In 2006, Jossey-Bass published a book of mine on Informal Learning.
The book describes informal learning as “the unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu way people learn to do their jobs”
It compares formal learning to riding a bus and informal learning to riding a bicycle.
The book says that “Work = Learning; Learning = Work.”
For the second time in a week, I came upon words I had written, unattributed, in an infographic and a presentation on the web.
I put “unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu” and “informal learning bicycle bus” into Google and found those three words, verbatim but unattributed, in these works:
This infographic on Informal Learning appears in Huffington Post.
ASTD InfoLine: Designing for Informal Learning by Bruno Neal, Linda Hainlen. “Informal Learning is the unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu way most people learn to do their jobs….”
The most blatant rip-off is by Brainshark‘s Audrey Polce who uses my bus and bicycle analogy and wording without attribution in a webinar entitled Using Brainshark for Formal and Informal Learning. From her slides:
[Update, from Twitter August 27th:
Informal vs. Formal Learning: What’s the Difference? by Brendan Cournoyer, Director of Content Marketing, Brainshark. Cournoyer thanks her for this knowledge in another post. “We can liken the difference between formal and informal learning to travelling on a bus vs riding a bike (thanks to Audrey Polce for this metaphor.”
Most of this next batch use the words “unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu way most people learn to do their jobs.” Often that’s the only transgression, although to my way of thinking, that’s enough. When you quote someone word for word, you need to acknowledge your source.
Informal Learning Management, Evaluation, Regulation by Brian Swisher on the “eLearning Heroes” site. “I am writing a paper for my ISD Masters Program on informal learning. Informal learning is the unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu way most people learn to do their jobs.”
How social networks and Web 2.0 can support informal learning in your company or organization, EU Net Knowing Project, funded by EU Leonardo da Vinci Programme in the framework of Lifelong Learning European Programme. “Informal learning is the unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu way people learn to do their jobs.”
Learning Networking through Mobile Apps, proposal defense by jepputeh iot. “Informal Learning: Unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu way of us learn to do our jobs”
Informal Learning Context, EDU 09 – THEORETICAL BASE OF PHYSICAL SCIENCE EDUCATION – II by T.K Thankcom. “Informal learning is the unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu way most people learn to do their jobs. Informal learning is like riding a bicycle: the rider chooses the destination and the route.“
Organizations and Cultures by dcarmona.”Informal learning is the unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu way people learn to do their jobs.”
A Study: Informal Learning & Formal Learning in a General Music Classroom by Joon Hwang WONG Raffles Institution, Singapore. Presented at the 32nd World Conference of the International Society for Music Education. “informal learning takes place in an unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu way most people learn to do their jobs. ”
The words pop up on at least five term-paper writing services (although they may all be drawing on the same batch of papers) but I’m not about to pay a fee to read my own purloined words.
My take on this
I don’t promote Informal Learning for the money. Believe me, it’s not lucrative. I spread the gospel of informal learning because I’m convinced it works and it feels like the right thing to do. I’m a true believer, but I don’t like to feel that people, especially LMS vendors, are taking advantage of me.
A couple of weeks ago, I came upon an LMS vendor’s site that described his company’s way of doing things with several paragraphs lifted directly from one of my white papers. The CEO apologized profusely and we had a lovely conversation. The fellow who wrote the copy said “I used your blog structure as an idea however must have published the wrong version with your text rather than mine.” Uh huh.
This is hardly the first time. Three years ago I blogged Where to Draw the Line on Plagiarism? and gave several examples:
This morning I looked at a presentation on SlideShare by the head of learning of an Irish insurance company. Eight of the 33 slides were copied from a colleague’s presentation deck without attribution. Another slide credits me but gets the numbers wrong and attributes the idea to Time Magazine instead of Internet Time Group.
One slide re-labels Charles Jennings’ examples of 70:20:10 as 50:20:30 — I guess the presenter couldn’t believe that formal learning had such little impact. Another slide quotes a Nobel Laureate but fails to acknowledge that the quote was borrowed from Charles’ presentation. The Irish presentation had been rekeyed. Hint: keying someone’s material into your presentation doesn’t make it yours.
It gets worse. Clark Quinn and I found an entire white paper we’d co-authored on an international university’s site. It reappeared word for word — except for our names, which were nowhere to be found. It looked as if the university had written it. When we called them on it, their first defense was that they had found it on the web and couldn’t remember where. I demanded an apology; the university said it was not at fault. I gave them a choice: I would out them as brazen intellectual property thieves or they would take down the article immediately. They chose the latter.
Last month an LMS vendor borrowed 200 words from my site without attribution. They told me it was a mistake. The post now acknowledges *research authored and compiled by Jay Cross at: http://www.informl.com/where-did-the-80-come-from/.
Marcia Conner once sent me a book, not a very good one, that printed 30 pages from my site without permission! These are not isolated instances.
I wrote a professor in New Zealand that “Your presentation presents words and graphics from three principals of of Internet Time Alliance (Charles Jennings, Jane Hart, and myself) without attribution and in violation of international copyright law.” He wrote back, “My sincerest apologies. I thought I had properly cited the work but it was not at all. Shame. I have removed the presentations. If you would like more recompense please let me know.” I told him “No need to remove the presentation. Just note sources for our material.”
I think I’ve been too much of a softie. I am fed up.
Maybe there’s an opportunity hidden here.
Henceforth, when I come upon plagiarism of more than a handful of words, I’m going to send the transgressor a link to this post and a bill for $1,000. If it’s a Fortune 50 company, it will be for $5,000.
If I don’t get a satisfactory response, I will out the company on Twitter and append the incident to this post.