10 Not-to-be-missed posts from January 2015

calendar-151591_640 (1)Here is my selection of the must-read posts from January 2015 – with a quote providing a taster of each. I have chosen these resources from over 50 links I shared on Twitter last month. You can see the full list here. If you are not on Twitter you can subscribe here to get email notifications of the links I share.

1 – Context is King: Why Today’s MOOCs Don’t Meet Corporate Needs, Alan Todd & George Siemens, Wired, 14 January

“To foster not only the content knowledge of employees, but also the social skills they require to succeed, businesses cannot rely on either lecture-format courses or their digital cousin, the MOOC. We need to return to the MOOC as originally envisioned: social learning. Best-in-class corporate education creates a place where colleagues can connect, form networks, and share ideas. It is increasingly important to engage learners socially, because they stand to learn as much from each other as from formal instruction.”

2 – The Social Company Is Already With Us, Enrique Dans, Forbes, 15 January

“Increasingly, instead of blocking access to the social networks on company computers, fortunately now something of a rarity, more and more firms have come to see the social networks as a part of daily life, and their use by employees as a way of reflecting how in step with the times the company is: after all, if the social networks are part of the company’s communication strategy, it is somewhat incongruent if the same company doesn’t allow its employees to use them.”

3 – The mass attention deficit era: what businesses can learn from schools, Ben Muzzell, Guardian, 16 January

“Cutting-edge schools are teaching the next generation in short bursts and putting tech at the heart of the classroom. Businesses that fail to emulate them will struggle to retain employees.”

4 – Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others, Gray Matter, New York Times, 16 January

“… teams with more women outperformed teams with more men. Indeed, it appeared that it was not “diversity” (having equal numbers of men and women) that mattered for a team’s intelligence, but simply having more women. This last effect, however, was partly explained by the fact that women, on average, were better at “mindreading” than men.”

5 – Social Learning Has Never Been About a Single Tool, Nick Leffler, 20 January

“Social learning will only grow, and L&D will have to catch up the further it falls behind. Weaving social learning into eLearning was only the first attempt of L&D mainstream to deal with social learning that inevitably happens. L&D has the unfortunate craving to control the experience and make everything pass through their gates. L&D will fail at controlling, just as IT has failed at controlling. People are going to learn socially just as they are going to bring their own IT equipment to the office. It’s up to L&D to figure how to work WITH social learning and empower people to use it even more effectively to learn, not fight it and control it and make it go through their gates.”

6 – 70:20:10 – Above All Else It’s a Change Agent, Charles Jennings, 20 January

“Although many L&D departments are reaching out to new media and new approaches to support daily development activities – with incorporating social learning into courses, launching MOOCs, adding gamification, using mobile and other communication and delivery channels in the vanguard – many of these are still being implemented within the traditional L&D structured learning framework. That framework and mindset is essentially about command and control – ‘we design and deliver the packages, the ‘learners’ learn, we metricise and report’.

This traditional approach lacks flexibility and is based on assumptions that may have been valid in 18th century Prussia when the concept of a curriculum arose, but is not fit-for-purpose in our fast-evolving 21st century world. 70:20:10 thinking and action helps overcome this ‘course and curriculum mindset’. A 70:20:10 L&D strategy is a good starting point for this change process.”

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 09.51.037 – Developing a learning culture infographic, Stephen Gill, 21 January

Top part of the infographic is shown on the right, follow the link to see the full graphic.

8 – 4 social trends affecting the dynamics of learning in the workplace, Avi Singer, Mashable 24 January

“The up-and-coming generation is often described as “collaborators,” in contrast to generations before, which Kenan-Flagler refers to as the “cowboys.” Cowboys value working individually and a command-and-control approach to management. Collaborators, on the other hand, have grown up alongside the Internet and all of its connective benefits. They are used to the thoughts and opinions of others. Collaboration in the workplace comes more naturally to them. When it comes to learning, they’d rather not silo up and go at it alone. They want to crowdsource tips and advice from their peers. Social communication tools will lead to the downfall of hierarchical barriers and department silos within an organization.”

9 – L&D outside the box, Harold Jarche, 29 January

“Our workplaces are becoming highly networked. The transmission of ideas can be instantaneous. There is no time to pause, go into the back room, and then develop something to address our learning needs. The problem will have changed by then. We need to learn as we work. In an era of exploding knowledge in all fields of science and technology, taking care of business should mean taking care of learning.”

10 – 7 tests that expose Blended Learning as actually Blended ‘Teaching’, Donald Clark, 31 January

“A cheap cocktail is worse than no cocktail. So it is with many blended learning courses. They try, but it’s all very limp as the tendency is to include too many things, especially old ingredients, rather than working out a blend that is sound in terms of learning theory, resources and and costs. ‘Blended Learning’ is so often just ‘Blended Teaching’, a half-hearted attempt to retain a mixture of classroom and online. It’s Velcro learning, slamming just a few of things together to satisfy a need to hold on to some of the old and look as though you’ve embraced some of the new. A poor singer doesn’t sound any better when in a duet.”

Some of my own posts from January