Sunday, August 30, 2009

Learning Links for the week of Aug. 23, 2009

learninglinks Michael Erard offers a short manifesto on the future of attention. An interesting read as we race to incorporate Twitter, Facebook, etc. into the learning environment.

I imagine a retail sector for cultural products that's organized around the attention span: not around "books" or "music" but around short stories and pop songs in one aisle, poems and arias in the other. In the long store: 5,000 piece jigsaw puzzles, big novels, beer brewing equipment, DVDs of The Wire. Clerks could suggest and build attentional menus. We would develop attentional connoisseurship: the right pairings of the short and long. We would understand, and promote, attentional health.

Harold Jache writes that as companies switch from silos to networks our means of communicating will change resulting, in part, in training becoming marginalized.

History shows that significant changes in how we communicate result in significant changes in how we work. Many silos of support functions will not work in a network-centric organization as there’s too much redundancy, duplication of effort and slowness to react. It’s becoming obvious that only highly networked organizations are going to be successful.

Harold’s piece was based off of a piece written by Jay Cross and Clark Quinn regarding the future of Learning and Development in the corporate workplace. Their conclusion, is that:

[B]e aware that this is a permanent climate change, not a passing storm. Most of the time, the global economy is cyclical. It has its ups and downs, but the underlying pattern remains the same. A swing in one direction is balanced by a swing in the other. But what we are experiencing today is fundamental. Things are not going to return to where they were, for we are witnessing the birth of a new world order. We’re moving toward continuous change.

Over at 2¢ Worth, David Warlick posts an interesting list of what 21st century learning involves:

  • Questioning your learning experience,
  • Engaging your information environment,
  • Proving (and disproving) what you find,
  • Constructing (inventing) new learning and knowledge
  • Teaching others what you have learned
  • Being respected for the power of your learning, and
  • Being responsible for your learning and its outcomes

I’m not sure I totally agree with this list, but that may be the subject of another post.

FatDux Blog offers up 20 tips for writing for the web. The eLearningPost focused on #2:

2. Apply George Orwell’s rules
George Orwell, the English author of 1984, Animal Farm and other classics, has six rules of writing. Here they are – they’re all gems:

1) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print.

2) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4) Never use the passive voice when you can use the active

5) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday equivalent.

6) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous!

At the Brandon Hall Innovations in Learning Facebook Group there is a listing of a series of free webinars:

Online Learning Technologies: Past, Present, and Future
Wednesday, September 2 — 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (U.S. & Canada) (GMT-4:00)
Presented by Gary Woodill

Leveraging Social Media Tools to Improve Workplace Learning
Thursday, September 3 — 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (U.S. & Canada) (GMT-4:00)
Presented by Janet Clarey

Selecting a Learning Management System
Wednesday, September 16 — 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (U.S. & Canada) (GMT-4:00)
Presented by Tom Werner and Richard Nantel

Improving Knowledge Flow in Organizations
Thursday, September 24 — 1:00-2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (U.S. & Canada) (GMT-4:00)
Presented by Gary Woodill

The Armed Forces Journal has an essay by retired Marine Corp Colonel Thomas X. Hammes outlining why PowerPoint is a poor decision-making tool. Top take-away:

Rather than the intellectually demanding work of condensing a complex issue to two pages of clear text, the staff instead works to create 20 to 60 slides. Time is wasted on which pictures to put on the slides, how to build complex illustrations and what bullets should be included. I have even heard conversations about what font to use and what colors. Most damaging is the reduction of complex issues to bullet points. Obviously, bullets are not the same as complete sentences, which require developing coherent thoughts. Instead of forcing officers to learn the art of summarizing complex issues into coherent arguments, staff work now places a premium on slide building. Slide-ology has become an art in itself, while thinking is often relegated to producing bullets.

The BBC reports that another study shows that the ability to multitask is highly questionable especially amongst those people who proclaim to be expert multitaskers.

At eLearn Magazine’s online blog Roger Schank asks Must e-Learning Be ‘Cool?’ His rant is focused on the use of Second Life, and I have even heard proponents of Second Life say that it is valueless if you are just going to gather people in a single virtual location in Second Life to speak with them. Money quote comes at the end of his post:

People who do e-learning need to learn to fight the demand for cool and cheap. Insist on effective.

There is interesting give-and-take in the comments between opponents and proponents of Second Life.

Jane Hart points to an article by Mind Map Inspiration outlining 100 reasons to mind map. Top ten reasons are:

1. Explore a subject
2. Study & learn a new topic, culture or country
3. Plan your schedules
4. Innovate & invent
5. Create new ideas
6. Expand existing ideas
7. Tap your unique talents
8. Increase your brain power
9. Consolidate your existing knowledge
10. Summarise your skills

Patrick Batty provides a brief discussion of Blended Learning and how social media can have a role in that environment. The post culminates in an invitation to a free, live webinar discussing social networking in the classroom.

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