Top posts on Working Smarter for April 2014

STEPHEN DOWNES: HALF AN HOUR

APRIL 21, 2014

Connectivism as Learning Theory

‘I think the students in the Building Online Collaborative Environments Course has an almost impossible task. Here is their effort to prove that connectivism is a learning theory. Connectivism has a direct impact on education and teaching as it works as a learning theory. They sat in desks, read from a textbook, and completed worksheets. Gibson.
JOHN HAGEL

APRIL 24, 2014

Personal Narratives: Insight and Impact

‘We all have a personal narrative, even though few of us have made the effort to articulate it.   That’s a shame because our personal narrative can be a source of deep insight as well as a great way to amplify impact. Done right, they can be a powerful weapon in helping us to escape from the dark side of technology. What can I accomplish?
EUEN SEMPLE

APRIL 15, 2014

Feeling trapped

‘I often worry about coming across as a smart arse, sniping at organisational life from the sidelines. It”s easy for me, I work for myself. have a degree of agency that many would envy. But I remember. remember the creeping feeling that something”s not right but that you can”t do anything to make things better. Then I read. still do.
IRVING WLADAWSKY-BERGER

APRIL 2, 2014

Innovation Hubs in the Global Digital Economy

a paper by UC Berkeley professor John Zysman.  It creates opportunities and challenges.”  . Others have tried to become the Next Silicon Valley.
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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.
JANE HART

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 [.].
GEORGE SIEMENS

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.
ADAPTIVE PATH

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.
HAROLD JARCHE

JANUARY 27, 2013

PKM in 2013

“The basic unit of social business technology is personal knowledge management, not collaborative workspaces.” ” Knowledge.
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Hard numbers on soft skills

Google is all about the numbers. Questioning the value of management, the Googlers founded Project Oxygen to investigate the characteristics of successful and less successful managers.

Employee surveys and performance reviews pinpointed eight key behaviors of the company’s most effective managers.

A good manager:

1. Is a good coach
2. Empowers the team and does not micromanage (See the sidebar “How Google Defines One Key Behavior”)
3. Expresses interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being
4. Is productive and results-oriented
5. Is a good communicator—listens and shares information
6. Helps with career development
7. Has a clear vision and strategy for the team
8. Has key technical skills that help him or her advise the team

Now each manager receives specific feedback on items such as:

“My manager has frequent 1:1’s.”

“My manager provides difficult feedback constructively.”

“My managers helps me understand how my work impacts the organization.”

Managers’ scores have been rising across the organization.

For more information, see David Garvin’s HBR article How Google Sold Its Engineers on Management

What’s hot in Working Smarter in October

HAROLD JARCHE

OCTOBER 29, 2013

PKM in 34 pieces

Much of my work on PKM has been inspired by others. have put these pieces together into a framework that I think makes sense and may be of some use.
ADAPTIVE PATH

OCTOBER 25, 2013

Five Ways People Adopt And Love Change

‘Oh dear Lord. The new experience. You’ve spent months redesigning it and now you’re in the homestretch. ” What a shocker. link].
JANE HART

OCTOBER 26, 2013

Connected Learning in the Workplace: the next generation of learning practices

‘A recent article in Wired Magazine, Collaboration and Conversation:
STEPHEN DOWNES: HALF AN HOUR

OCTOBER 23, 2013

A Few Words on ePortfolios

good example of such a system is the Desire2Learn ePortfolio system. On the one hand, the portfolio may focus predominately on learning and reflection.
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Learning out loud

workscapeGo ahead. Peak into my brain. New thoughts are percolating but the outcomes are still fuzzy.

I’m soundly convinced that Learning Platforms are crowding out Learning Programs. This is an inevitable part of moving from Stocks to Flows, from Push to Pull, from institutional control to personal freedom, and from rigid industrialism to flexible, more human work environments. Focus on improving the learning ecology rather than tackle one event at a time.

“Learning in advance” doesn’t work in a realtime world, so learning and work have converged. Learning is simply an aspect of getting the job done. Learning new things — sometimes by inventing them — is an obligation of corporate citizens. Most of this learning takes place in the workplace. The learning platform is the organization itself, not some separate entity.

I call these learning aspects of an organization its Workscape. A Workscape is a metaphorical space. The Workscape can include the water cooler, the Friday beer bust, the conversation nook at the office, wi-fi in the cafeteria, the enterprise culture, in-house communications, access to information, cultural norms around sharing and disclosure, tolerance for nonconformity, risk aversion, organizational structure, worker autonomy, and virtually any aspect of the company that can be tweaked to enable people to Work Smarter.

This afternoon I’ve been trying to come up with next practices for Workscapes in general. What are the design principles for optimal workscapes? What aspects of good learning should migrate into the Workscape. A starter list:

  • All learning is self-directed. Give people the freedom to chart their own course. “I like to learn but I hate to be taught.” Set high expectations and people live up to them. Help people make sense of and prosper in the world and the workplace.
  • Conversations are the stem-cells of learning. Foster open, frequent, frank conversation both virtually and in person. 
  • Experiential learning is magic. People learn by doing. Encourage experimentation. Insure that managers and mentors understand the impact of “stretch assignments.” JDI. Broadcast opportunities and projects. 
  • Teach people the least they need know to tackle things on their own. 
  • Make it drop-dead simple to access people in the know, the lessons of experience, how-to information, and performance support.
  • Learning is social. Encourage participation in communities. Narrate your work and share with others. Communities and guilds create knowledge as well as consume it. 
  • We want what we want, no more. Whenever possible, provide choices. Give me the pieces to create personalized learning experiences. 
  • Learning is for everyone, not just novices and up-and-comers. You can’t expect to prosper without it. Make sure everyone’s covered.
  • Learning takes reinforcement in order to stick. Seek feedback. Blog, tweet, and otherwise share your reflections. Revisiting what you learn fixes it in memory.
  • Innovation is born of mashing up concepts from different disciplines. Encourage looking outside the box.
  • Provide feeds for what’s going on in the team, the department, the company, the industry, and technical disciplines.
  • People confuse learning with schooling. Build lessons on learning how to learn into the Workscape itself.

I’ll keep building the list but I’m hungry for more. I don’t want to get caught thinking small. What other aspects of sustaining the organization should be here?

Most of the value of organizations derives from Social Capital. (See my post Measure what’s important.) Were you able to deconstruct an organization into molecules of social capital, you’d have:

  • human capital – the know-how of the workforce
  • relationship captal – your reputation and ways of working with customers and partners
  • structural capital – processes, systems, and secret sauce

social capital

Thus far, my list deals with only human capital. Help me think through the role of the Workscape in leveraging relationship capital and structural capital as well.