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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Would you recommend your L&D department?

Capturing L&D metrics too often entails asking the wrong people the wrong questions at the wrong time.

Line leaders are a CLO’s most important customers. They judge the trade-offs in spending that determine L&D’s fate in the budget process. They base their decisions on what training professionals call Level 4: Did the training impact the bottom line? Did it matter?

By and large, line leaders are not happy with L&D’s performance.

A survey of thousands of line leaders found that 77% were dissatisfied with the results of L&D. A mere 24% agreed that L&D was critical to business outcomes. Only 15% thought L&D effective at influencing talent strategy. 14% would recommend working with L&D; 52% would not; 34% were passive. (Statistics from 2011 Corporate Leadership Council, L&D Team Capabilities Survey)

If a line of business reported such shoddy scores, red flags would arise and heads would roll. A corporate SWAT team would tear into the problem. Was L&D operating this poorly or had it earned an undeservedly bad reputation? How can we put this train back on the track?

The way to succeed with line leaders is to involve them in the governance process. Acknowledge that they are L&D’s customers. Gain their support by planning with them. Monitor trends in their assessments of L&D. Use their feedback to make improvements.

What’s the appropriate yardstick for measuring the confidence and loyalty of line leader customers? I propose that CLOs adopt the Net Promoter Score® methodology developed by Fred Reichheld at Bain & Company and Satmatrix.

The Net Promoter Score® measures loyalty based on one question, “How likely are you to recommend our service to friends and colleagues?” Scoring is from 0 (Not likely at all) to 10 (Extremely likely). A open-ended question often follows to provide guidance for corrective action.

Here’s how it works: Survey your customers. Calculate the percentage of detractors (scores 0-6) and the percentage of promoters (scores 9-10). Your Net Promoter Score is the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors. Passives (scores 7-8) don’t count in the equation.

In a variety of industries, Net Promoter Score correlate directly with differences in growth rates among competitors. (Fred Reichheld, The One Number You Need to Grow, Harvard Business Review, December 2003).

Customer loyalty increases profitability. It’s less costly to keep a customer than to acquire a new one. Loyal customers who talk up a company lower the expense of gaining new customers. If you’re like me, when a company exceeds your expectations, you’re much more likely to come back.

Reichheld and his peers tracked more than 10,000 Net Promoter Scores at 400 companies. This one simply number explained the growth rates in industries as different as airlines, internet service provides, and car rental companies.

Now that we’ve determined who to ask (line leaders) and what to ask them (“Would you recommend…?), let’s turn to when to ask them.

My Internet service provider asks if I would recommend their service at the conclusion of every support call. Many online merchants ask the question immediately after taking an order. Airlines distribute questionnaires to people in flight.

CLOs should wait six months before asking the question. Unlike a product that will be delivered in two business days, it takes a while for lessons to sink in and/or to disappear due to the Forgetting Curve.

You may be wondering why Net Promoter Score hasn’t taken the world by storm. Reichheld thinks that maybe market research firms can’t find a way to make money administering something so simple.

Simplicity is the hallmark of the Net Promoter Score, so much so that it represents a phase change in how we regard metrics. Instead of being buried in quarterly reports read by few, the Net Promoter Score can become a management tool.

The prime directive of any organization is to create customers. The Net Promoter Score shows how the organization is doing in terms all managers and workers can understand. The score points to relationships that need improvement. Practitioners actively intervene to convert detractors into promoters. Insiders call this “closing the loop.” Some companies factor it into the calculation of incentive compensation.

As Reichheld says, “The path to sustainable, profitable growth begins with creating more promoters and fewer detractors and making your net-promoter number transparent throughout your organization. This number is the one number you need to grow. It’s that simple and that profound.”

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This column appears in the April 2014 issue of Chief Learning Officer.

February 2014: Creation Spaces

 

John Hagel tells us that “Answers can be helpful but they only have a fixed value. And answers, no matter how good they are, tend to become obsolete at an accelerating rate.  As conditions evolve, those answers that only a little while ago seemed so compelling and helpful now begin to seem stale and worn.”

Instead of answers, “… questions do something else that’s absolutely vital for influence – they rapidly build trust with the person posing the questions. The person posing these kinds of questions has just done something very important – s/he has expressed vulnerability.  S/he has acknowledged there’s something really important that s/he doesn’t know and needs help to solve.”

The most powerful networks would take the form of creation spaces that support the formation of tightly knit teams and then connect these teams in a broader space where they can seek out help from each other.

My colleague Charles Jennings says that to support learning effectively and engender behaviour change,  we need to create environments where emotional responsesrich experiences and social learning are at the forefront. These are prerequisites for Hagel’s creation spaces (and my own workscapes.)

In a series of articles, Jane Hart describes learning flows. A Learning Flow is a continuous steady stream of social micro-learning activities – accessible from the web and mobile devices. This is an important step beyond the course. Learning flows are another arrow in the workscape quill.

These are the top articles that passed through my screen this month.

 

JOHN HAGEL

FEBRUARY 24, 2014

The Big Shift in Influence

‘Influence is becoming more and more challenging.   It’s hard enough to attract attention, much less retain it or use that attention to shape the behavior of others. And yet, in a world of scarce resources and mounting pressure, the ability to influence others becomes more and more central to the ability to set big things in motion.

STEPHEN DOWNES: HALF AN HOUR

FEBRUARY 1, 2014

Theories Related to Connectivism

‘I was asked: But i have some questions about my research. First i need ten-year findings of connectionim learning theory, second i got confused with telling the difference between connectionism, connectivist because some Chinese translators/scholars have had their own versions.The version raises argumentation. Here is my own take on it.

EUEN SEMPLE

FEBRUARY 6, 2014

Case study porn

‘A while back I tweeted “Stop reading case study porn and get on with it”. Even all those years ago when we were getting started at the BBC there was a pressure to justify what we were doing with examples from other organisations. Best practice” is a dodgy idea that is increasingly discredited. It is so easy to get stuck in analysis paralysis.

CHARLES JENNINGS

FEBRUARY 3, 2014

Learning is Behaviour Change: why is it often so hard to help it happen?

If you didn”t, your time would end soon — a lot sooner than it had to. Could you change when change really mattered? When it mattered most?”
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Want Results? Champion the Informal

First published in Chief Learning Officer magazine, February 2013

cloFormal gets all the money, but today more learning happens outside the classroom

Learning is more important than ever. We have an information explosion. The world is becoming more complex. We have to learn more just to keep living our lives. That doesn’t mean we need training departments — and that’s where the budgets are cut.

We need to pay more attention to experiential learning, We need to look at peer-to-peer learning. A lot of the courses out there are absolute crap. If you look at behavior on the job, you’d be lucky if you find 15% of the results of courses.

So get rid of lots of the structure, which by the way mimics school and that’s not a good model for learning. Look at ways people can really accelerate their learning — by having managers who encourage people by setting stretch goals and by encouraging individual initiative. It’s important to have a lot more of these.

And I have to comment on eLearning. eLearning covers all manner of sins. There’s great stuff out there and you can take part in in at 2:00 am if you want. But there’s also some absolute garbage shovel-ware that nobody should have to endure. All it is is “e” — electronic, and that’s not enough for quality.

I first heard about informal learning was at a conference in Orlando, Florida, a dozen years ago. Peter Henschel from the Institute on Learning described how sent anthropologists to an insurance company to investigate how people learned their jobs. The scientists discovered than over 80% of the way people learned their jobs was informal. There was no control. It was, “Hey, I’m going to watch you. You’re good at this. I’m going to mimic your behavior.” Or I try something, make a mistake, and say “Whoops, I’m not going to do that again.” Maybe I’m going to read something at night on my own.

Most of this doesn’t happen in training classes. Research in Canada, in Massachusetts, and a number of other places, usually with government funding, found generally 80% of the way people learn their jobs is informally.

When I say informal, I mean that the person who is learning is in control of the learning. They are choosing the learning experience they want to get into. Maybe the boss said, “It would be good for you to speak French; I’m sending you on an assignment in France.” It’s a lot different from a top-down structure.

That’s what got me into informal learning but what got me writing about it, because deep down I’m a business guy at heart, is that all the money was going into the formal training and almost all of the learning was going on in the informal side. This mismatch didn’t set right with my soul.

The explanation for the anomaly is that often training departments work only with novices, and training novices takes a sort of school focus. You have an empty vessel and you try to fill it. Training departments seem to overlook employees who are further along in their profession, figuring “they’re not going to go for it.”

CLOs tell me the stuff that keeps them awake at night is that now the realization that learning is social, mobile, and collaborative. Learning happens in social networks. It happens in the course of work. This is brand new turf for the profession. They have scant experience with it.

As for metrics, the appropriate metrics for learning are “Are they doing the job better?” The intermediate part, I don’t care about. The fiction that’s been going around since the fifties, that you have four tiers — how happy are they, can they repeat it back, can they actually do anything, and did it doing anything for the business — I say to hell with the first three. All that matters is whether it did anything for the business.

The person who makes a difference in metrics is the person who has checkbook power. If that person is convinced that the workers did this and they’re performing better as a result, I’ll buy it. It’s never going to be 3-point accuracy. It’s like in marketing, where we can’t tell which part of the advertising leads to sales. We’re never going to be very precise, but if we’re believed, that’s all it takes to get the budget and make things happen.

 

Quicktime vs YouTube vs ?

Here’s a shot from a Quicktime video on my desktop:

quicktimeHere’s the same scene from a video uploaded to YouTube.youtube

YouTube roughs up the video.

I’m going to need another place to post videos. Anyone got a suggestion?

Getting To Yes!

I’ve resolved to get better at taking video and I plan to share my journey online. I’m going to produce several book reviews as practice. Expect #bloopers.

Video notes:

I shot this several months ago with a four-year old $900 Canon HF10 videocam. The camera has crapped out: left sound monitoring is laden with static. Only records the left channel. It’s also a pain to thrash through the settings. I’ve posted this for comparison to video from my new camera.

nikon

For Christmas, I gave myself a Nikon D5200 DSLR for $500. Now I’m learning how to use it to capture video vignettes.

I need some guinea pigs to practice on. Perhaps yourself if you want to drop by my studio in Berkeley. I can also make local house calls for a shoot.