Category Archives: Blogging

Ten years after

atdplusThose who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, so I’ll reflect on the old days a dozen years ago when we were sorting out the ground rules for eLearning.

In 2002, ASTD and I introduced a blog, Learning Circuits Blog, about eLearning and networking. I was an early and frequent contributor. For a simple blog, we went far. At ATD, Ryann Ellis was the under-appreciated editor who held it together for years. <Kudos!> Learning Circuits was ASTD’s first foray into modern learning.

It’s amazing to look back. In 2000, ASTD executives assured me you couldn’t charge for online instruction. Live conferencing and lecture, maybe, but not for mere content delivery or interactive learning. People were still debating whether online learning “worked.” Many were skeptics. Two years later we launched the Learning Circuits Blog. We were web and network enthusiasts; that’s how we got here.

Ryann wrote: This isn’t the first time ASTD has revamped the LC Blog into a more serviceable offering. Excited about the new communication tool, we actually started our first blog somewhat ambitiously in 2002 as an experiment lead by informal learning guru Jay Cross and Learning Circuits editor Ryann Ellis. After a few years of misfires and restarts, Jay helped us relaunch the blog as we now know it on January 5, 2005, with a post laying down ground rules for a group-generated blog. In short, the rules were, no self-promotional posts, no personal attacks, and keep it brief—all good advice to heed today, no matter the platform.

Indeed, over the years, the blog has seen several incarnations and a parade of learning technology thought leaders contributing content, including Clark Aldrich, Karl Kapp, Donald Clark, Dave Lee, Clark Quinn, Clive Shepherd, Harold Jarche, and most notably Tony Karrer, who was at the helm for nearly four years. We thank them and everyone else who shared their ideas, expertise, and dedication to the field. [And have no fear: For those looking for an older post, the LC Blog will remain live with all its content intact.]

For a few years, the Learning Circuits Blog was our learning community’s early substitute for Twitter. The vocal folks built their online reputations there. Tony Karrer and Dave Gray figured heavily in making the LC Blog go. Forgive my feeble memory for blanking on the other contributors.

ASTD revamped its IT system several years ago, breaking thousands of links irrevocably, sending lots of my content down the rathole. Bad move. Links were severed. Thank goodness Goggle has a different mindset: keep everything. Since we set up the Learning Circuits blog on Blogger, it’s there to this day.

Here’s the last (2008) Learning Circuits Blog. Or 2006.

Stroll back in time. Not much new, is there? You could use some of this stuff in Sunday’s sermon and no one would recognize they’d heard it before.

lc blog



The year’s top posts on Working Smarter

2013 is over for everything but the holidays so I’m posting this list of the top 50 blog posts on Working Smarter this year. Here’s how they were selected.
Working smarter draws upon ideas from design thinking, network optimization, brain science, user experience design, learning theory, organizational development, social business, technology, collaboration, web 2.0 patterns, social psychology, value network analysis, anthropology, complexity theory, and more.

SEPTEMBER 30, 2013

Here it is: The Top 100 Tools for Learning 2013

‘The Top 100 Tools for Learning 2013 list was compiled from the votes of over 500 learning professionals from 48 countries. Here are some of the highlights from this year’s list. For a fuller analyis, visit Analysis 2013 Twitter retains its no 1 position for [.].

MARCH 10, 2013

Group work advice for MOOC providers

The most valuable aspect of MOOCs is that the large number of learners enables the formation of sub-networks based on interested, geography, language, or some other attribute that draws individuals together. With 20 students in a class, limited options exist for forming sub-networks. When you have 5,000 students, new configurations are possible.

APRIL 11, 2013

Exploratorium: Mapping the Experience of Experiments

‘We’re huge fans of our soon to be San Francisco waterfront neighbors, the Exploratorium. They don’t have docents, they have Explainers.

JANUARY 27, 2013

PKM in 2013

“The basic unit of social business technology is personal knowledge management, not collaborative workspaces.” ” Knowledge.
744 Tweets 191 Tweets 103 Tweets 114 Tweets

The Churchill Club

The Churchill Club is the real deal. Movers and shakers and enterpreneurs. A nexus. I’m always blown away.

cclubSome of my notes from tonight’s session, mainly Alan Kay’s observations.

“The revolution is old but it feels like it’s just taking off.”

Kay and a bunch of his pals back in ARPA and PARC days remembered Licklider, who wanted ARPA to develop and intellectual amplifier. In those cold war days, money was not a problem. The influential were out to change the world, not to amass fortunes. Licklider called for developing an intergalactic network. Missing the mark created the internet.

Unfortunately, business people are rewarded for making money, not for improving the world. Imagine how business would look at marketing bicycles if starting from scratch. These things have one hell of a steep learning curve. And they are dangerous. Kids are going to ride them in traffic. Our lawyers will be in fits. Forget it.


Appropriately, Kay shared a Churchill anecdote with a great message: The future is cooperation, not competition.

The hostess at the manor party tells Sir Winston she’s just seen a senior peer pocket a solid silver salt cellar. Should she confront him?

Winston walked over to the earl, pocketing a salt shaker along the way. As he pulled the shaker from his pocket, he told the earl, “it looks like we’ve been discovered. Better put them back.”


Kay set a hurdle for software. It should be like the human body, which replaces every molecule in the course of seven years; it doesn’t have to die for maintenance and then reboot. Software should accommodate improvement without shutting down.

The typical Silicon Valley has a little angel on her shoulder, saying “Change the world.” On the other should sits a little devil saying “Get rich quick.”

Why is the movie industry in Hollywood? It’s not just the light. It was as far as they could get away from New York. Similarly, Xerox put PARC in Palo Alto, far from the executive offices in Stamford, CT.

Kay hasn’t seen much true innovation beyond mere scaling.

Business people seem to feel as if God had given them this verdant valley, and they figure it’s their right to strip it bare.

MOOCs? The amazing thing is their popularity. The underbelly is Backlash.

Maxwell (or maybe it was Faraday) gave Disraeli a demo of two small motors. “What are they good for?” The reply: “What are human babies good for?”

Most managers are more concerned about maintaining control than with doing the job well.



Six topics for the price of one

I’m spending the first quarter of the year learning experientially by walking around and trying new things.

This blog is turning conversational. It’s me to you. Informal. Personal. I’m returning to the impromptu, stream-of-consciousness style I used when I began blogging a dozen years ago.

I’ll be narrating my work, describing my discoveries before I mesh them into white papers and polished posts. When I’ll post things ready for prime time to, my official blog. Here at Continue reading Six topics for the price of one

10 most popular posts of 2012


Google Analytics tells me these are 2012’s greatest hits on


pinkDan Pink’s new book

Dan Pink has written another best seller. (The book won’t be released until December 31 but is already in its third printing.) The U.S. Government reports that one worker in eight is a sales person. Dan disagrees. He thinks we’re all sales people, even though a lot of us are engaged in “non-sales selling.” Instructors, lawyers, doctors, bankers, and you and I spend a lot of Continue reading 10 most popular posts of 2012

My elements of style

Caveat lector.

As my research shifts focus from informal learning to well-being, I’m gaining new readers.

Welcome! Let explain where my blog is coming from.

When I began studying informal learning eight years ago, I decided to exemplify what I was talking about. I gave PowerPoint a rest. I became transparent in my work. I began thinking out loud. I shared ideas that were not fully formed.

Soon after Informal Learning came out, I arrived to give a speech to sixty people just as the Continue reading My elements of style