Archive for category SLPP

CCA's 70 20 10 Learning Solution for Equipment Operation

Below is an infographic illustrating our journey at Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) in the development of the Blow Fill learning solution.  The program uses the 70:20:10 framework which allowed us to successfully integrate a formal training program with on-the-job work experience.  This info graphic was developed by Justine Jardine and Becky Peters.

SCTA 70 20 10 Experience JPEG for Web

 

 

 

 

 

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Becoming A Social Learning Practitioner

SLH cover image“A Social Learning Practitioner is a learning professional who encourages, enables and supports knowledge sharing across their organisation.  He / she is a role model, showing the business what it is to be social, and modelling the new knowledge sharing and collaboration practices.” Jane Hart, Social Learning Handbook 2014

I recently wrote an article for the Training & Development magazine describing some of the activities I have been undertaking as part of the Social Learning Practitioner Programme (SLPP).  You can access the article online here to read about my experiences and why I recommend this program for anyone wanting to use social learning to transform their own professional development or build practices within their business.

To find out more about the SLPP visit http://modernworkplacelearning.com/activities/social-learning-practitioner-programme/

This article originally appeared in Training & Development magazine August 2014 Vol 41 No 4, published by the Australian Institute of Training and Development.

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Working Out Loud 3 Habits Experiment

ozlearnInspired by a recent #Ozlearn Twitter chat on ‘The Value of Working Out Loud‘ (WOL), I’ve tried a one week ‘3 Habits’ WOL experiment in my organisation’s Enterprise Social Network (ESN).  For anyone unfamiliar with the term WOL, refer to my post from 14 August for a brief introduction.

I’ve been working out loud through my blog, membership of online communities on the internet, and via Twitter for just under six months – and it’s significantly altered my personal approach to professional development.  The benefits that I’ve experienced include:

  • a stronger, more diverse network
  • accelerated, fluid ongoing professional development
  • an understanding of trends and practices relevant to my work
  • quicker, better quality problem solving
  • improved working processes
  • better ability to support others through knowledge and resource sharing
  • a sense of connection to others

As an organisational L&D practitioner, the next step for me is to seek to introduce WOL in  my business uni to promote collaboration and cooperation, in ways that strongly align to our business strategy.  Of course, generating business value from an ESN is a long term game that warrants many separate blog posts.

WOLMy focus in this post is on my ‘3 Habits’ WOL experiment.  SharePoint is our ESN.  It is primarily used for document storage and sharing.  Two of our senior managers blog weekly (this is good!) and the Sales team post an endless stream of photos of shop displays they have set up (the ‘Following only’ newsfeed view is a blessing).  Apart from this there is very limited use of SharePoint blogging or micro-blogging in an organisation with several thousand permanent employees.  My ESN posts over the past few months have been sporadic, falling well short of my intent to generate interest in WOL.  During the #Ozlearn chat Simon Terry suggested that people try using triggers to develop a habit of posting three times a day.  The triggers and habits I aimed to use were:

  • Trigger 1 – Morning Coffee.  Habit 1 – Post about something I’m working on.
  • Trigger 2 – Start of lunch break.  Habit 2 – Interact with others.
  • Trigger 3 – Shutting down my computer.  Habit 3 – Say thank you or acknowledge someone.

I also invited members of the L&D Community (a group of less than ten people) to join the WOL experiment, and encouraged others to post, ask questions or comment whenever I identified specific opportunities.

Here’s what happened during my experiment…

Day 1 – 19 August

8.10am – Habit 1

Day1Post1

 

 

Never received any replies….

8.13am – Habit 2 (yeah, not quite lunchtime – I was keen and took the opportunity when I saw it)

Day1Post2

 

 

Day1Post3

I did get a thanks from the person who posted the question.

 

4.35pm – Habit 3 – I thanked some people who had suggested additional training courses that their teams would find valuable.  Interestingly, it took me a while to figure out what and who to recognise.  This was the most challenging post of Day 1.

On Day 1 I also sent a link to Simon Terry’s 3 Habits article to members of our internal L&D Community, to inform a discussion on our role in supporting informal learning and communities of practice.  I suggested that as a group we try WOL for one month.

Day 2 – 20 August 

8.15am – Habit 1 – Here I talked about what I was doing and also why, taking the opportunity to suggest some of the things people can do on SharePoint.

Day2Post1b

 

 

 

12.45pm – Habit 2 – I answered another question about SharePoint use.  This is the topic that questions are most often posted about.  (Aside – we could be doing a better job with SharePoint training.)

4pm – Habit 3 – I thanked someone for conducting a skill assessment.  It was a lot easier to identify something to recognise today.

Day 3 – 21 August 

8.05am – Habit 1 – Shared a graphic listing things people can do on an ESN, which was shared during an #ESN Twitter Chat.  Perhaps this simple list might encourage others to try some things out on SharePoint.  (Diagram sourced from Stan Garfield.)

Day3Post1

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.10pm – Habit 2 – I noticed a response to a question I had posted three days previously requesting job aids or training material on how to use permissions in SharePoint.  I thanked the person who replied, and used the @mention function to share their response with specific individuals.

3.10pm – Habit 3 – While not strictly recognition, I posted a short support message against a suggestion from someone else to improve functionality for sharing a document from SharePoint.  I had encouraged this person to post earlier in the day, so wanted to provide the with positive reinforcement.

Day3Post3

 

 

On Day 3 the L&D Community’s fortnightly teleconference catchup was held.  I raised WOL as a practice which could help develop internal communities of practice (a goal in our Capability strategy), and asked the group to try the WOL experiment for two weeks.  I asked why people weren’t already posting on SharePoint (noting that this was the second time we have discussed the practice).  The first response was uncertainty about who sees posts, which impacts how much context the person felt they may need to provide in a post.  We discussed how Following and news feeds work.  The second response was “It just doesn’t occur to me.”  I thought this linked nicely to Simon’s 3 Habits suggestion, so referred the group to the article and discussed triggers and habits.  Teleconferences can be awkward to discuss even familiar topics, let alone a new behaviour which is outside of people’s comfort zones.  The group feels we already have a strong L&D Community, hence is unsure of what they see as the incremental benefits of WOL. At the end of the discussion I could see that I would need to provide ongoing encouragement to others to try it out.

Day 4 – 22 August

8.30am – Habit 1 – I posted about the group’s WOL experiment.

 10.52am – Habit 3 (OK, out of sequence, but a clear opportunity arose to recognise someone.) I congratulated a person who was found competent in a skill assessment on the previous day.  Shortly afterwards one of the L&D Community members protested that I had ‘taken her post’.  Note to self – before posting consider whether someone else might like to post on a specific item and pause to give them time to do so.

11am – Habit 2 – I liked a post from one of the L&D Community members.

Dy4Post1

 

 

 

Day 5 – 25 August

11.18am – Habit 2 – One of the L&D Community had posted about a new instructional design concept they had learned.  I replied with a question (which hasn’t been answered four days later).

12.27pm – Habit 1 – Posted about SharePoint site clean up.

2.35pm – Weekly Blog – I posted my weekly status update on learning initiatives in my business unit.  This is a key regular stakeholder communication.  I look forward to the day when I am confident that enough of these stakeholders are following the blog and looking at their SharePoint newsfeed to stop emailing them a link to it (sigh!).

2.40pm – Habit 2 – Someone in the HR team has posted a tip on using our Performance and talent Management tool.  I liked this post (literally).  Sharing tips is a great use case for an ESN.

Some Statistics

I follow 120 people on SharePoint, including all of the senior managers in my business unit.  I don’t follow any of the Sales team as their product display photos would overwhelm everything else in my feed.  Micro-posts remain on the newsfeed for one week.  In the past week there have been 44 posts in my ‘Following’ feed.  16 (35%) of these are mine.  14 others posted in this time – 11% of the people I follow.  Of these, five are people I encouraged to post.

Observations and What Next

The triggers worked well for me to get into the flow of regular posts and coin a variety of things in my posts.  While I am wary of ‘dominating’ the SharePoint feed given relatively low number of active users, I’m shall continue posting three times a day.  I feel that it’s my responsibility to role model WOL given my L&D role and the value of the practice to continuous learning.  We have barely scratched the surface of the business value to be gained using SharePoint.

Of the three habits, number 3 (recognising and acknowledging others) was the least ‘natural’ to me  – and this is something most organisations could do with more of.  I’m going to move this habit to Trigger 1 so it’s the first thing I do in the day when I’m freshest and most likely to post.

I’m also going to post more about activities other than SharePoint initiatives.  As this is the main topic that others post about I’d like to flag that there is benefit in discussing other topics online.

I will ask others for their opinion on topics more frequently to prompt them to respond and interact.  I will also continue to suggest specific opportunities to post to others when I spot them.

Next week I shall write up a new set of habits to support these adjustments.

I’m also going to develop a strategy to launch and grow a specific community of practice outside of L&D to support a high priority element of our business strategy.  It will include activities conducted face to face, via teleconference, and online.  Working Out Loud in these various ‘spaces’ will be a key element of the strategy.

 

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How Twitter Chats Help Me Learn

lrnchatozlearnIn late March 2014 I joined my first Twitter chat.  Three months later I’ve participated in a  five Twitter chats with either #lrnchat or #ozlearn.  Today I reviewed the published chat archives to reflect on how participating in Twitter chats help me to learn.

What is a Twitter Chat?

A Twitter chat is a live, real-time moderated discussion on a specific topic that takes place via Twitter messages with the use of a specific hashtag.  Anyone who is interested in the topic can join.

The following articles explain how Twitter chats work and provide tips on how to participate:

Twitter Chat’s I’ve Joined

  • #Lrnchat March 27 – Working Smarter*
  • #OzLearn April 8 – Alignment Requires Clarity
  • #Ozlearn May 13 – Consistency in Learning & Development
  • #Lrnchat June 6 – On The Job Learning*
  • #OzLearn Chat July 8 – Benchmarking in L&D

* OzLearn Chat archives are published at lrnchat.com

My Chat Experiences

In all of these chats the moderator has asked a series of questions on the topic to which participants respond.  I’ve found the questions thoughtfully constructed and logically sequenced.

Twitter Chat 2During my first chat I answered questions and retweeted some responses of others.  Mostly I watched, read, and got used to the format. It was a busy forum and I had to concentrate.  I recognised some participants as conference speakers and authors, but was unfamiliar with most.  Five chats and ten weeks later I participate actively and fluidly.   I ask questions about others comments and experience, engage in side-discussions, and share resources.

I am now comfortable using Twitter and my online Personal Learning Network (PLN) has grown, so I ‘know’ more participants.  My PLN growth is in part due to chats – I always leave a chat with more people on my following and followed lists.

Twitterchat 1

 

Familiarity with other participants makes me comfortable to have a more robust discussion.

 

 My Most Valuable Twitter Chat

I found the OzLearn chat on Benchmarking in L&D particularly valuable as:

  • the topic was relevant to my needs
  • a subject matter expert attended
  • pre-reading was provided
  • useful resources were shared during the chat
  • there was a lot of healthy exploration of comments
  • I was motivated to act at the end of the chat
  • the chat was well curated on Storify, with commentary and presentation of discussion threads gathered together rather than a stream of chronologically ordered tweets (thanks @tanyalau for your curation)

Twitter Chat 3

Twitter Chat 4

 

 

 

Chat Archives

While I favourite tweets to follow up after a chat, I also find chat archives useful and have started bookmarking those that I may want to refer to at a later date using Diigo.  The other way in which archives are useful is where I am unable to attend a chat on a topic I am interested in.  This is particularly challenging for those of us in Asia-Pacific region where chats are being hosted at times convenient to either U.S or European participants, but in the middle of the night for us.  I regularly review the #ESNChat archives.

How Twitter Chats Help Me to Learn

Steven Anderson has presented the case on this very well in Why Twitter Chats Matter. Twitter chats help me to learn by allowing me to:

  • Meet new people
  • Hear new ideas
  • Explore opposing view points
  • Find new resources
  • Create action

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How the Conference Backchannel Adds Value

I’m fairly new to using Twitter for professional development having been actively experimenting with it since March 2014.  One of the ways that Twitter is used is for real-time conversation during a conference, known as the ‘backchannel’.  In My #ASTD2014 Backchannel Experience on 7 May I wrote about my experience of being a backchannel only conference participant.  Since that time I’ve participated in two more backchannels – the Australian Institute of Training & Development (AITD) conference (14-15 May) where I also physically attended the whole conference, and EduTech Brisbane (3-5 June) where I attended half a day of the two day event. Of the three events, I was most active in the AITD conference.  I used Twitter to take notes by tweeting (or retweeting) key points at the sessions I attended.  Following the conference I then used Storify to review tweets with the conference hashtag, and create a summary and reflection on my conference experience which I published as My #AITD2014 Experience.  Using the backchannel in this way turned it into a sense-making activity.  Watching and, in some cases responding to, what others were sharing in the backchannel extended and enriched my conference experience further by:

  • making me aware of what others found important in the session content
  • providing relevant examples
  • providing me with links to additional resources
  • introducing other points of view on topics being discussed
  • helping me to network with other participants
  • giving me the occasional laugh (good ingredient for learning)

I was speaking in a panel at EduTech on the afternoon of Day One and looked at the backchannel as I travelled in the morning to see if I could pick up on any themes or information that might connect to my topic.  I noticed immediately how active the backchannel was – I had heard that educators were high Twitter users.  Then I saw that there were 4000 attendees, so even if only 5% of attendees were tweeting across the 10 concurrent ‘congresses’ (separate conference streams) it was going to be a busy backchannel (I’ve since seen a claim that there were over 10,000 tweets at the 2 day conference). I struggled to unravel tweets from the different streams and make sense of what was going on (a plea to organisers of large conferences – stream or session-specific hashtags please!). What was helpful in the EduTECH backchannel (as well as visually attractive) was the summary of the first keynote session tweeted by @art_cathyhunt.  Cathy’s sketch note summaries were so useful that they were shared in Twitter over 10,000 times and she’s published them as a collection.

EduTech Summary 1 Value Adding Backchannel Behaviours

Cathy’s sketch notes got me thinking about the different ways in which people add value in the backchannel. Here is a list of some value-adding backchannel behaviours, with examples.

Reporting1Reporting – Tweeting key points made by presenters, sometimes with photos of slides.  Context helps those participating in back channel only to make sense of the points.  It’s useful to see the topic and presenter tweeted when a session is commencing, and when session has ended, and also a tweet when the presenter moves from one topic to another.

Tweet3

Applying – Tweeting examples of personal application of an approach, technique or tool that the presenter is discussing, with a short reflection on the good, bad and lessons learned.

Extending3

Extending4

 

Extending – Sharing links to additional resources and relevant internet sites.

Pondering1

Reflecting / Pondering – Asking ‘what if’ or ‘how could I’ type questions to prompt consideration of how the session content could be applied.

Connecting1Connecting – Creating links between, for example, different conference sessions or linking the session to the conference theme.

Tweet4Questioning – Posing questions to the backchannel.  Sometimes these are hypothetical.  What I enjoy more is those that generate tweeted responses & discussion.

Summary3 Summary1Summarising – Summarising key themes and overall content of a session and sharing either shortly after a session (as per Cathy Hunt’s EduTECH examples) or in a blog within a few days of the session.

Curation1Collating / Curating – Publishing links to a set of conference and backchannel resources.  Here’s a great example from ASTD2014 curated by David Kelly.

 

I was going to include Challenging / Provoking in this list – Thinking critically about session content and challenging the information or ideas in order to present counter-views or a different perspective.  However, I couldn’t find a backchannel tweet representative of this behaviour.  It’s not something I’ve seen done often; perhaps we’re too polite…..

Physical versus Backchannel Conference Participation

Kent Brooks lists 10 Reasons to Tweet at a Conference, all of which ring true for me and are great reasons why I will continue to play in the backchannel when I attend conferences.

Joining via the backchannel only is not a substitute for physically being at a conference, fully immersed in the sessions, discussions and interactions.  I have found following a backchannel in real time a fragmented, slightly disconnected, and sometimes chaotic experience.  However, summaries and curated collections posted at the end of sessions, full days, or whole conferences provide a filtered presentation of themes and resources.  In effect someone else has started the sense-making process for me, making it easier for me to access the best of the conference.  It’s also a great way of interacting with those in my PLN who are attending, and finding more interesting people to follow.  And it’s certainly better than not being able to join in conferences that I am interested in but not able to attend.

See you in the backchannel…..

 

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MOOCs – An L&D Practitioner's Experience

In 2013 I participated in a Learning Cafe working group on MOOCs for Workplace Learning with colleagues from other corporate organisations.  The group concluded that:

Learning-Cafe-Call-on-MOOCs2-276x135MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) can be a mainstream employee learning option.  It offers cost effective solutions for organisations with the benefits far outweighing the challenges.  L&D/HR need to be proactive in exploring and including MOOCs in learning strategies.

I was invited to be a panellist at EduTECH 2014 alongside two fellow working group members. Jeevan Joshi (Learning Cafe founder) summarised the Working Group’s activities and findings, while Tim Drinkall from NBNCo and myself each spoke about our own experiences exploring MOOCs.  I presented two perspectives: (1) MOOCs for my own professional development; and (2) MOOCs as an employee learning option in my organisation (where I focus on technical capability development for Supply Chain roles).  The views presented in this blog post are entirely my own and do not represent those of either Learning Cafe or my employer.

In summary my experience suggests that:

  • MOOCs are a valid option that L&D professionals should include in their professional development portfolio; and
  • MOOCs will only be a valid mainstream option for technical capability development when (if?) courses are developed on relevant subjects, and where the organisation supports the learners to apply the content in their workplace and learn from the experience.

MOOCs for L&D Professional Development

I have enrolled in three MOOCs for my own professional development (PD), and completed one.  Personal motivation was the key to my MOOC completion, driven primarily by relevance to my immediate needs.

In most instances MOOCs are a self-directed learning experience, for which barriers to entry are very low (no entry criteria, no/low fees).  I did not know any other participants, few people were aware that I had enrolled, and there were no adverse consequences for non-completion.  This was a low-risk PD experiment.  My completion of these MOOCs was dependent on intrinsic motivation.  While all three subjects were of interest to me, only the course that I completed addressed specific skills that I had an immediate need to apply.  While I skimmed the content in the other two courses and initially made an attempt to join the overwhelmingly large and relatively chaotic online discussions, the subjects weren’t a high enough priority for me to allocate time to these MOOCs.  Having said this, I did get value from being able to skim the content and look more closely at anything that caught my eye.

SMOOCThe MOOC that I completed was Social Media for Active Learning from Florida State University (FSU).  It ran for four weeks with topics on curation, social media lessons, Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) and privacy & ethics (the latter an important and often overlooked aspect of this subject area).  Each topic could be completed independently.  Weekly content was presented via three short videos, a one hour webinar (recorded for those who not attend live), and linked readings and tools. To earn a topic badge required posting in response to three discussion topics (self-selected from a longer list), completing and posting a project, passing an online quiz, and providing feedback on the topic.  (As a slight aside, I was surprised that I enjoyed earning the topic badges, and suspect that I may not have completed the final topic were it not for the desire to complete the badge set – this has shifted my view on using badges in my work.)

SMOOC Badges

The content and activities were relevant, practical and well-presented.  I particularly liked the use of separate discussion threads for each question which made it easy to follow a conversation without interference from other discussion threads.  With the exception of the recorded webinars all content ran well on my iPad, so it was convenient to work on the MOOC during my daily public transport commute.  There was a lot of feedback provided by the FSU students who formed the course support team.  Some discussion did occur on Twitter and my PLN expanded slightly.  I really enjoyed the social interaction in this MOOC and looking at the project work completed by others.  Most pleasing of all was that I was able to use some of the project outputs in my workplace, and immediately apply the knowledge and skills I picked up during the course.

I now regard MOOCs as a useful additional option for my ongoing PD, particularly where I have an immediate opportunity to apply the content.

External MOOCs for Organisational Technical Capability Development

I joined the Learning Cafe working group as I was attracted to the idea of “free” courses from reputable institutions that could be incorporated into the suite of learning options in my organisation.  My organisational learners work predominantly in manufacturing, maintenance, warehousing, distribution, supply planning and scheduling. Over the past year I have searched several times for MOOCs relevant to the technical knowledge and skills of these learners.  Alas, there are very few on offer.  Even if there were relevant MOOCs available there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Effort needs to be put into finding and evaluating a MOOC just as it does any other type of formal learning.  (Note that I am deliberately discussing formal learning options at this point).  Some learners may require support to effectively engage and learn in a MOOC environment, especially where it is true to the pedagogy of interaction on a massive scale.

70201

Looking at learning through the lens of the 70:20:10 framework (which is used successfully in my organisation), generally a MOOC has the potential to address theory (10%) and the social (20%) aspects of learning.  However, for technical skills the experiential learning (70%) requires hands on application of skills in real world context.  Some highly motivated and adept self-directed learners will be able to generate the application and reflection required to create experiential learning from a MOOC; many will require support to achieve this.  That support may come from an internal group of peer learners undertaking the same MOOC, an interested leader, or an L&D practitioner.

Another option is to blend a MOOC in full or part into a learning program.  This is one of the opportunities that Donald Clark sees for use of MOOCs by corporates. In a similar vein, the content of many MOOCs is open source, hence provides another source for curation of material for use in formal and informal learning.  This is the extent to which I have used MOOCs within my organisation at the time of writing.

These are some of the activities into which L&D effort may need to be invested in order to effectively utilise MOOCs for mainstream learning.  Refer to moocsatwork.com for a framework that identifies other considerations for the introduction of external MOOCs into employee learning.

MOOCs as a Model for Internal Program Design

For many L&D practitioners who have worked within the constraints of ‘traditional’ course design and the limitations of their LMS, enrolling in a well-designed MOOC will expose them to a broader range of learning methods (e.g. online discussions, use of current resources curated from the internet) and provide examples of how to use these methods well (e.g. discussion thread structure in Social Media for Active Learning MOOC) as well as what not to do (e.g. a lecturer presenting to a camera for an entire series of videos).  This is one aspect hotly debated in Ryan Tracey’s post on the pedagogy of MOOCs.

I also think there is something in Tanya Lau’s point in response to David Kelly’s post on MOOCs and the Corporate World:

Perhaps in a corporate setting, MOOCs could play this role – … something which can also help people to build their internal network (…and break silos!?) across the organisation.

I am lookbanner-mocm-registrationing forward to exploring MOOCs further on the upcoming MOOC about Corporate MOOCs, which commences on 16 June 2014.

 

 

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My #ASTD2014 Backchannel Experience

This week I have been endeavouring to participate in the ASTD Conference Twitter backchannel.  Given that I live in a time zone 14 hours ahead of the conference location I would need the dedication of a World Cup fan to participate in real time.  On Day 1 I opted for a lagged experience.

On my morning bus commute (at which point Conference Day 1 was wrapping up) I scrolled through #ASTD2014 hoping to pick up some overall themes.  After 20 minutes of skimming in reverse chronological order (this being the way Twitter search results are presented) I had favourited some interesting insights, mostly on design for user experience, but was having difficulty putting things together.  It was like being given a few pieces of a jigsaw at a time – in fact, several jigsaws all mixed in together as Tweeters were posting from a range of concurrent sessions – and not knowing what I was missing.  Also, I had only worked by way through an hour of conference tweets, and felt that my time investment had exceeded the value of what I had gleaned.  It struck me that it would make more sense to work through session tweets in chronological order from the start of each session rather than reverse order.

On the morning of Day 2 I tried something different – participating in the backchannel in real time.

Tweet1

Before getting started I asked other #ASTD2014 back channellers how they were finding the experience.  Jane Hart (@C4LPT) commented that few people were tweeting with session hashtags which makes it difficult to isolate relevant tweets. This explains my jigsaw experience, and I learnt that session hashtags could be used -the jigsaw pieces would be easier to sort if they were labelled.  I noticed several tweets commenting on the low percentage of conference attendees who were actually tweeting, which is disappointing given that this is a large international gathering of L&D professionals.

I found Mark Brit’s (@britz) comment on the value of the backchannel insightful, and decided to look for examples that met his criteria of quality, frequency, and context.

Tweet2

 

 

 

So, at 10.30pm Sydney time I sat in bed and joined the first session of Day 2 – a keynote address given by General Stanley McChrystal.  As it was the only session running at this time at least I wouldn’t be trying to figure out which jigsaw the pieces belonged to.

In the first half of the session the tweets were predominantly informational – sharing key points being presented, with lots of photos of a slide summarising the speaker’s key points.  This gave me an idea of where the presentation was heading.  General McChrystal then started telling stories – good ones apparently.  I think he told two main stories – one about Captain Sully landing an aircraft in the Hudson River, and another about the operation to capture Bin Laden.  As they are both well known stories I could picture them, and I think that the main point of each story was tweeted, however any subtleties in McCarthy’s observations were not conveyed through the backchannel.  I suspect that Twitter is not an easy medium to use for real time capture and sharing of a story being told verbally.  I retweeted a couple of items from this informational flow, but was conscious that my followers had even less context than I did and in isolation these retweets might be of little value to anyone.

Tweet3 I was waiting for someone to start a different kind of backchannel conversation – to discuss what was being presented, or to share additional resources.  At 11.03pm it happened – @eGeeking shared a relevant personal experience (thank you!).

The first backchannel question was posed by @dan_steer at 11.05pm and I took my opportunity to join the conversation.  I exchanged a few comments with Dan, but no-one joined in our thread.  @ImagiRaven also replied to Dan.  perhaps everyone else was too focussed on General McCarthy to join in the side discussion.  It felt a bit like we were talking in class, albeit in a constructive way – helping each other to process information and think out loud.  A good discussion helps me figure out what I think, so I enjoy using Twitter in this way.

ASTD Tweet 10I only saw one other question posed in the backchannel during this session, which left me wondering whether all hash tagged tweets were actually appearing in my search (I was using Hootsuite on my MacBook Pro).

ASTD Tweet11

 

The other thing I was waiting to see was sharing of additional relevant resources. These came towards the end of the session.  Perhaps the speaker had mentioned them, or attendees had searched for them during the session.  Either way, they were a useful addition to the ‘context’ of the session.

 

Tweet9

I had a sense that the session was wrapping up from a flurry of comments on the standard of the presentation.  I really appreciated @eGeeking advising the backchannel that the session had indeed ended, and letting us know how long the break was before the next session.

So, how did I rate my backchannel experience against Mark Britz’s criterion?

1) Frequency – there were enough people tweeting that I was able to follow session progress, although there was a lot of redundancy in informational tweets.

2) Quality – although I was focussed as much on observing the backchannel process as I was on the session content, I still extracted some useful insights.  For example, the crew resource management approach in aviation trains the crew (amongst other things) how to communicate in an emergency rather than precisely how to respond to every possible emergency (which is unachievable). The business application is to build communication skills and teamwork to help our people figure out a response to a range of situations. A more active backchannel discussion would have improved the quality of the experience and value of the content for me.

3) Context  this was the most challenging of the criterion for the backchannel to meet.  I couldn’t grab the corner and side pieces to start constructing the jigsaw. Even though it was easier to follow the session in chronological tweet order, I was still working hard cognitively to put the pieces together as I was given them; it helped that I was being given pieces that fitted close to each other.  What did really help to provide the context was a mind map of the session blogged and tweeted very soon after it ended by @Quinnovator  http://blog.learnlets.com/?p=3852. Ah! Now I had my corners and edges with some of the middle pieces thrown in too!  This really helped to bring it together for me.

 

 

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PLN Review and Action Plan

This week I’ve reviewed my Personal Learning Network (PLN) and created a quarterly action plan to continue PLN development.  My PLN is simply the group of people that I am connected to for the purpose of learning.

PLN Composition Review

I commenced this process by plotting my “professional” network using an activity from the Social Learning Practitioner Program, and answering the seven great questions in Mark McNeilly’s article Ask These Questions About Your Professional Network Before It’s Too Late.

My key insight from this activity is that my PLN different to my ‘professional’ network – while there is overlap, there are people who belong to only one of these groups.   I interact with the people in my PLN with the specific goal of learning through sharing resources and having discussions.

With this realisation, I asked the seven questions posed by McNeilly  again, this time just in the context of my PLN.  I concluded that while my PLN has been growing recently as I have become active on Twitter (see the graph below showing follower growth), it could be larger and more diverse.

Twitter follower growth Apr14

 

My active PLN consists largely of Learning and Development (L&D) professionals across a small number of industries.  On LinkedIn I am connected to almost 500 people, many former colleagues with a broader range of professional backgrounds and industry experience.  There are a lot of people with Supply Chain experience, which is relevant to my current role as a capability manager in a Supply Chain business unit.  However, I have not actively used LinkedIn to learn with, from and through this group of people (or any other group for that matter!).  On the plus side, my PLN includes a number of global thought leaders in my field, giving me visibility of important trends and developments.

Twitter follower profile apr14
I used Twitter Analytics for the first time to review what is currently the most active part of my PLN – my Twitter network.  The image below is an extract of some data about my 89 followers as at 11 April.  There is some diversity in location and gender.  The interests statistics confirm a bias towards L&D professionals, many of whom are in the financial services sector

I could not find similar analytics tools for an individual LinkedIn page, but a quick perusal of my connections list confirms the greater diversity in professional background and industry in this group.

Of course, there is also that part of my PLN that I am connected to in the ‘real’ world rather than the online world.  In the process of working with colleagues in my organisation there is opportunity for continuous learning.  Those that I most often interact with for the specific purpose of learning are in similar job roles to myself.  The people outside of my organisation that I make the effort to connect with in person are, again, predominantly in the L&D community.

PLN Activity Review

The things I have most commonly been doing in my PLN this year are represented in the image below.

PLN Activity Evidence

Undertaking the Social Learning Practitioner Program (SLPP) has been a big driver of my recent PLN activity.  The SLPP tasks (5 completed, 6 underway, 14 to start) have gotten me ‘kick started’ to develop, contribute and utilise my PLN actively and purposefully.

I monitor my social media feeds daily using Hootsuite, comment on posts and resources I find interesting, and occasionally have a short discussion with someone in my network.  This and participating in live tweet chats (#lrnchat, #ozlearn) has generated new connections and started building relationships. Depending on the topic, I have found these chats promote reflection and different perspectives on my professional activities and interests.  I have found them worthwhile.

I started this blog on March 8, and have posted around once per week.  I share each post on Twitter and, sometimes, on LinkedIn.  Outside of tweet chats, the activity which has generated the most engagement in my Twitter network is my post on design of a social media lesson.   I’m not sure whether this was due interest in the topic, the fact that an influencer with a large network retweeted it, or that I had shared an original resource that others may find useful – or some other reason.

This week I’ve struck a challenge on a work project, and I need to find some information to help me address it.  I’ve been able to turn to my PLN on Twitter and quickly source information and arrange discussions with people who can help me to solve this problem.

In the ‘real world’ I have attended two events this year – the Learning Cafe Unconference and a breakfast seminar on workplace learning with Charles Jennings from the 702010 Forum.  Discussions at the Unconference prompted me (finally) to get serious about developing my PLN.  By the time I attended the 702010 Forum event I was participating in the backchannel on Twitter during the event (sounds sophisticated! It feels like getting away with ‘talking in class’).  The online discussion continued after both of these events, and enabled further sharing of resources from the events and discussion of ideas and issues raised at the events.

The following digram shows how I am currently using online tools in my PLN.

PLN Tools

PLN Action Plan

Having reviewed by PLN composition and activities I then prepared a quarterly action plan.  In addition to my review I considered the following factors when preparing my plan:

PLN Considerations

My goals for this quarter are to:

  • Complete Social Learning Practitioner Program
  • Deepen relationships in existing PLN
  • Start sharing and learning through LinkedIn rather than just connecting
  • Expand network though live Twitter chats and AITD Conference
  • Utilise my PLN and PKM to support community building in my organisation

Key actions are shown in the table below, with the highest priority items in red (because I always put too many things into my plans…….).  Wish me luck! 🙂

Quarterly PLN Plan

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Social Media Lesson Design – Working Out Loud on Sharepoint 2013

As an activity for the Social Media for Active Learning MOOC (SMOOC – Twitter @SMOOC2014) I have designed a lesson incorporating the use of social media tools to support active learning.  I’m sharing this to encourage others to consider the use of social media in their lessons.

The context for this lesson is to encourage use of social learning using my company’s Enterprise Social Network (ESN), Sharepoint 2013 by getting people to narrate their work.  As such the choice of Sharepoint as the tool for this course was clearcut.
While initially daunted at the prospect of designing a lesson using social media, as I read participant posts on the SMOOC discussion boards I realised that my existing instructional design skills are entirely relevant to this task. The new bit is knowledge and skill with available social media tools to decide when and how to use them.  This made my specific task more approachable as I am already using Sharepoint2010.

While our upcoming Enterprise Social Network upgrade to Sharepoint2013 (with enhanced social functionality) means I need to update my skills, I felt adequately confident in my existing knowledge to do a high level lesson design.  Our upgrade is in May, so I aim to run the pilot in July and rollout in August.  Shall do an update post on the final product and outcomes after this time.

Here is the lesson design:

Lesson Design – Working Out Loud

Very appreciative of feedback on this design – what improvements do you suggest?

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Social Learning Skills Review

As part of the Social Learning Practitioner Program I’ve reviewed my own social learning skills and that of my team. In this post I reflect on my own social learning skills – my next post will look at my team.

Dabbling – and the Impact of Public Transport

Over the past 12-18 months I have been exploring (“dabbling in”?) a range of social networking and learning channels, often as an extension of a face-to-face event such as a conference, course or physical networking activity.  I’m comfortable using the technology of Twitter, LinkedIn and online community platforms.  Until recently I’ve been unsure of the value of putting time into participating in online social networks.  After all, there’s always work deadlines and family commitments, not to mention sneaking in some exercise.  Having recently switched from driving to work to using public transport I decided to do an experiment and spend at least 30 minutes a day online during my commute simply looking around – exploring new information and connections.  Not only have I enjoyed it, I’ve also found the exposure to new ideas stimulating and my increasing competency with online technology very satisfying.

Social Learning Contract & Moving out of Conscious Incompetence

The other concern I’ve had is that I want to be a creator and a contributor – to give more than I take from any space, organisations or groups I’m involved with – which I think Harold Jarche alludes to when he talks of the social learning contract.  And I’ve been unsure of how to achieve this in the online world.  The seek-sense-share model of personal knowledge management advocated by Jarche and Jane Hart appeals to me – figuring out how to do this efficiently in a way that works for me will enable me to contribute, collaborate and create.  I think I’m just moving out of conscious incompetence to a smattering of conscious competence in some aspects of online learning and collaboration.  I’m looking forward to this accelerating by completing the SLPP activities – one baby step at a time.

Network Diversity

The most striking aspect of my personal review is the need for greater diversity in my professional network in order to:

  • access to a wider range of information sources and ideas (improving my ‘seeking’ and ability to solve problems), and
  • increase my opportunities to collaborate with others (improving my sense-making and sharing).  

I’m doing as Dion Hinchcliffe suggests and rethinking how I work in the collaborative era (see Dion’s blog post 2 March 2014).

I’m really excited and motivated by the SLPP program, and looking forward to all of the practical activities coming up!

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