November 2012

Yesterday a colleague was discussing one of my posts (thanks for reading Bob) and I told him that part of my reason for posting what I did was to clear shortcuts off my desktop.  Like most people I get email digests on articles that might be interesting to me.  As a way to manage my inbox I skim articles that may be interesting/useful and create a shortcut on my desktop for the ones I want to read later.  In other words, I am taking clutter out of my inbox and moving it to my desktop.  It ain’t perfect but it works.

My colleague, Bob, tried to explain a way I could use functionality in Google Chrome (or was it Firefox?) to manage these shortcuts without clogging my desktop.  I don’t think it was bookmarks but honestly I can’t remember (sorry Bob).

This brings me to my point.  The best advice, recommendation, insight, tip, etc is worthless if the person is not in the right frame of mind to process it and incorporate it into their routine, skill set, knowledge base, etc.  This is one of my chief complaints about event-based training.  If the only opportunity a person has to learn something is during a live, face-to-face event it is likely the learner will miss out on some valuable information.

Why does this happen?  Here are some reasons that come to mind quickly.

  • People are overwhelmed with all the new information
  • People don’t have the experience/pre-requisite knowledge to understand what is being taught
  • Distractions (This was the case in my example above)
  • Instructional strategies that don’t match the content or learning preferences of the audience

Providing handouts helps but it still puts a lot of responsibility on the learner.  They have to take good notes, which isn’t always easy or accurate.  The learner also have to take the initiative to go back to them when they need an answer.

Providing digital resources can also extend the learning and compliment the materials provided in class.  Its also helpful to encourage networking in class and support it beyond the event itself.

If this is true for training imagine what its like at a person’s desk with all the distractions there.


Below is an infographic that provides valuable information for anyone interested in what it takes to develop effective eLearning.  I love that the word effective is included and emphasized.  ELearning can be developed in less time but that does not mean it will be instructionally sound, engaging, and look like it was prepared by a professional.

When I worked in eLearning development I was part PM, ID, and eLearning developer.  That is too much for one person Based on this experience I think this is pretty accurate.  Of course each project is unique but this is a good estimate of what it takes, who does the work, and how the responsibilities should be distributed.

What Does It Take To Create Effective e-Learning - Infographic

Leanforward – an eLearning Company

A water cooler has long been a metaphor for where you get the real scoop of what is going on around an office.  With the growth of social technologies, the water cooler has been digitized.  Savvy employees know where to find an answer when they need it.  The problem is that not everyone is digitally savvy.

What can an organization do to overcome this obstacle?  Below are some tips.

  • Encourage your employees to be entrepreneurial learners not enterprise learners.  Entrepreneurial learners are able to navigate “the ever-moving flows of activities and knowledge, ‘because in this new world of flows, participating in these knowledge flows is an active sport.’ Furthermore, in this new world of constant flux “learning has as much to do with  creating the new as learning the old’.”
    “[E]nterprise learners” simply follow the course that has been set for them.”
  • Be an information DJ.  “Buzz happens because we’re “information DJs”: we take in information and enjoy it but at the same time we also think about whom else might like it as well. With our social media and other technology, often this effect is intensified. As we share it, we often get rewarded for this behavior because if we’ve shared information on say, Facebook or Twitter, our status is elevated — something most of us like. The seed to a meme begins with our mentalizing about others we know, preparing us to direct information to the right people and in such a way to tap into their intrinsic interests.”
  • Develop a system for storing, cataloging, and retrieving information (e.g., an LMS or LCMS).
  • Reward the employees who contribute actively to the LMS and who share their skills and knowledge. (H/T Topyx)