Michelle Ockers What i Learned Jan 2019

The new year is a great time for renewing your energy and planning for the coming year.  In addition to making my own plans I mentored others to create future-ready Professional Development plans.  I also travelled to participate in the Learning Technologies Conference in the UK.

The three I’ve picked for this month’s ‘What I Learned’ video:

  1. Potential to integrate marketing ‘discovery’ with learning strategy
  2. Setting directional goals
  3. Storytagger app

Watch the video to hear what I learned and/or read the summary below.

1.  Potential to integrate marketing ‘discovery’ with learning strategy

I read Beth Comstock’s book ‘Imagine it Forward’ in January.  Comstock worked in senior roles in General Electric, including leading the marketing department.  As part of her team’s role in product development she introduced a ‘discovery’ approach.  She encouraged her team to explore beyond the boundaries of the organisation to understand and determine how to respond to trends and shifts in the external environment.

I found a new perspective on the relationship between marketing and learning.  Up to this point I had thought about this relationship mainly in regard to what learning professionals can learn about branding and promotion from marketing.  My new perspective relates to the connection between the discovery approach used by Comstock’s team and the discovery that is involved in learning.  Going beyond the boundaries of the organisation to investigate what people are doing in different spaces is an effective way to learn.  I now see potential for the learning function to integrate discovery activities being undertaken by marketing with the organisation’s learning strategy.  In a learning culture, both are about understanding and responding to the external environment.

2.  Setting directional goals.

During January I mentored people to develop their Professional Development plan for the year ahead. I invited to set a goal that related to where they wanted to be in at least two years.  To help with this I encouraged them to set directional goals, rather than stricter SMART goals. Directional goals are a more high-level overarching goal.  They are not as strict with timeline or specific deliverables as SMART goals.  They offer more flexibility to adjust to what you are learning as you go, which is appropriate for longer term goals.  I found that people struggled to look this far ahead.  I lengthened mentoring sessions to help them probe what changes are occurring in their industries and how they can set goals to adapt to these changes.  Read more about what I learned about stretching and accelerating your development in my related blog post.

3.  Storytagger app

I tested out an app called Storytagger, a guided video tool.  I was asked to use it to create a preview video for my presentation at the Learning Technologies Conference.  The app guided me through a series of segments and steps to create my video.  In each segment, I could select 2-3 prompts from a selection of about 5-6.  I had a time limit on how long I could speak for in each segment. It was an easy tool to use and I thought would be a valuable tool for knowledge sharing or gathering customer testimonials.

The downside is that it’s not free and you need to buy a minimum 25 licenses with it. Clearly it’s targeting the corporate market, rather than the individual.

The upside is that it provides a neat framework for making consistent videos. The layout means you end up with a consistent approach throughout, whether you are asking others to contribute videos to your project or you are creating a series of videos.  It’s a format that you could use to guide user-generated content even without using this app.

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