Computers as Catalysts for Humanizing the Learning Experience

This TED Talks Video by Salman Khan is perhaps the most compelling case for technology-assisted learning, peer-to-peer learning and learning communities (and by extension, communities of practice) that I’ve ever seen. In fact, educational philanthropist Bill Gates liked Khan’s idea so much, he invested 1.5 million dollars into it.

This 20 minute video is truly inspiring and entertaining to watch. It focuses on K-12 students but I’m sure you’ll all make the leap on how this works with adults and professionals.

What is truly inspiring is his message of computers as a catalyst for humanizing the learning experience, which is a refreshing change from the message that it dehumanizes learning.

Enhancing Our Creativity by Tackling Others Challenges

In a recent research report published in the Personality and social psychology bulletin, Polman and Emich demonstrate how when we make decisions for others, we are going to make decisions that are more creative than the ones we make for ourselves.

This is just the latest extension of research into construal level theory, an intriguing concept that suggests various aspects of psychological distance can affect our thinking style. (link from quote)

I see this as a important validation of one of the benefits of case studies and problem-based learning for boosting the creativity of participants.

In addition, it is yet another argument for the importance of communities of practice which promotes the community-based tackling of issues in order to find creative solutions to advance the practice.

Again, this only further promotes the benefits of open innovation which consists of the gathering of external inputs to advance a concept, a product or a technology.

Reference:

How thinking for others can boost your creativity | Research Digest | Christian Jarrett | 1 Mar 2010

This post is cross-posted with Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

 

The Components of True Collaboration

Dan Pontefract has a wonderfully clear and thought out model on The Collaboration Cycle. In fact, to summarize it wouldn’t really do it justice. But I will highlight that he bases it on 3 components as illustrated in his diagram below:

  • Adopting the CARE Principle. (Continuous, Authentic, Receptive and Enrich)
  • Appreciating and adapting to Strong and Weak ties
  • Ensuring both the Consumption of and Contribution back to the network of Strong and Weak Ties.

 

When speaking of collaboration or communities of practice, often we speak of the necessity of engagement. This model gives us some standard guidelines of how to cultivate and maintain such a level of engagement.

Reference:

The Collaboration Cycle | Training Wreck | Dan Pontefract | 29 January 2011

This post is cross-posted with Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

Online Learning and Development Strategy for Organizational Survival

One of the greatest challenges many of my clients share is convincing their organization’s decision makers and purse holders to invest in Learning and Development, and even more challenging—yes even now in 2011—is the argument for online learning and development.

Bob Lee comes up with some pretty convincing arguments and ties them directly to the bottom line in his latest blog post entitled Learning and the State of Business in 2011. In fact, he explains something that all of us in learning and development have known for a while: an efficient and effective learning and development strategy is necessary for organizational survival.

He first explains how globalization will increase the numbers of remote workers and virtual collaboration in the next decade, which will undeniably impact organizational culture. This directly impacts face-to-face training which is on the decline and audio and Web conferencing which is on the rise. The increase of remote access from just about anywhere is also a huge benefit to online learning.

The bottom line according to Lee is that online learning and development not only reduces the cost but also increases the efficiency and speed at which information is communicated and accessed.

Reference:

This post is cross-posted with Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

The Nature and Structure of Communities of Practice

The following is the introduction to an article that Keith De La Rue wrote wich was published in the KM Review (KM Review | Volume 11 Issue 5 | November/December 2008).

It echoes a lot of sentiments that I have about the nature and needs for sustainability of communities of practice.

Very insightful.

The theory and practice of communities

Despite everything that the modern KM practitioner knows about communities, collaboration and technology, communities of practice (CoPs) often fail and collaboration often breaks down. In order to establish an effective CoP, it’s necessary first to think about the nature and structure of a community and recognize that it’s an entirely different entity from a work group or a project team. As such, it must be treated differently, too. In this article, author Keith De La Rue examines the pitfalls associated with CoPs and why helping them to grow and flourish requires a better understanding of three words: “community”, “practice” and “technology”.

Read the full article (PDF)

Similarly, I refer back to a post I made earlier this year about Lilia Efimova’s diagram distinguishing a community of practice from a team or a network.

Reference:

Who Else is Working On What I’m Working On?

Yesterday, I blogged about the use of microblogging to improve productivity in an organization. Today, I focus on microblogging to improve connectivity within an organization.

In a recent blog post about using a microblogging application such as Yammer for communities of practice and knowledge management practices, Renata Gorman writes:

This feeling of connectedness creates more engagement on your part so you continue to answer Yammer’s question: “What are you working on?” Soon, people see your updates and reach out to help you, you see others’ updates and reach out to help them. It is like you belong to one big Borg brain (if you are a StarTrek fan).

Gorman pegs Yammer as a tool that captures context, content and experts and she is right on the money. In my opinion however, it has one small little drawback: you have to search Yammer to get the entire picture of who’s working on what.

Enter Enterprise Collaboration Tools from Brainpark which aim at making the workplace more collaborative, transparent and efficient by injecting information into the workflow. You no longer need to search for who is working on the same thing as you; the right information is pushed to you at the right time, creating what Brainpark calls business sense. The Brainpark model is making waves, earning the technology industry’s prestigious Red Herring Global 100 Award.

References:

Microblogs (Yammer) for Communities of Pratice (CoP) and Knowledge Management (KM) | Renata (Reni) Gorman’s Blog | 10 April 2010
Enterprise Social Networking Startup Wins Red Herring Global 100 Award | Brainpark Blog | Mark Dowds | 26 January 2010

This post is cross-posted with Brandon Hall’s Workplace Learning Today

How to Use Skype as a Community Platform

This is absolutely a fantastic tutorial on Skype which goes beyond functionality and looks at applicability by Community of Practice expert  John David Smith.

You probably already know that Skype is a great tool – especially for community leaders. If you are a technology steward, it’s not only a great tool but it’s also a handy example for illustrating some of the use and integration issues that we have to deal with and be able to talk about.

Smith's provisional placing of Skype tools on the digital landscape

 

Reference: