Archive for category Social Learning

How I Use Social Tools with my Team

The Learning Rebel, Shannon Tipton, asked me to prepare a short video to show how I use social tools with my team.  She is gathering a collection to support a presentation titled ‘Creating your 21st Century Toolbox‘ at the Training 2016 conference in Orlando.  I thought this would be a nice supplement to my previous posts on how my team has supported the development of internal Communities of Practice.

In the video (5min 30secs) below I describe how I use a mixture of internal and external social tools to work, share resources, and learn with my five-strong Capability (i.e. Learning and Development) team.  Featured tools include SharePoint, MicroSoft OneNote, and Storify.  Other tools we use include Twitter and Diigo.  The video also mentions that we use these tools with (1) our internal Capability Community, which includes local Capability Managers in our operational sites and (2) other people working on projects with us to develop learning programs.

You may notice that there is more content / activity in some of the tools than others.  This reflects the gradual adoption of specific tools and evolution of our working practices as a team.  One recent development is the request from my team that we increase our use of discussion forums to make it easier to stay up to date with each other’s work, and to share resources and learning more fluidly.  That put a smile on my face!

 

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A Few of My Favourite Blogs

feedly logo

I subscribe to a range of blogs using Feedly as my RSS Reader.  This makes it easier to keep up to date with industry blogs and reduces email clutter.  I currently have 488 unread Google alerts and 211 unread blog posts in Feedly. I could do better with regularly checking and reading my subscribed feeds.  I tend to Feedly categoriesfocus on a small number of my favourite blogs.  Here I reflect on what I enjoy about three of these.

Harold Jarche

Over 10 years of blogging Harold Jarche has published 2,650 posts. Two themes I enjoy are Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) and networked working and learning .  He continually evolves his thinking on topics, reusing, updating and refining content.  I like his approach of writing primarily for himself.  If others find value in his work then that’s a bonus.  I use this as a model for my own writing.  It reduces the pressure , and helps me to focus on learning and improving my practices.  While not quite stream of consciousness, I can see his thinking and work developing over time.   He has compiled his “best posts” into two e-books.  I’ve read the first, Seeking Perpetual Beta, which he Perpetual Betadescribes as “a cohesive narrative that covers learning, working, and managing in the emerging network era”.  While he writes clearly I sometimes feel too trapped by my paradigms to see how to apply his vision of the future of work in my world.  His thinking stretches me and motivates me to question the status quo.  His practical guidance on personal and organisational knowledge management is valuable.  I completed his PKM in 40 days program in 2014.  This gave me skills to filter relevant information and make sense of it.  His model of “How Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) add Value” is a useful framework.  It has helped me speak with people in my business about why and how we can better use our ESN.  I look to Harold as a pathfinder, helping me to find different ways of working and learning.

Helen Blunden

Helen and me working together - after I got to know her through her blog

Helen (on right) and me working together – after I got to know her through her blog

Helen Blunden writes on her business blog, Activate Learning Solutions.  While not as prolific as Harold she does write often – 13 posts in first 2 months of 2015.  Helen writes about modern learning approaches, her networking activities and working experiences.  I most enjoy the case studies where she describes programs she has developed and how she worked.  Her social on-boarding case study is a good example.  The open, detailed way she writes gave me a good sense of who she is and her professional approach.  Helen is inquisitive, interested in others, seeks to understand the business environment and people, designs practical solutions to improve performance and results, and has an eye for detail. After several months of reading Helen’s blog and connecting with her online I met her briefly at a conference in mid 2014.  Face-to-face she was consistent with her online persona.  I felt that I knew her well from our online interaction and portfolio on her blog.  I did not hesitate to engage her to help develop a Community of Practice.

Sacha Chua

Sacha chua

Finally, the blog I get the most pure pleasure in reading is Sacha Chua’s Living An Awesome Life.  Sacha is in the midst of a five year semi-retirement experiment that she started in her late 20s.  I admire her courage and resourcefulness in making this happen.  The way she thinks is fascinating.  She is an astute observer who asks interesting questions, breaks down a topic into smaller pieces to analyse and develop  insights, and provides helpful visual summaries (sketchnotes).  Her writing is simultaneously intensely personal and broadly relevant – as exemplified by her recent post on common goals.  Her blog is a place to think and learn.  She posts almost daily, and she has written over 7,000 posts in 14 years.  Her motivation, originality, openness and willingness to share are inspiring.  She makes me want to live a better quality self-directed life.

You can imagine my delight when I recently saw a video of Sacha and Harold discussing blogging and PKM on YouTube.  The two take very different approaches to developing their thinking and managing their blogs.

What are your favourite blogs and why? 

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Sharing Resources and Links with my Team

I enjoy it when someone shares a useful tip, tool or resource with me.  If they’ve thought carefully about my interests, know what’s relevant to me, and offer it to me in a “place” that’s convenient to me, then it’s a great gift from them.  This helps me to think about what and when to share with my team – to do it in a way that my sharing is a contribution and not noise or a burden.  I am also very conscious that I am role modelling new behaviours within my organisation, so want to help people to see the potential value in sharing by doing it judiciously and well.

The internal group with whom I work most closely are the Supply Chain Capability Community. The Community includes 12 people in a range of roles who collectively develop, plan and implement initiatives to improve business performance through the technical knowledge and skills of our people.  I share links and resources with this group in a variety of ways:

1) Verbally or in email with an individual or small group – a resource relevant to the specific topic or context e.g. an article on why measuring performance impact is more important than ROI shared directly with a team member who was designing a new evaluation approach for a learning program.

2) Scotty tweetPosting a link on Twitter and @mentioning specific team members – this works where the team members I want to share with use Twitter (4 out of the 12).  I thought I had done this several times, however when I did an advanced search on Twitter for examples I could find only one where I shared an article on leadership styles in different cultures with a team member who does a lot of work in Indonesia.

SharePoint post 702010 share

3) Posting a link or message about a resource on SharePoint newsfeed with a comment about why I am sharing this link – this is useful where the item is of potential value to a larger range of people in the group.  In the example I highlight a case study on the 702010 Forum in which we have organisational membership.  I don’t share resources in this way very often (despite there being a lot of relevant resources I could share) and have just resolved to add this to my daily sharing habits.  The other thing I could improve is to limit number of characters in post so people don’t need to click on ‘Show more’ to see the whole post, especially if links are at the end of the post.

4) Knowledge sharing sessions with the group during our SharePoint blogfortnightly Community teleconferences  – we’ve replaced status updates with knowledge sharing and learning discussions in these regular catchup sessions.  Format is presentation followed by discussion.  Presentations are most commonly on a topic (e.g. Gamification through badges), a work practice (e.g. how we can increase manager support to learners), or report back on ideas from an external event such as a course or a conference. I’ve also written a blog post on a topic with linked resources and asked people to read and reply to questions before the session (example shown is for a discussion on Working Out Loud). Participation in online discussion has been low and the group interacts far better in synchronous discussion than asynchronous (I hope that the Work, Connect and Learn program will help increase online interaction).  This is a valuable forum for our team to Work and Learn Out Loud together, and we shall continue to use and fine tune it.

5) Diigo – I set up a Diigo account for the team to use to curate and share online resources.  I am the only one who curates on a regular basis; however there are several team members who are comfortable using Diigo for joint research to meet a specific need.  Below is an example of curation of research into modern approaches to learning design.

diigo future design

6) “Learning Links” blog posts – I have started to share short collections of resources on a SharePoint Learning Linksspecific topic relevant to the group (e.g Social learning) on our SharePoint blog.  I write a short commentary about each resource and any overall themes.  As I bookmark items to Diigo I tag them with “LearningLinks” if I think they my be worth including in a post at a later date.  My intent had been to do a weekly Links post, but I’ve been erratic so have diarised this.  I shall also start posting these collections on my internet blog in case they are useful to others outside my organisation.

Diigo is at the heart of my resource sharing practices, allowing me to bookmark and tag links that I can re-use and share in a range of contexts and ways.  Being able to store links in a library that I can access anywhere I have an Internet connection means that I can share good quality resources at the right moment and with the right people to create value rather than generate noise.

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Get Strategic with Social Learning

Get StrategicI am an organisational learning practitioner, currently working in Supply Chain at Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA). In October 2014 I spoke at the Learning@Work conference held in Sydney, Australia about the development of my social learning skills and how this was impacting the application of social learning in my business unit.

When I was approached to speak at this conference an organiser asked me to describe what I was doing that may be of interest to the audience. She then wrote a session description and gave it a title. Unusually, this was not sent to me for review before the conference brochure was published. I was surprised by the session title that she chose – “Sneaking In The Social.” Gosh, I thought I was experimenting and role modelling!

Reflecting on the title and preparing this presentation was a turning point – it was time to move from ‘sneaking’ to ‘enabling’. It was two months before the conference, and I wanted something useful to share. I decided to get strategic with social learning. CCA adopted the 702010 framework at least four years ago, however we had applied social learning in a limited fashion in the context of this framework. In April 2014 we added ‘continuous workplace learning’ as an explicit element of our Supply Chain Capability strategy which expanded the endorsed role of our Capability team beyond structured learning programs to supporting informal learning. In September 2014 we defined a specific social learning initiative to contribute to a high priority initiative in our business unit strategy. This was the point at which we moved from experimenting with social learning to enabling it.

In a series of upcoming posts I shall write about this initiative – developing a Community of Practice in Maintenance and Engineering.

For now please enjoy viewing the presentation below as well as some videos that Vanessa Wiltshire kindly published of segments of my presentation.

Presentation of Slide 9 – My Social Learning Professional Development

Presentation of Slide 15 – Capability Strategy & Roadmap

Presentation of Slide 17 – Our SharePoint Sites

Presentation of Slide 20 – Maintenance & Engineering Community – Analysis Phase

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Social Learning Skills Review

Personal Social Learning Skills

I last reviewed my social learning skills in March 2014 when I commenced the Social Learning Practitioner Program.  In this time I have become a regular user of Twitter for professional development and networking, and shared examples of my work as an organisational learning practitioner on this blog and through webinars and conference presentations.  My post on Becoming A Social Learning Practitioner summarises key social learning activities and tools that I now use on an ongoing basis.  Of these, the ones I use most often are:

* Twitter – for fluid networking, sharing of resources, participation in Twitter chats and conference backchannels

* Feedly – a reader that collates posts on blogs that I follow plus presents resources from Google Alerts that I have set up

* Diigo – to bookmark links and summaries of online resources on topics I am researching, or that I may want to use in future

* Evernote – to gather my thoughts on topics and projects

I particularly enjoyed Harold Jarche’s online Personal Knowledge Management course (PKM in 40 days) and find the seek-sense-share model a useful framework to organise my ongoing learning activities.  I would like to improve my learning by establishing a daily / weekly / monthly routine of seek-sense-share and ‘housekeeping’ activities.

I have also become more resourceful in using the internet to find resources to learn new skills or address performance problems.  I also draw upon my larger, more diverse professional network to seek specific resources or answers to questions.  Opportunities have started to arise to collaborate online with others, and I’m looking forward to co-hosting an asynchronous Twitter book chat #LrnBk commencing 19 January

Team Social Learning Skills

I have been applying my social learning skills in my workplace and introducing some of the tools and practices to the Capability Community in my business unit.  In the ten months since I last reviewed my team’s social learning skills the group has largely continued to communicate and support each other in the same way – via email, phone and teleconferences.

We upgraded from SharePoint 2010 to 2013 mid last year, and have been migrating shared files from servers to SharePoint document libraries.  This has moved us to a common document repository, and increased sharing of links to documents and document-centred collaboration.  A OneNote notebook has been added to our SharePoint site which we have started using like a wiki to keep meeting notes and project status information.  These are extensions of existing ways of working, hence not a big leap for the group to take.

WOL BarriersWorking Out Loud is a bigger change in behaviours and work practices.  There has been a slight increase in people talking about what they are working on and sharing resources using SharePoint, and we have completely replaced status reporting with knowledge sharing in our fortnightly Lync meeting/teleconference sessions.

Common comments about Working Out Loud online reflect the need to build desire, support new behaviours and develop skills across the group to fluidly use our online space to connect, share resources, and collaborate to solve problems and improve work practices.  I shall soon post about the Work, Connect and Learn guided social learning program that we will launch in mid-February to enable this.

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2015 Blogging Goals

Goals

My Goals for this blog in 2015 are:

  1. Complete the Social Learning Practitioner Program – write at least one blog post for each activity (by March 2015)
  2. Support completion of 702010 Practitioner Certification through the 702010 Forum
  3. Reflect on what I am doing in work and professional development, the results I am getting, and develop action plans for improvement; hold myself accountable by reviewing progress against these plans
  4. Deepen learning from other activities (especially conferences, webinars, Twitter chats and reading)
  5. Build and contribute to my Personal Learning Network
  6. Build a long-term archive that I can use to remember what I’m learning and see differences over time (my thanks to Sacha Chua for this goal – it’s from “A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging” which I am using as a resource to improve my blogging).

Key Topics I will focus on this year (yes, I do intend to be focussed this year…):

  • social learning
  • showing your work / working out loud
  • Communities of Practice
  • Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs)

Specific Improvements I will make to my blogging:

  • shorter posts
  • more frequent posts – minimum two per month
  • visual representation of content, especially Sketchnotes and mind maps (I am a novice so expect big learning curve)
  • create and maintain outlines to sustain pipeline of blog posts

What about my SharePoint blog on the internal ESN?

To minimise duplication of effort I shall write as much as possible on my public blog and link from SharePoint where the subject matter supports organisational goals (which should be the majority of posts).

Additionally I will use Sharepoint blog to:

  • communicate internally about Supply Chain Technical Academy activities and programs (Monday Weekly Wrap / Featured Program)
  • encourage others within my organisation to show their work / work out loud ( post daily tips as a micro-learning flow)
  • acknowledge and thank others (especially, but not exclusively, through Thank You Thursday campaign)
  • share links to relevant external resources (similar to Harold Jarche’s “Friday’s Finds“)

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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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Encouraging SMEs to Show Their Work

I drafted this blog post on an aircraft flight.  I was on my way to spend a half day with a small group of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to run a kickoff session on development of a learning program for their job role.  The delivery methodology is structured on the job training.  Each session in the program is documented in a Guided Lesson which is, in effect, a session plan that an experienced person can follow when training someone how to do job role tasks.  It emphasis the learning goal and topics that must be covered in the session (generous use of action verbs), rather than the detailed content of ‘how’ to do things.  The ‘how’ is documented in performance support materials like work instructions and screencast system simulations.

The structure of a Guided Lesson is shown below and you can view a Sample Guided Lesson.

Guided Lesson Structure

A Guided Lesson brings greater consistency to ‘buddy training’ and helps keep learning in the workplace context where tasks are actually performed.  As it is delivered on the job the learner can immediately practice the skills covered in the lesson. These are some of the obvious benefits of the approach.

ShowYourWorkAs I skim through the agenda and pre-reading of this session I glance down at Jane Bozarth’s book Show Your Work, which is sitting on my lap underneath my notes.  I have an ‘aha’ moment.  The other vitally important source of information about ‘how’ to do things is the tacit knowledge that resides within the SMEs. These are the things that they know about how to perform effectively in the role that are not so easy to document and codify, or difficult to follow when written down – like how to deal with exceptions, how to best communicate with different stakeholders, how to influence others to make decisions.

I think that one of the reasons Guided Lessons have been so effective and well received as an approach to technical training in my organisation is that the format allows experienced people to share not only documented explicit knowledge but also their tacit knowledge.  As they deliver a Lesson and refer to performance support material they can also discuss their experience and insights into how they work.

This is something that our SMEs will readily understand, and I think gives me a great way to start conversations with SMEs about showing their work more publicly to larger groups of people.  If they can see it as an extension of what they are already doing when training a novice then one aspects of the purpose and benefits of showing their work may be easier for them to grasp, and the approach may feel more natural.  We can then go on to discuss other benefits.  This also feels like a straightforward way for me to introduce the idea of showing your work to others in my workplace.

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