliferation of these things. Certifications simplify hiring decisions; on the downside, they encourage "studying to the test." For $500, I can get you an Certified Internet Time Professional ranking.
Chat. Real-time communication, text or voice. Generally, messages disappear when the session's over. Otherwise, you're probably having a discussion.
c-learning. Classroom learning. Used to be just "learning," but now we need to differentiate c-learning from eLearning.
Collaborative filtering. Example: Amazon tells me that other people who like the books I like are buying a particular book.
Community. A group of people united by a common purpose who share information and knowledge with one another.
Community of Practice. An informal group that shares values, perspectives, and ways of doing things. The motivation to learn is the deisre to participate in a "community of practice."
Complexity. It's a nonlinear, interconnected world and you will never figure it out. Shit happens.
Content. What's being learned, information. If it doesn't cause change, it's not information. The challenge is how to get the right content to right person, at the right time. This involves media choice (e.g., paper versus on-screen), speed, delivery cost, relevance, learner motivation, and other factors.
Context. The environment of content. Who's talking? When? Why? Content and context are like inside and outside: you can't have one without the other.
Content management system (CMS). A CMS supports the creation, management, distribution, publishing, and discovery of content from cradle to grave. A CMS helps users find what they're looking for. It also separates content from presentation. See StepTwo Designs.
Course. Rigid unit of learning, generally expressed in days and 'led' by an instructor. Opposite: 'Just enough.'
Dead-tree media. Paper-based publications.
Dynamic information. 'Real time.' Current, up to the second. Instead of reading pages prepared in advance, the pages are assembled on the fly, incorporating current information and taking into account current needs.
eLearning. Also e-Learning. Best practices for learning in the new economy, implying but not requiring benefits of networking and computers such as anywhere/anytime delivery, learning objects, and personalization. Learning on Internet time. Often includes ILT.
Explicit knowledge. Knowledge that's easy to communicate. (Opposite of "tacit knowledge.")
Gap analysis. Figure out what to do by assessing the gap between where you are and where you want to be. Most people then begin building from the present into the future. We favor looking at the step right before the ultimate one and backing toward the present one step at a time.
Hitnosis. Obsessively checking your web counter to see if the number has changed.
ILT. Instructor-led training, generally a workshop.
IMS - A standards body developing and promoting open specifications for facilitating online distributed learning. Its traditional emphasis surrounded meta-tagging specifications
Informal/formal learning. Formal learning is a class, a seminar, a self-study course -- everyone recognizes it as learning. Informal learning is over the water cooler, at the poker game, asking the guy in the next cube to help out, collaborative problem solving, watching an expert, or sharing a terminal for eLearning. More than half of corporate learning is the informal kind.
Instructional design. A systems approach to designing a learning experience. Heavily promoted by DoD investment, formal instructional design is currently under attack for fostering slow development, a printed-paper mindset, and insufficient attention to informal learning.
Internet time. The accelerated timeframe of the new economy brought on by eBusiness and the Internet. A year of Internet time may equal seven years of calendar time. Or more. Or less.
Intangible. Something that cannot be perceived by the senses. Accountants and financial types only grudgingly concede that some intangibles have value, and they find it in things like brand names and patents. Because you can't immediately sense a person's capability, a customer's loyalty, or a relationship with a supplier, accountants say these things have to value.
Job aid. Cheat sheet. Checklist. Process map. Generally, a piece of paper that helps you do your job.
Just-in-time learning. Getting the right knowledge to the right person at the right time.
K Log. Knowledge blog. A euphemism used by corporate types who don't want to be typecast as mere social bloggers.
Kittyblogger. A person who uses their blog to write about their cats or equally interesting topics.
Knowledge Management (KM). Whatever you want it to mean.
Learner-centric. Organize things for the good of the learner, not the instructor and not the institution. The core tenet of eLearning.
Learning. To gain knowledge or information of; to ascertain by inquiry, study, or investigation; to acquire understanding of, or skill; as, to learn the way; to learn a lesson; to learn dancing; to learn to skate; to learn the violin; to learn the truth about something.
LMS or Learning management system. eLearning infrastructure. At the simplest level, a tracking system. LMS's range from simple course-by-course registration systems to humongous, real-time databases that deal with personalization, learning prescriptions, job competencies, and parsing learning objects.
LCMS. Learning content management system. An LCMS is a multi-user environment where learning developers can create, store, reuse, manage, and deliver digital learning content from a central object repository.
Learning object. A machine-addressible "chunk" of learning. When labeled with metadata, an eLearning system can mix and match learning objects to create individualized learning experiences. Controversy swirls around the question, "How large is a chunk?" A course is too large -- that's yesterday's object. A couple of sentences is too small -- you would lose the context that provides meaning. Think five or ten minutes.
Learning service provider. Delivers eLearning - including learning management -- over the Internet. A learning ASP. Focus in-house IT on core processes; outsource eLearning to an LSP.
LOMBARD. Lots Of Money But A Real Dickhead. Coined by The Economist. Sometimes applied to vulture capitalists.
fruit: In an apple
orchard, its the apples on the low branches. In business, its
the easy sales to get. Problem: You run out of low-hanging fruit long
before you become profitable.
Meme. A self-replicating idea that propogates through people and networks, much like comptuer viruses. A thought-gene. Coined by Richard Dawkins.
Metadata. Information about information. Often, "metatags" that describe what's inside a chunk of learning. Generally machine-readable. Analogous to a barcode on an incoming shipment.
Meta-Learning. The process of learning. Learning to learn is a major component. See Meta-Learning Lab.
Meta-tags - Descriptive labels applied to media assets, pages, information objects and/or learning objects that describe the object so it can be managed more effectively. Machine-readable.
M-learning. Mobile learning. Learning delivered or augmented by an untethered device, for example by cell phone, WiFi PDA, wearable with headmounted display, or wireless tablet.
Moblog. Combination of "mobile" with "blog," moblogs are websites where people can post pictures taken with mobile phones in real time.
Nurnburg funnel. Source of the metaphor of training being akin to pouring knowledge into a person's head.
Ontology. The capstone of the Semantic Web. XML describes what the data is. RDF explains what the XML tag means in our context. An Ontology describes how all the pieces fit together.
Paradigm drag. When old thinking holds back new. From David Gelernter's Machine Beauty: Elegance and the Heart of Technology.
Peer to peer. When the PC is both client and server, able to swap resources directly with other PCs. Resources? Files, songs, videos, processor cycles, disk space. This wil be big for self-organizing teams.
Performance. The goal of learning. AKA productivity, results. It's relative to context. Decide what constitutes performance, then design the learning to support it.
Performance support. Learning imbedded in work. Microsoft's talking paperclip and 'Wizards' that guide users through applications are examples.
Permalink. A permanent marker or reference point to a certain document on the world wide web. Most commonly used for weblogs, news sites and newspapers. A permalink is denoted through the use of a symbol (pound sign, arrow, dot), date of content creation, the word permalink or image.
Personalization. Learning opportunities tailored to the learner's background, style, previous knowledge, etc. 'Mass customization' and '1:1 marketing' applied to learning. Results are saved time, accelerated learning, more wheat/less chaff, phenomenal performance gain.
Portal. 1. Synonyn for entry screen. Widely hyped 1998-1999 because anyone can imagine the utility of an in-house Yahoo. 2. Transactional portal. A front-end which lets you do as well as see things.
Problem. Sometimes, a way of blinding oneself to new opportunities. Dr David Cooperrider says “Once we describe something as a problem, we assume that we know what the ideal is - what should be - and we go in search of ways to close any ‘gaps’ - not to expand our knowledge or to build better ideals.”
Pronoia. The belief that the world is conspiring to make you happy and successful.
RDF - Resource Description Framework. A dictionary and thesaurus for XML tags that sits between XML and an ontology.
RLO - Reusable Learning Object. A discrete chunk of reusable learning that teaches one or more terminal objectives.
RSS - Real Simple Syndication, among other definitions. A format for syndicating blogs.
Search learning. When you learn from perusing Amazon, looking up topics on Google, or paging through business magazines on the airplane.
Semantic Web. Will enable computers to talk with one another. How we will address "the difference between information produced primarily for human consumption and that produced mainly for machines. At one end of the scale we have everything from the five-second TV commercial to poetry. At the other end we have databases, programs and sensor output. To date, the Web has developed most rapidly as a medium of documents for people rather than for data and information that can be processed automatically. The Semantic Web aims to make up for this." Tim Berners-Lee in Scientific American.
SCORM. Sharable Content Object Reference Model. Standards are very popular; that's why there are so many of them. SCORM is the Federal government's standard. It seeks to track and manage courseware developed by various authoring tools using a single system. The objective is to bring together diverse and disparate learning content and products to ensure reusability, accessibility, durability, and interoperability. Built on the work of AICC, IMS, the IEEE, and others. See www.adlnet.org for the latest. Coming under fire for narrow focus on self-directed learning as well as for military backing.
Shelf-life. Knowledge is perishable. Some suggest it be labeled with pull-dates, like cartons of milk. (And others point out that spoiled milk may have been put in the eLearning bottle to being with.)
SOAP - simple object access protocol. Describes how one application talks to a Web service and asks it to perform a task and return an answer. SOAP makes it possible to use Web services for transactions—say, credit card authorization or checking inventory in real-time and placing an order. See Web services.
Synchronous. [pretentious] Live event.
Tacit/explicit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is knowing how; it's impossible to transfer to it you in words. Explicit knowledge is the opposite -- you're reading it right now.
Technophilia. The belief that technology will solve all ills. Especially prevalent during the dot-com delusion, fostered by Wired magazine.
Timing. The first 90% of a development project takes 90% of the time. The remaining 10% also takes 90% of the time.
Training. An attempt to impose learning, often more at the convenience of the provider than the learner.
UDDI (universal description, discovery and integration) A virtual yellow pages for Web services that lets software discover what Web services are available and how to hook up to them. See Web services.
VOIP. Phonecalls over the Internet. When you conduct a meeting with Centra or Groove, people from all over the world can speak with one another with NO PHONE CHARGES. The technology is not yet out of the woods; unable to reach someone at Cisco last year, a colleague explained, "Oh, she's testing one of our VOIP phones. She never receives her calls."
Warchalking. Marking the location of open wi-fi connections to the net on the sidewalk or wall in chalk.
WSDL - Web services description language. If UDDI is a virtual yellow pages, WSDL is the little blurb associated with each entry that describes what kind of work the Web service can do—say, that it can give you access to a database of ZIP codes.
Web services. Standards that enable interoperability on applications on the net. Includes XML, SOAP, UDDI, and WSDL. More
Wireless learning. Tell me once again. If my cell phone craps out at random intervals, how will a wireless modem enable me to cut the cord?
Workflow Learning™Also, Workflow-based Learning™. Term coined by researcher Sam Adkins to describe the sort of learning the real-time extended enterprise requires. The merger of work and learning in Enterprise Application Integration. Seen Workflow Learning Institute. Term is trademarked by Internet Time Group.
XML. eXtensible Markup Language. Like HTML but more flexible because you can redefine tags to say whatever you want. Instead of <H1>, you might have <duration> or <invoice>. This enables computers to talk with one another without pesky human intervention.
For learning objects, XML is equivalent to the labels on cans at the supermarket -- it's lets you determine what's inside without opening the package. This enables an object-level Learning Management System to assemble strings of learning objects into personalized learning paths. See Web services.
YMMV. "Your mileage may vary." Recognition that your results may not be the same as mine. (Other things are never equal.)
Cisco's eLearning Glossary 2001 (pdf)
Financial and Business Terms (New York Times)
Wired's Encyclopedia of the New Economy