Friday, February 27, 2009

In the unlikely event of a water landing

Returning from DC and see two dudes wearing flip flops on the the plane. Temperature at the time of departure was around freezing. Anyone remember US Airways 1549?

Wear practical shoes when traveling.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Obama squeals

Visiting DC and spent 5+ hours in The Museum of American History. The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden explores the role of the president and commander in chief, manager of the economy, chief communicator through a selection of presidential artifacts. Of course there's a chronological illustration of presidential portraits and photographs. Several young kids, toddlers, squealed upon seeing the new photograph of President Obama. This happened multiple times across diverse children. At least they know their president and brought a smile.

Another thought: my guess is that Obama's name is easy and fun for kids to say.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Self directed versus social learning

What's the best description? What works best in your organization? Would the term self directed be more supported in corporations?

Elliott Maise's Facebook experiment

Over 1,000 members of Learning Town in the Facebook group and tiny, tiny participation in the discussions. Hmmm? Slow adopters? Lurkers?

Are you and industry-valued asset?

Alexandra Rampy in SOCIALBUTTERFLY, posed this thought,
don’t be an expert. Instead, become an industry-valued asset. The difference? One works for himself and his own knowledge base, the other, wants to be valuable and enjoys collaborative efforts.
Who'd want to be called an expert nowadays? If we believe Malcolm Gladwell and others, expertise (broadly defined) takes 10,000 hours to mastery. By the time you are "expert," the knowledge base has probably shifted. Experts are routinely disparaged by pundits, politicians and loud mouths. I want help from the person who is a collaborator, one who will delve into research, readily help to solve the problem and be that helpful role model. I want to be an industry-valued asset.

h/t Brazen Careerist

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Give it a second, it's going to space

Step back and the world is amazing according to comedian Louis C.K. on Conan.

Watch more SpikedHumor videos on AOL Video

Who remembers party phone lines? When did we become so inpatient?
h/t to Tom Anderson

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Unemployment greater security threat than terrorism?

A NPR story caught my ear this morning According to National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair's report,
The global economic downturn could easily change the world. Previously stable countries could become unstable. The geopolitical lineup could shift sharply, some countries becoming more powerful while others get weaker. Allies could turn into adversaries.
With tens of millions unemployed, mitigation of this risk or even intervention would certainly require approaches that counter a free market/free trade philosophy; e.g., perhaps "socialistic" and trade protectionism approaches. Policy makers must broaden their thinking outside of narrow frameworks. This will be an interesting debate for interesting times.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lame Joke = Social Outcast

Dish out a bad one and expect derision, harsh remarks and perhaps a blow. According to Washington State University Applied Linguist and Assistant Professor Nancy Bell in research on failed humor,
“The predominant verbal reaction to failed humor in our study was oriented exclusively toward attacking the speaker,” Bell said. “These were basically attacks intended to result in the social exclusion or humiliation of the speaker – punctuated on occasion with profanity, a nasty glare or even a solid punch to the arm.”
This behavior was noted by those that knew the errant jokester well,
Bell said it’s essentially because – unlike people you work with or know only casually – family and close friends know they’re the ones who are stuck with you.
So those that facilitate multi-day courses beware; familiarity may bring contempt and workplace violence. To test try this on the last day of a long course: There were two peanuts walking down the street, and one was assaulted! I'm here to help.

H/T: Improbable Research

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Drinking from the firehose

Spent the past three days in a certification prep course. This course used accelerated learning principles, content chunking and frequent quizzing starting with a pre-test and culminating in a simulated certification exam. My confidence is higher and the study plan leading up to the exam date makes sense. Although pricier than other options, this provider has a good reputation from those in my network and the facilitator was excellent.

As with most certifications, you have to erase reality and think from the pure world of the certifying organization. I'll update as I move through the study phase into exam phase.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shout out to Georgia companies in Training Top 125

Congratulations to those with home operations in Georgia for recognition within Training Magazine's Training Top 125. Those organizations are:
9. Mohawk Industries, Inc.
27. Scientific Atlanta, a Cisco Company
35. Aflac Incorporated
48. Warner Robins Air Logistics Center Centralized Training and Professional Development Division
49. Gables Residential
70. UPS
74. Shaw Industries, Inc.
83. Orkin, Inc.
88. U.S. Security Associates, Inc.
92. Cox Communications
I'll update if I've missed a GA company. In a former life, I compiled the application for what was the Training Top 50 then Top 100. These applications require a tremendous effort however the data is useful in improving the learning function. Here's where you find the list. Weird that they posted it as a word document.

UPDATE 14 FEB (and sign of the times) You have to buy the chart of winners. In past years you could download. Next week 16-20 FEB, will highlight a Top 5 winner each day, They are:
1. PricewaterhouseCoopers
3. SCC Soft Computer
4. EMC Corporation
5. Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

Monday, February 9, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Learner-focused learning! Elliott Maise

Listened to the CLO webinar with Elliott Maisie yesterday. Our learning systems focus on organizational needs but not the needs of the learner. Elliott was arguing that our learning systems should foster learner engagement, curiosity, social learning and user content/context; e.g., be learner centric. By user content, he proposes that learners can add content to courses as they apply what they learn. Learners should be able to sequence content to meet their needs. Users should be able to go off path and explore the learning concept in practice.

So far I am in agreement although reflecting back in the trenches on how one could implement. Would you want user generated content in business compliance courses: sexual harassment, workplace violence, diversity? Suspect the lawyers would answer NO. I see user generated content content useful in the business skills content including management and leadership.

Elliott cited the use of rogue learning systems in a top company created by the learners to meet a need in certification. This "rogue" system consisted of Google, instant messenger and a bulletin board hosted outside the firewall. My concern with rogue learning systems is integrating that data into talent management. How can you find that talent for projects or product development if they're not in a system? I suspect that performance and talent management (human capital management) is still a work in progress in most organizations and reliant on carbon-based databases as to where the talent is within the organization. Thoughts for another posting.

I did like his concept of "drip" learning, thin intravenous learning, one drip at a time. Elliott asked, who would get a MBA through the "drip" method over seven years?

Anyone out there with rogue learning systems?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Creepy Ads

What's with the creepy eyes for Geico and the green dead guys for the tax software? And Jason's back. Looking forward to the next two Friday 13th. Check your calendars.

Links - Career + Branding

From Tom Peters blog- The Business Case for Giving Away Your Best Work for FREE! Raj Setty: A great list and all these ideas resonate. Providing free "good" stuff should reap benefits in reach, relationships and reputation.

How To Get A Job By Being Nice Rafael J. Hernandez: The importance of thank you notes even when you've laid off. Other tips from an ASTD Atlanta program on marketing during the lean times. Get out there and build your brand (per Tom Peters Brand You 50), network and build relationships, "don't push cards."

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Meet my son Machiavelli Rasputin Darth Cheney

Unpopular names and crime, root cause? Nope. However unpopular names are correlated with factors that tend towards delinquency, primarily socioeconomic. More fodder to Ann Coulter and that ilk to oversimplify, stereotype and whomp up those that only see the world as black or white.

This is a bad sign

Layoff Tracker This blog dates back to October 2008 with 345 entries for 2008 and 188 to date. From the Evil HR Lady blog.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

RETRACTION - That's what I like about the South

Wait a couple of days and it's 27° with a stout wind. At least we have power.
UPDATE - wind advisory, gusts up to 35 mph!
UPDATE 2 - 14.9° at Ice Station Marginally Competent. Big dent in the bug population. 6:05 AM 4 FEB 2009.

Monday, February 2, 2009

TK 09 Virtual Experience

In participating in the ASTD TKo9 Virtual conference, there were two "channels" to experience a subset of the sessions. Virtual TK participants voted for ten sessions to be videotaped. Both keynotes (David Pogue and Tony Karrer) were taped along with sessions covering virtual worlds; ROI; authoring tools future focus; social networking; implementing "readiness;" creative training techniques for webinars; expediting development/deployment of elearning and facilitation skills for E-trainers. 26 eWebEx sessions were presented live as a shoter version of the actual session as well as five vendor spotlights. Anthony Allen provided an orientation to the conference and WebEx environment and three archived sessions by the TK Program Advisory committee as background/marketing.

I found the live webinars the most satisfying and best learning experience. Here you were engaged though chat for feedback, quizzes and serious/silly questions. One presenter actually called upon us for questions. A few presenters called on up to come to the blackboard and indicate a preference or vote. Best live seasons for me ( in no particular order):
  • Lance Dublin - Keys to Successful E-Learning Implementation.Lance stresses the importance of marketing elearning internally; think consumer-style marketing. He introduced I3 Change Implementation planning tool: Inform, Involve, Integrate.
  • Jared Palmer - Open-Source Applications for Designer-Developed E-Learning. Great collection of OS tools. I'm playing two new apps GIMP and myUdutu.
  • Georgianna Marie - Virtual Classroom Instruction: Strategies for Keeping Learners Engaged. Here I was called on from Las Vegas, great application of face to face techniques within the VC. Tip: assign learners into groups ahead of time.
  • Darlene Christopher - Facilitating Virtual Events: Success Factors from the World Bank Group. Great session with practical tips for those presenting to global learners. Extra benefit, I found her blog: Web Conferencing.
  • Will Thalheimer - Measuring Learning TK Results: Research Insights for Better Evaluation Designs. Will proposed that we leverage evaluation to support learning, to prove value to the organization and to improve design.
  • Peggy Page - Zero to 60: Launching E-Learning, a case study in launching elearning within a bank.
  • Andrew Jefferson - Learning Transfer: How to Fix the Weakest Link in E-Learning. Andrew discussed the 6Ds - Define, Design, Deliver, Drive, deploy and Document and provided a learning transfer scorecard.
The taped sessions we're not so satisfying. Very passive and camera is locked in a wide shot. The Sonicfoundary Mediasite application provides a small window of the presenter and slides or desktop. You can arrange either window to what suits you. Taping works for keynotes since that's a show. However for other sessions, not so much. Audio with a panel discussion was awfully low requiring the listener to crank it up to 11. Audience questions and comments are unintelligible. Group activities in the room provide the atmosphere of waiting for the press announcement on cable news.

Taped sessions that worked for me were:
  • Patti Phillips - Measuring ROI in E-Learning
  • Frank Nguyen - Five Things Your Authoring Tool Will Do by 2013
  • Brent Schlenker - Social Networking: From Organizational Chart to Circle of Influence
  • Jean Barbazette - Facilitation Skills for E-Trainers
  • the two keynotes
One session on virtual worlds was plagued by presenter PC issues that chewed up a significant amount of time; Vista 1, learners null.

The archived WebEx sessions only provided the slides and presenter's audio. We lost the richness as well as context of the chats when referenced by the presenter.

All in all, great effort by ASTD in this inaugural attempt. Great value too at $199 for ASTD members. Only a few technical glitches in the WebEx using VOIP. A couple of speaker's sessions cancelled and we're not back filled. This also happens in the real world. I made new connections via the LinkedIn site. And I didn't have the expense, along with the noise and smoke, of visiting Las Vegas. I'll do this again.

Annoyances - speakers that proclaim their handouts/slides are on the website. Less than 50% have their material posted on the conference site. ASTD should require all presenters to make their materials available at least in draft form.

My tip: In attending webinars and in note taking, I do screen captures to aid in compiling session notes. Jing is a great tool for this purpose. Rember, this is streamed content and will not have the highest resolution. Once compiled, I trash the slides to save HDD space.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

That's what I like about the South

The Marginally Competent weather station reported 30° this morning.

At 2 PM EST, 65° and bike riding time. Survived January.